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The Halfhearted [Audio Cassette]

Flo Gibson John Buchan
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Audio Book Contractors, Inc. (30 Jan 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556854935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556854934
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

More About the Author

John Buchan was born in Perth. His father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland; and in 1876 the family moved to Fife where in order to attend the local school the small boy had to walk six miles a day. Later they moved again to the Gorbals in Glasgow and John Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow University (by which time he was already publishing articles in periodicals) and Brasenose College, Oxford. His years at Oxford - 'spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery' - nevertheless opened up yet more horizons and he published five books and many articles, won several awards including the Newdigate Prize for poetry and gained a First. His career was equally diverse and successful after university and, despite ill-health and continual pain from a duodenal ulcer, he played a prominent part in public life as a barrister and Member of Parliament, in addition to being a writer, soldier and publisher. In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, and the marriage was supremely happy. They had one daughter and three sons. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and became the fifteenth Governor-General of Canada, a position he held until his death in 1940. 'I don't think I remember anyone,' wrote G. M. Trevelyan to his widow, 'whose death evoked a more enviable outburst of sorrow, love and admiration.'

John Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910, followed by a series of adventure thrillers, or 'shockers' as he called them, all characterized by their authentically rendered backgrounds, romantic characters, their atmosphere of expectancy and world-wide conspiracies, and the author's own enthusiasm. There are three main heroes: Richard Hannay, whose adventures are collected in The Complete Richard Hannay; Dickson McCunn, the Glaswegian provision merchant with the soul of a romantic, who features in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; and Sir Edward Leithen, the lawyer who tells the story of John MacNab and Sick Heart River, John Buchan's final novel. In addition, John Buchan established a reputation as an historical biographer with such works as Montrose, Oliver Cromwell and Augustus.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sombre but thought provoking 4 Aug 2010
By AndeeH
I read this book over 25 years ago as a teenager and still remember it quite vividly.

Another reviewer, 'Tasha', quite rightly describes it as not one of Buchan's best novels, but its themes of love, cowardice and redemption really resonated with the shy young man I was at the time. The first half of the book, which is set in the highlands of Scotland, is much the best and describes how a privileged but shallow young man loses the love of his life through caution and weakness of character. In the second half of the book - set in India, but not as well written - he redeems himself through brave and sacrificial service to his country. Obviously these themes are highly unfashionable these days, but it made me think a lot about the nature of honor and courage, and of the need to take the tides of life at the flood.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 9 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fine tale of a flawed hero.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Novel 3 Oct 2013
By pin
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Could not get into it -had no substance or decent story line -gave up after first chapter - very boring read
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy imperial relic 8 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Buchan at his worst: an overwrought and implausible pseudo-coming-of-age tale written in the best shade of 'It was a dark and stormy night' purple. It's full of jolly stereotypes of devilishly tricky foreigners, plucky underdog Brits, the emerging merchant class, and longing looks over the Scottish heather.

It's vaguely interesting as an example of late Victorian panics about masculinity in the age of empire: the young aristocratic British man is nothing without guns and adventure, etc. But really, head for his later stuff—this is juvenilia.
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1.0 out of 5 stars too dated to be readable 5 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not sure I will be able to finish this; it is, by modern standards, so ridiculous that it is not even amusing as a glimpse of the past. The attitudes and behaviour are unbelievable and I don't think it could have been anything other than dreadful even when it was written.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very slow going - love and duty 25 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An innocent young girl is invited to a Scottish manor house, and is wooed by two gentlemen. One of these is torn between social duty and love, suffers greatly, and ultimately pays the ultimate price - on the borders of British colonial India.

My opinion: so slow-going as to be quite tough; so much inner agonizing it has been called a 'psychological study', and for me that is no recommendation if it is the main purpose, and hammered home too often. I love many of Buchan's books, but this is not among them.
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