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God Is an Englishman (Swann Family Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- File Size : 2533 KB
- Publication Date : June 1, 2009
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Sourcebooks Landmark (June 1, 2009)
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Print Length : 648 pages
- ASIN : B003H29CLG
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1402218214
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #318,086 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To be fair, since the events in this story take place between 1858 and 1865, the company we see at its beginning is actually a carting company, hauling goods around England, Scotland, and Wales in wagons of various descriptions instead of, or as a supplement to, transporting them by train. But this is only the first volume in a trilogy. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the saga the wagons will have become trucks.
In addition to the founding of a company, the story concerns the founding of a family. And the family in question is not limited to Adam Swann’s personal family. The many people who are key to the operations of his business are, in a way, a part of his family too, and their part in creating the business is also told along with Adam’s own.
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.
After a military career, Adam Swann returns to England in 1858 with an intense ambition to build his fortune in the fast changing and extremely competitive world of Victorian commerce. Swann soon meets his soul-mate, Henrietta, the high-spirited daughter of a local mill owner and they set out to build a family business under the Swann name. Along the way they share challenges, setbacks and eventually an immense fortune.
As now, the secret of Swann's success is building an efficient and competitive business that is ahead of its time and is essential to the success of others. Swann sees that while railways are a fundamental part of the game-changing industrial revolution, they cannot always provide door to door delivery. He sets up an extensive and complex country-wide network of horse drawn transportation to take materials and goods between the railhead and factories up and down the country, sometimes on appalling roads and gradients.
Henrietta, as well as being a wife and mother to an ever increasing brood of small Swanns, is the financial wizard who helps Adam to succeed. While the business is essentially a family one, much of its success is due to finding the right staff in the right place and giving them every incentive to perform and develop the business.
This is a fascinating and outstanding novel about exciting times in economic and social development throughout Victorian England. The next novels in the series - - Theirs Was the Kingdom (Swann Family Saga) and Give Us This Day (God Is an Englishman) - - bring the younger Swanns into the business and they face the next challenges as the face of road freight transport changes from horse drawn to motorised delivery.
The Swann family saga is only one of several important English family sagas written by Delderfield, including The Horseman Riding By and To Serve Them All Our Days, both of which became popular BBC mini-series.
This is a beloved novel by one of my favourite authors. I first read this book (the first in the Swann family saga trilogy) in the UK the early 1970's when it was first published. I read it again with continued enjoyment over 30 years later and was delighted to see it featured recently as a Kindle Daily Deal so I can now keep a copy with me at all times.
Top reviews from other countries
When I espied the Kindle edition of God Is an Englishman for a mere 99 pence, I snapped it up.
God Is an Englishman is a 700 page whopper and the first part of a trilogy. I notice that the second book in the series, Theirs Was the Kingdom is 900 pages, so the series is perhaps not for the feint hearted.
Helpfully, God Is an Englishman is wall to wall plot which is, I think, a good thing. I felt I was getting more than just a competent page turner though, not least many historical and social insights.
R.F. Delderfield is brilliant at immersing his readers into different periods, in this instance Victorian England. What helps set great historical fiction apart from the average is the little details of everyday life and, probably the most important aspect, credible dialogue.
It's somewhat melodramatic but irresistably so. I was swept along by the increasingly addictive plot. The rich period detail is there in abundance, not least the sweeping social and economic turmoil of the Industrial Revolution whilst also credibly bring the characters to life. All in all, it's capturing the energy of the age in a way that would have done Dickens proud.
An article about Delderfield I came across offers some insight into his recurring themes…
"The novels are concerned with the portrayal 'ordinary, decent folk', striving to 'get on' and become a success, whilst remaining true to themselves and their values. These values include patriotism, decency, integrity, thrift, industriousness, success gained through service and hard work. The novels, now described as 'old fashioned', celebrate English history, humanity, and liberalism while demonstrating little patience with entrenched class differences and snobbery."
This was certainly my experience with To Serve Them All My Days and God Is an Englishman. I think most of us like honest and decent people to prevail, which - to varying degrees - seems to happen in his books, albeit with the slings and arrows which most poeple have to endure at times in their lives.
Whilst not quite up to the standard of To Serve Them All My Days, this is still well worth reading if you enjoy chunky, good quality period fiction.