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Ruined City (Vintage Classics)

Ruined City (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Nevil Shute
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Immensely readable" (Guardian)

"Not only a brilliant fluent storyteller but also an ironic commentator on the world scene" (Harpers & Queen)

"There is little that Shute does not know about choosing an appealing story and telling it in a gripping way" (The Times)

Book Description

'"I believe that that's the one thing most worth doing in this modern world," he said quietly. "to create jobs that men can work at, and be proud of"' Ruined City

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 329 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (27 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F2QNRE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #41,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Nevil Shute Norway was born on 17 January 1899 in Ealing, London. After attending the Dragon School and Shrewsbury School, he studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an aeronautical engineer and published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they went on to have two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death on 12 January 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), No Highway (1948), A Town Like Alice (1950) and On the Beach (1957).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, moving and inspiring 7 Sep 2009
This was only the second of Nevil Shute's novels to be published (in 1938) but it comes across as a completely mature work. This is partly because it draws from his real-life experiences managing a small company during the 1930's Depression, as can be seen from a careful comparison with his excellent autobiography Slide Rule (Vintage Classics). It raises many interesting and challenging questions; if you were a rich and successful person, how far would you go and how much would you be prepared to sacrifice personally to help people who through no fault of their own are at the bottom of the economic pile, in a situation where state aid is ineffective? And what is true success? This is a book I love to go back to and reread periodically, and ponder about the differences and parallels with the modern world, where we face variants of the same problems. To me, one of his four best novels alongside No Highway, A Town Like Alice (Vintage Classics) and On The Beach (Vintage Classics), plus his autobiography.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and enjoyable - classic Shute 20 April 2011
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Henry Warren is a good man, even though he is a banker and rich more or less beyonf the dreams of avarice. But all is not well in his world. His wife is unfaithful, and fills his house with distasteful people and his health is on the edge - the result of working way too hard in order to do his job in an exemplary fashion. When his wife leaves him he can't see his way, and sets off for a walking tour to think how to recommence his life. Taken ill unexpectedly he lands in the hospital of the ruined city of the title - a town where the shipbuilding industry that has been the town's main support has gone and everything is going downhill - indeed fast approaching a point of no return. Appalled by the ill health of the working men for whom the dole barely keeps body and soul together (the contrast eith modern benefits is eyewatering!) and who long for a job, he comes up with a scheme. But as a business case the scheme can't be justified - indeed Warren has turned down many such propositions in the past, and known he was right to do so as a business case. How can he square the circle? (I won't spoil the ending by telling!)
A lovely book this, which asks us questions about the role of capital, the right line for benefits, the disconnect between banks and the people who need the money most and the importance of honesty in business. All present themselves in a version which is dictated by the concerns of the 1930s, but which resonates clearly today. He also makes tellingly an important point about what we really need for happiness - not always the things we think we do!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite reads of all time 6 Jan 2012
I first read this 40 years ago, re-read it a week ago and enjoyed it even more. I come from 4 generations of cotton mill mamagers in the north of England, and myself worked in engineering in the 60s before embarking on a scientific career. With this background, I travelled extensively in the north, seeing at first hand the shameful neglect of Liverpool and the North-East with its massive long-term unemployment - punishment for a tradition of earning money by manufacturing rather than swindling people through the City. Since selling our manufacturing jobs to China, Shute's book is probably more relevant now than ever. The solutions now are not so simple, but essentially the message is the same - long-term unemployment is a bigger killer than tobacco and alcohol combined - without the temporary enjoyment offered by these two vices.

Ruined City tells the story of Henry Warren, a merchant banker who is treated in a hospital in the town of Sharples in the north of England, a former ship-building town wrecked for five years by the 1930's Great Depression and the abysmal government response to the crisis. Warren determines to use his skills to rebuild the industrial heart of the town. There follows a story inspiring in its altruism, dedication, and fineness of spirit. Governments should read books like this, it might make them think beyond pandering to short-term greed to win the next election. The simple message is that, no matter how hopeless the situation, there is always a way - if you have the courage to pursue it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 1930s book still relevant today 19 Sep 2014
By Stoker
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good story that raises many ethical and moral concerns that are still important today. Sadly, I doubt if many of our business leaders and bankers would even consider ethics or morals when making their decisions. Although the story was written in the late 1930s the problems of unemployment, corruption, health care, creating jobs and taking money out of businesses are still with us. I like the story immensely as these issues are handled in a very human and touching way. I wonder how many people have been inspired to try and change the world after reading this book. I know that it did this for my brother and I. I would especially recommend this book to young people thinking about the world of work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writer 22 May 2014
By Elke
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love all of Nevil Shute's books.Every one is different.There is no 'formula' writing as with so many of today's books.For example Joanna Trollope's 'The Rector's Wife' reminded me so much of something Alan Bennett wrote.I like new ideas in stories.
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