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Modern Classics When The Going Was Good (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – International Edition, September 21, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903. He was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rosetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies, Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). During these years he travelled extensively and published a number of travel books. In 1939 he was commissioned in the Royal Marines and later transferred to the Royal Horse Guards. He went on to write a number of other books, including Brideshead Revisited (1945) and Men at Arms (1952). Evelyn Waugh died in 1966.
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Product Details

  • Series: Twentieth Century Classics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; New Ed edition (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140182535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140182538
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,387,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Zendicant Pangolin on October 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is a 'Must Read' for the following lot of people:
1) Those who have an appreciation for Waugh's fiction.
2) Those who have an interest in colonial Great Britain just before the fall of the British Empire when, arguably, it was at its height.
3) Those who have traveled well beyond the "It is Tuesday, this must be Bangkok" scheme of things.
4) Those who enjoy social satire mixed with dry wit, and enlivened by a wonderful sense of the absurd.
5) Connoisseurs of the English language in its written form.
'When the Going was Good' is five travel episodes written in a period from 1929 to 1935, as abridged by the author for inclusion in this book. These episodes range from a casual, meandering cruise of the Mediterranean Sea in 1929 to reportage on the invasion of Ethiopia by Italy in 1935 presaging the Second World War. In between are the coronation of Emperor Haille Salasie Ras Tafare(the first Rastafarian), some random "Globe-trotting" beginning in Aden running through the Zanzibar coast and then down to the Congo, and finally an attempted trip from British Guyana down through Brazil.
Obviously, the really beautiful thing about any book by Evelyn Waugh is the concise, incisive, succint and often surgically precise use of the Queen's English. What makes these gems particularly precious is that they are set in conditions that were considered laughably backward and dangerously primitive even for the standards of the early part of the 20th century. Any such journey into the Dark Continent, and into the New World promises to be fraught with dangers and difficulties almost beyond description.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard Fleming on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Rare is that generation which, easing through middle age, does not believe that in their youth they went to the best parties, saw the most unspoiled places, and had the most vivid experiences. The gentle one-upmanship of travel chat is irresistible. "Well, I don't know what it's like now, but when I went to... (Guatemala, Tehran, Zimbabwe, etc.) back in... (the days before you were old enough to have a passport) it was... (totally unspoiled, exotic and delightful, without a single other soul on the entire beach, etc.)."

Evelyn Waugh, perhaps more than most, may have been justified in naming his selected travel writings When the Going was Good. For one thing, he put the collection together at the end of World War II, when the world as he had known it was truly in disarray. The great European powers had proved themselves to be as destructive and violent as any of the savage backwaters he had visited a decade or more earlier. The war trashed any lingering notions of the genteel colonialism Waugh so enjoyed skewering in his novels. Whereas the first war had prompted a redistribution of colonies, as if Africa's countries were nothing more than playing cards to be shuffled and redealt by the great powers, the second war led directly towards independence and the dissolution of the colonial enterprise as such. "Never again, I suppose," writes Waugh in his introduction, "shall we land on foreign soil with letter of credit and passport (itself the first faint shadow of the great cloud that envelops us) and feel the world wide open before us." Waugh fails to anticipate the magic of the ATM.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura on April 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got 15 books as a Christmas gift -all Evelyn Waugh. Trying to collect them all.. What can I say but a good read.
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By Clarity Driven on September 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Waugh fan to most of his books - some are really dated, as this one is - but it's a look back to an ordinary English upbringing that produced an extraordinary man. His Oxford years of drinking, drugs, homo- and hetero-sexual explorations might fit in with today's colleges but reading it as a long-ago history is more interesting. Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honor Trilogy, I think, are his best.
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By gram on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FUNNY --TOUCHING --CLASSIC GOOD LITERATURE---- I T BROUGHT BROUGHT OFF THE WALL PLACES TO LIFE--- IT BROUGHT REAL CHARACTERS TOL IFE
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