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We Didn't Mean to go to Sea Unknown Binding – 1943

52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0073GN9G6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,991,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
I love this book most out of the whole series. The four Swallows spend a few days with an adult friend on board a real sea-going ship. However, while the owner is ashore the ship drifts out to sea in the fog. There is the same loving attention to detail as usual, but this is the first book in which the children face real danger. From the moment the Swallows realise they have drifted out to sea, it's non-stop action until the end.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is my favourite S & A book. The Walkers (no Amazons) are on board a yacht but aren't allowed to sail past the 'Beach End Buoy'. Set in the River Stour in East Anglia, events transpire which see the four children accidentally cross the North Sea in a gale. It is an exciting book which has the most 'sailing' content of all the S & A books.
It is inspirational in that the children triumph over the adversity of crossing to Holland in a small boat in shocking weather.
I have read this book countless times since receiving it as a child. It inspired me to sail and I could practically sail a boat for the first time, aged 12 years, having read this book.
Drag your children away from mind numbing computer games and role models who only want to look good - thrust this in their mitts and hopefully their imaginations will be inspired. If not, read it yourself and you never know, the magic of sailing will become a part of your live.
Jib-booms and bobstays, that was profound !
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
No plain sailing but a great read nevertheless! Arthur Ransome's seventh "Swallows and Amazons" adventure is set not long after the action of "Pigeon Post". The action occurs, this time, in the south of England, rather than in the Lake District, and with just the Swallows alone. They are passing the time on the Rivers Orwell and Stour, while waiting to meet up with their father - due, at any time, on leave from his overseas posting with the Royal Navy.
What starts out as a few days quiet sailing, though, quickly turns into something rather more frightening, with the children suddenly drawn into a terrifying and completely unexpected adventure, when they find themselves and their (borrowed) boat being swept out to sea by a fierce tide. For once, the Swallows face a very real and serious danger that is to test their combined courage, fortitude and seamanship to the utmost. It is fascinating (for grown-up readers, at least) to see each of the children's highly individual (and completely characteristic) reactions to their predicament. Younger readers, of course, are more likely just to be carried away by the pure nail-biting suspense of it all!
While this is a gripping and enthralling tale throughout, the tensions (arising from the danger and the worries of the older children) are lightened for the reader by the pure infectious glee of the younger pair. They, of course, are less aware of the seriousness of their predicament - especially Roger, who, as usual, is perfectly content so long as there is plenty of food around - and rather enjoy themselves!
As in all of the "Swallows and Amazons" books, Ransome's story-telling abilities are second to none, here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael O'Brien on 4 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
The central classic of Arthur Ransome's middle three Swallows and Amazons children's novels (the others being Pigeon Post and Secret Water), and one of the most thrilling and memorable reads that you're going to come across. The format of Ransom's best books i.e. realistic plotlines and believable situations, continues here in an unforgettable story of genuine bravery and resourcefulness.

The various threads of what is to occur are cunningly weaved together in the introductory phases, setting the backdrop to the heart-stopping moment when the Walkers realise that The Goblin is dragging her anchor and the inexorable drifting out to sea has begun. The descriptions of the many incidents and decisions that are taken during the night that follows are masterly and riveting. The adult realism of the perils and dangers encountered make this novel vastly superior to others of its ilk and justifiably warrants the awards and praise that it has drawn. Although set in a time long gone, the story itself is timeless and will appeal to all generations of children.

Though having never been in a boat in my life, I had an aunt who lived in a harbour and I spent time with her when I was young. I still remember when the fog came in, wrapped the world in a moist blanket of grey and was met with the regular and mournful sound of a foghorn echoing in the void. I could feel and taste these memories reading this book. It is to Ransome's credit that despite my lack of any nautical experience, I fully understood his descriptions of what was happening in the boat and felt that I could handle myself quite well should I ever find myself drifting past the Beach End buoy!

For nostalgic reasons I have a definite preference for the hard-copy version of the book and would recommend the outlay of an extra few quid if you were considering buying a copy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. W. D. Preston on 9 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was a boy. I have now bought it for my great nephew. It's an excellent adventure story suitable for girls or boys. A group of children on a yacht off the East Anglian coast find they have drifted into the North Sea by mistake. They end up sailing - without any adults on board - across to Holland. Lots of nautical lore and lots of atmosphere. Very exciting.

The same author wrote the more famous Swallows and Amazons.
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