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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 7 April 2015
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good except rather slow delivery
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slightly obsessive but exhaustively researched biography, 30 Jun. 2010
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John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography (Paperback)
This is a slightly difficult biography to review. The author has clearly done extremely thorough, in fact obsessive, research into Verne's life. This detail is part of the problem. The biographer chronicles and lists exhaustively all the homes the author ever lived in, all his trips abroad and all his trips on his sailing boat; he berates previous biographers as remiss for not having done similarly. This obsession extends to quite lengthy scatalogical excerpts, relating these (to my mind, implausibly) to parts of his novels.

The biographer clearly has it in big time for Verne's long time publisher, Hetzel. No doubt he may well have been greedy and at times excessively change Verne's drafts. But if he was really the evil Svengali that Butcher presents, why did Verne stick with him for so many decades? The naïvety of the author doesn't really convince as a complete explanation for this depiction. I think Butcher is too ready to write off the published versions as somehow being illegitimate travesties of Verne's intentions. Where I think he is on stronger ground is in debunking the notion that Verne was a SF writer; really he was a writer of adventure and exploration thrillers.
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Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography
Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography by William Butcher (Paperback - 3 April 2007)
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