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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2005
This has to be one of the most wonderful books that I have ever read. I first read it when I was about 7 years old and have re-read the tale over and over again. I gave my older sister her original copy back some years ago and found myself wanting to read the story again within just a few weeks so ended up buying my own copy. Strange that this would be the first time that I actually owned my own copy of a book that means so much to me.

Anyway it is simply an enchanting read for the very young to the young at heart. The book deals with a few ocassionally misplaced values these days, kindness, wrong and right but is never ever preachy. It's a fairy tale and all the best have values to convey, and like all the best there is a smattering of the macabre/evil and a great deal of magic. It has a real haunting feel and if you have any soul at all then the story will stay with you.
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on 2 June 2011
It is now much more than fifty years since I first read 'The King of the Golden River'. The copy I read was in a volume of works by John Ruskin which my mother won as a school prize in 1923. I would sit curled up in a huge winged arm chair, entranced not only by the story and illustrations but also by the soft paper which felt so old! I had not thought about this story for such a long time, when suddenly (in 2001) like a voice from the past, it came into my mind. I searched your web site and found to my joy that it was still in print. I was so excited and told my husband about my find. He then ordered a copy from you for my birthday at the beginning of June. When I opened the book I can't really describe my feelings when I saw again those wonderful illustrations by Richard Doyle which had thrilled and enthralled me all those years ago. I could hardly wait to 'get away' from everybody else in the house with my treasure. The opening descriptions of the Golden River and Treasure Valley conjured up such pictures in my mind. Gluck's first meeting with the King of the Golden River was wonderful and 'wet' with humour. The subsequent adventures of Schwartz, Hans and Gluck were just as I remembered them, though now I saw more subtle humour. The essay on its writing and publishing which followed was well worth reading. I had not realised that it has remained in print for so long, or that it has been translated into so many languages. My sister has renewed her acquaintance with the story (which sometimes we had read together as children) and my daughter has been introduced to it now. Thank you for bringing back so many happy memories, I hope that many more people will enjoy 'The King of the Golden River' as much as I did when I was quite a young girl and as I do again now that I a grandmother.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 August 2011
I'm reviewing the basic text here, not any editorial notes or interpretation (one never knows which editions the system will stick the review to).

I read this first a couple of years ago, and I couldn't really get beyond Ruskin's elaborate, rather smug Victorian English. It annoyed me and I wondered why, when first published, there was such a hoo-hah. The second time of reading, the unfamiliar grammar is less obtrusive and I was getting his sense. Take note of this; if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Because a lot of what Ruskin has to say applies just as much, if not more so, today. He talks (these were, originally, public lectures) about our obsession with status and celebrity, our neglect of the things that really matter - our hypocrisy, and our ability to turn a blind eye to things that make us uncomfortable.

Ostensibly, the book is about how to approach culture; books, paintings and so on. Especially how, and what to read, and why. But it also about our responsibilities as members of the human race, about what makes our lives worthwhile, and what is fool's gold. About vanity, friendship, organised religion - and celebrity worship, and the demands of charities. About how a nation should conduct itself, and about just and unjust wars. It's about what constitutes a real education, and what is a waste of our time and effort.

Ruskin makes assumptions about what his audience will be familiar with; assumptions which were valid for a well-educated crowd in his day, but are now wildly optimistic. He assumes you will have read Milton, Shakespeare, and probably Dante as well. But you don't have to have this kind of literary background to get the benefit of what he has to say, so bear with him and read on with care; follow his thread and give him a chance.

I should not need to make it plain that Ruskin's ideas on the education and role of women are not those of today. However for the 1860s they are surprisingly liberal. At this time, most girls, if taught anything beyond the 3 Rs, were simply force-fed long strings of facts like "the principal exports of Argentina", with no attempt at understanding. Ruskin says at one point that girls should be educated in depth - in science, for example, to the last point before the step of starting original research - a page or so later, that they should learn all this simply so as to be good and helpful wives. I think this last bit is a sop to public opinion, lest he lose his audience by being too radical. He is against censoring girl's reading and in favour of them reading all the classics; most unusual for his day. He is very down on trashy novels though! If he had a time machine, I suspect he would have been shocked but pleased to find a strong female presence in the liberal professions; appalled at the sight of female front-line soldiers, especially as he would have hope 150 years would have seen an end to wars, just or unjust.
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on 14 November 2013
Read this book when I was young in the 1950's it was my father's copy, who read this in the 1920's when he was young so it had the original drawings in it. I went back to this story time and time again knowing each time I would love it. I have bought this copy for my 11 year old grandaughter as I m sure that she will enjoy this story as much as I did, Pity no pictures but not a problem. Copy is lovely
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on 15 February 2017
Delighted to have found this story for an elderly lady who remembered it from her childhood - she was delighed to read it again.
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on 15 June 2013
it was read to me at primary school but I couldn't remember it . I think someone in the family may read it. It's a classic!
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on 15 January 2016
Lovely book + nicely presented. non-standard size gave it a 'special' feel.
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on 30 July 2014
Good old fashioned fairy tale
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on 27 August 2015
Ruskin free, can't complain!
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on 23 November 2012
This is a children's story. I am not sure today's kids would really relate to it, but what do I know - I would have said the same thing about Tolkien's work. A standard type of fairy story, with the obligatory moral message. I read this out of curiosity, just to see what kind of children's story Ruskin would have written.
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