- Publisher: Macmillan Pub Co (April 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684183757
- ISBN-13: 978-0684183756
- Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.7 x 4.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,646,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Snow's interests are many: obsessive love, the gaining and holding of power over others (politics in all sorts of worlds), manners, psychological infirmity. He is fascinated by the development and shredding of character and power. Warning: these books take about 150 pages to get into, so it does require patience. Once you are into the series, there is no satisfaction to be gained from any other book until the series is done. (My reaction when reading others is "why won't the author REALLY tell us what is happening in this scene?").
These books are truly great and truly under-appreciated. (The poor, overly reductive television series in the mid-1980s or early 1990s didn't help).
Snow was a molecular physicist in England in the 1930-1940's. During world war II he became a civil servant, engaged in recruiting scientists to the war efforts, especially the development of the atomic bomb.
His books contain detailed observation of all levels of life in this setting; pre-world war II England (Strangers and Brothers), academic politics in Cambridge (The Masters), Whitehall politics (Corridors of Power) and the discovery of atomic power and the dread of its consequences (The New Men). All his books are woven with sensitive descriptions of his personal life and that of his friends. His first wife, suffering froms schizophrenia, had almost crippled him emotionally (Homecomings, A Time of Hope) untill he met his second wife who taught him to experience love and friendship.
His work as Civil Servant Commissioner and industry earned him a knighthood in 1957.
Stangers and Brothers is the first book, telling the story of Lewis Eliot (CP Snow's literary identity) and his encounter with George Passant between 1925-1933, who brought together a group of young people in an idealistic search for personal, social, and sexual freedom. It is a fascinating decription of social ideas typical of pre-world war II England, yet universal to young adulthood's search for independence.
I enjoyed almost all of Snow's books and I certainly recommend this one too. I sincerely wish all his books were available, but unfortunately many are out of press.
Set in a provincial English village, Strangers and Brothers was written in 1940 and is the first of a series featuring the protagonist Lewis Eliot. The main cast is a group of poor young college students who are mentored by one of their law professors, George Passant, a man of remarkable gifts who exerts a crucial influence on the lives of the young people he has gathered around himself.
Passant attracts the devotion of the group, and helps them with advice, lending them money and generally persuading them of their worth and motivating them to go on to greater things. He also parties with them. Eliot is one of the group who goes on to become a solicitor (lawyer).
Passant is a passionate, scrupulously honest idealist who is endlessly optimistic about human value and worth; a penchant that leads him into quixotic ventures, and eventually into trouble with the law on a fraud accusation, from which Lewis Elliot eventually extricates him.
The story is entirely about complex human motivations and relationships, with no violence, explicit sex, high speed auto chases or any of the other devices deemed so necessary by modern fiction writers. Yet it is fascinating, full of tension, and holds the reader's interest to the end.
C.P. Snow is also the author of The Search, The Affair, Homecoming and several other best selling novels of his day. This as a story that caught and held my interest.
Joseph H Pierre
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