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The Four Adventures of Richard Hannay: The Thirty-Nine Steps/Greenmantle/Mr. Standfast/the Three Hostages Paperback – July 16, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0879238711 ISBN-10: 0879238712 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine; Reissue edition (July 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879238712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879238711
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Rip roaring adventures written in the early 1900s.
K. alexander
For Bucham it was 1924 and he was socializing among an aristocracy glutted with the assumption that the peoples of Great Britain were the best of civilization.
Phred
It truly eases you into a deeper understanding and appreciation of these works.
Bigbuffler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By John Anderson on July 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
As my title says, the Four Adventures are real classics that spawned a whole library of imitators. Written as they were during the First World War and immediate post-war period by someone who both hob-nobbed with the political movers and shakers of the time & may have participated in some intertesting Intelligence work on his own (see Peter Hopkirk's LIKE HIDDEN FIRE for some of the "facts" behind GREENMANTLE) they capture a time a place and a people at the height of British global dominance. Given that the first three tales were written during some of the most desperate days of World War I it is no accident that there is some pro-British propaganda, but as the excellnt introduction to this edition points out, Buchan is remarkably kind to both friends and foes, and while the Bad-Guys are truly Bad, they also have their redeeming qualities. THIRTY-NINE STEPS has been made into a number of movies, none of which do it justice. GREENMANTLE is my personal favorite & reading it again for the umpteenth time last year I was struck by how remarkably prescient Buchan was as to the problems we now face with an Islamic Middle East. Mr. Standfast actually wraps things up nicely, with some excellent descriptions of fighting on the Western Front, and I always felt that THE FOUR HOSTAGES was a bit of a tag-on that really wasn't needed (the same can be said of the fifth and long out of print Hannay adventure THE ISLE OF SHEEP, which has been sensibly left out of this volume). If you like adventure stories with a strong male hero, a nice mystery, clearly defined Good and Evil, an appealing heroine (in the last three Adventures) and a good sense of history by someone who actually made part of it, this volume is for you. Readers of Alan Furst & the like will see where contemporary authors got their ideas & timing. This is a wonderful look into a now vanished world that still has clues to our troubled present.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Having read these books only last year awakened in me a sense of appreciation for the World War I period. The plots are heroic, engaging the reader with excitement and suspense. Rather than focus on one dashing figure, the stories, especially Greenmantle, which I liked the very best, bring in a coterie of stalwart individuals and thrust them into incredibly difficult circumstances which test their mettle to the ultimate degree. The integrity and determination of the British and American protagonists makes one admire the gumption and stamina of an earlier era. These books are terrific reads, absorbing and thrilling. It's almost impossible to believe Buchan wrote them so quickly; they must be based on incidents of which he had knowledge as an intelligence officer in the Great War. The author has his biases and makes no attempt to disguise them. He gives the German foe, whom he collectively calls The Bosch <cabbageheads> no quarter at all. Anyway, these novels are really grand.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Four Adventures of Richard Hannay" gathers in one volume stories written by John Buchan during and after his service as an British intelligence officer during the First World War. The first two stories were actually written and published as the war with Imperial Germany and her allies progressed, imparting a sense of urgency and uncertainty about the outcome that an historical novel written after the fact might not have captured in the same way. "The Thirty-Nine Steps", "Greenmantle", "Mr. Standfast", and "The Three Hostages" follow the career of South African mining engineer and British Army officer Richard Hannay. Hannay stumbles into the spy business through the murder of an accidental lodger in "The Thirty-Nine Steps", set in the time just before the outbreak of war, and is repeatedly called back to the spying businees, often from his military duties, in the remaining stories. Buchan's technique improved with practice; the stories develop more complicated plotlines and smoother deliveries.

Those familar with the Sherlock Holmes stories will find a similar sort of pacing in Buchan's adventure stories. Buchan relies heavily on coincidence and exotic settings in advancing his story lines, and some of the stereotypes and language will seem dated to modern readers. Some other portions of the stories will seem remarkably fresh, as for example Hannay's description of the opposition by some Britons to the War with Germany, proof, if we needed it, that human nature is remarkably constant. The story lines are engaging, and Richard Hannay is a sympathetic hero, if very much a man of his times. Buchan, a born and raised Scotsman, is often at his literary best in describing the people, land and simple details of ordinary living of Scotland and England.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DJ McMahon on July 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having just finished Mr Standfast I felt it a good time to review my thoughts and emotions stirred by the book.
Mr Standfast, the third Buchan novel in the General Hannay series, is a fascinating study in the era in which it was both set and authored. Being published in 1919, the events of WW1, the topic of the book, were no doubt fresh in the authors mind.
The book is not easy for the 21st Century reader with many words not frequently in current use. Keep a dictionary handy. It is however a stimulating read with a great historical
backdrop. Whilst at times farfetched and Biggles like in it's gingoistic tone, the reader is drawn into Hannay's affection for his cause. Overall, a thoroughly recommended read.
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