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God Is an Englishman (Swann Family Saga Book 1) by [Delderfield, R.]
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God Is an Englishman (Swann Family Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in Swann Family Saga (3 Book Series)
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Length: 648 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


R.F. Delderfield is a born storyteller Sunday Mirror His narratives belong in a tradition that goes back to John Galsworthy Life Magazine

About the Author

R.F. Delderfield was born in South London in 1912. On leaving school he joined the Exmouth Chronicle newspaper as a junior reporter, where he went on to become Editor. From there he began to write stage plays and then became a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. With the publication of his first saga, A HORSEMAN RIDING BY, he became one of Britain's most popular authors. Many of his bestselling novels were later adapted for television. He died in 1972.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2532 KB
  • Print Length: 648 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402218214
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003H29CLG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,999 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Adam Swann has followed his family's tradition of military service for long enough to turn 30. He's seen a lot during those years, including a horrific massacre of civilians. When chance places a fortune in rubies in his hands, he's more than ready to make drastic changes. Back to England he goes, the England of a world just prior to the American Civil War, looking for a better way to spend his life. He finds it in two places. First, in a revolutionary business idea sparked by an encounter with a railway official; and second, in a runaway young woman. He marries the woman, factory heiress Henrietta Rawlinson (who's swiftly disinherited by her infuriated father), and he turns the idea into a hauling firm that deliberately fits itself into all the gaps the railway system cannot fill.

That's the bare outline. What makes this novel remarkable, though, isn't its plot. It's the characters, and the way author Delderfield lets them grow naturally out of the time and place in which he sets them. Adam Swann is in many ways a man ahead of that time, disgusted by what he's seen in war and determined to make his way in the world without committing outrages against basic human decency. In fact, he's determined to make a difference for the better while succeeding as a businessman. Henrietta, blessed with her enterpreneur father's sharp mind and quick wits for commerce, grows from a willful, uneducated and thoroughly spoiled girl into a worthy and even challenging partner for Adam in the course of the book's 800-some pages. Nothing seems forced, and none of the details of Victorian England ring false, in all of those pages. Some of the best reading comes from secondary characters who weave in and out of the main story, because each is well drawn and interesting - no matter how brief the appearance.

A tour-de-force, all in all. One of the best "family sagas" around, still, nearly 40 years after its publication.
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Format: Paperback
God Is an Englishman is the first book in this wonderful saga about the Swann family. Adam Swann, a 31-year-old cavalryman in the service of Queen Victoria's army, decides to break off with his family's military tradition and gives up his soldierly life in lieu of starting anew in England as a businessman. The road ahead of him will not be easy, as old sentiments still prevail where people making a living in a new, industrial England are looked down on and someone like Adam, giving up his army career is thought foolish. Adam Swann persists in his desire to be his own boss and not spent his life serving somebody else, even if it's the Crown of England. In his struggles to become a respectable and successful owner of a horse-carriage business, he has a few supporters, including his young wife, Henrietta and, surprisingly, his own father. The readers follow Adam and his personal and business lives for nine years. These are very tumultuous years for England as well. It is the 19th century, the country changes from an agricultural one into an industrial empire, with railroads ruling the transportation, mills, mines and factories replacing the farms and Adam Swann takes on a daring project of using horses as his road to success.

I thoroughly enjoyed God Is an Englishman, so much so that even before I finished it, I went and got part two (Theirs Was the Kingdom). It's not an easy read by any means, but very captivating and really a requirement for anyone who wants to read more about one of the most important periods in England's history. Some might say that it's reminiscent of Dickens's books but I should say that probably only in the time set. Through Delderfield's book I got a hopeful outlook, not a grim one.
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By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I can think of few better authors to take along on a long plane ride than Delderfield. God Is an Englishman is the first of a trilogy that runs a little out of gas by the end of the third book, but not in the first. To Serve Them All My Days got me hooked on Delderfield, and this series continued it. I can also recommend his book Diana. Alot of his works are out of print, although you can find them at liabraries, or Amazon's auction site -- or
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Format: Kindle Edition
I picked up a paperback copy of 'God is an Englishman' many years ago and was hooked. I read all this series and then found 'The Avenue' series. 'To Serve Them All My Days' was a Masterpiece Theatre special on PBS and is a superb story of a boys' boarding school in England. A little known masterpiece of Delderfield's is 'Mr. Parson' a heart warming story of a meek school teacher and his adventures when he leaves his bossy wife and unfulfilling job. Get Delderfield's books wherever you can find them and settle in for weeks of very satisfactory reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Delderfield remains one of my favourite writers but God is an Englishman disappointed.
The writing is superb as usual but the content of this book left me yawning for the most part. Eventually I gave up although I did read almost to the end.
It is the first book of a family saga and I definitely won't attempt the others in the trilogy.
Adam Swann is a new breed of Englishman who makes his mark in private enterprise through his innovative horse and carriage hauling business. This is during the period when rail was making itself felt through the villages and countryside of rural England and Swann manages to find his own niche and subsequent wealth.
It was interesting to read about this period but there is too much detail and a whole bevy of characters which at times becomes confusing.
To Serve Then All My Days is a brilliant tour de force by Delderfield and one I would highly recommend, especially if you thought this book was great.
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