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on 26 May 2017
Of it's time and, as someone who rails against liberal ideals and PC brigade, even I found the racism a bit trying. To be honest the stories all seem a bit 'samey' and if you read 'The 39 Steps' that should just about do it, although any of the screen adaptations are far more entertaining, to be honest. Richard Hannay is far more likeable in the guise of Kenneth More or Robert Powell or Robert Donat and comes over as just a bit of an annoying prig on the page.
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on 21 September 2014
I think I must have got every Buchan book on Amazon! My husband convinced me I should read the 39 Steps, despite my dislike of adventure books, and that's it, I was hooked. Buchan was a brilliant author, Hannay is the perfect hero - he is principled, honest, moral, self-effacing, and would die for his country (or a lady)! Every woman's ideal hero, and every man's too.

Buchan also uses women cleverly. They don't quite know their place (remember this was between the world wars) and are feisty and somehow get themselves involved in the adventure. But there is nothing sweetly cloying about Buchan's women, or about any romance he might wright in (and he doesn't do much of that), it is reserved, in the manner of the time.

Buchan's books are real snapshots of modern history, with an adventure overlay. So exciting, yet polite at the same time. I'm sure Hannay would have made a brilliant (if modest) James Bond.
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on 9 July 2015
Well written adventure stories where handy is a true hero and less of a indecisive weakling as portrayed in the first 39 Steps film. A ware hero who tangles with Germans and villains with exciting action sequences and little time for women. Like his other books, this one contains a few phrases which would be called offensive in modern times. Good read if you hanker after some good old fashioned boy's own stories.
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on 30 January 2013
First I must declare that I am a big fan of John Buchan's writing. I have owned the penguin paperback versions of these stories for years so when I got my kindle I felt that a good place to start was a story I knew well. This omnibus was good value and if you are looking for the 5 main Hannay stories together in one place this is a good version. If you have only ever seen the film versions of the 39 steps, then I would recommend the book which is notably better. You'll note in the book there is no female lead, a Hitchcock addition which has been repeated in other versions. The writing is of its time, so may seem politically incorrect to today's reader but you should not let this distract from your enjoyment. Happy reading
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on 15 February 2014
I have not finished it yet. The book arrived before the stated date. What has caused me to give less than five stars is the appalling lack of proof reading. Spelling errors abound and one chapter, in one of the stories, started then, on the next page, it started again and continued to the end of the chapter.
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on 17 March 2015
A fantastic collection of adventures featuring Richard Hannay, the most famous being the 39 Steps, however you’d be missing out if you didn’t follow up by reading the sequels.

Considering these books were written by John Buchan as an experiment in writing simple “shockers,” the adventure thrillers of the time, these books hold up remarkably well. The writing is rich and detailed contrary to the expectations of such a series of books.

Buchan was writing the original books as the First World War was in progress and so at the time it was not known what the outcome of the conflict would be. This is reflected in his use of contemporary characters and events, some of which have since been somewhat forgotten or have become footnotes in modern historical texts. Greenmantle in particular I found to be a fascinating insight into the politics and conflicts outside of the Western Front as the adventures travels to the Near East and mentions a fair few events in Southern Africa, as Hannay goes undercover as a pro-German Boer.

The series loses a bit of momentum post-war but by then you’ll be hooked on Hannay’s adventures and want to follow them through to the end. I couldn’t recommend this series more, and in particular the Wordsworth Classics edition.
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on 4 April 2015
A good set. I haven't read them all yet. Good price. There are at least four versions of the 39 steps film which I have seen, but the book is better and in many of the films things were changed from the book quite a bit. I bought this book mainly for the 39 steps but the others seem okay so far too.
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on 4 April 2013
A rolling narrative, adventures, spies and harmless bucolic English ( and Scots) men.
Buchan takes us back to an age of trouble and w a r, when life was tumbled into despair, death and destruction. Yet these stories at ed like a grown up`s Version of Enid blyton tales.
This is a world of good and bad. Characters are somewhat shallow and of no complexity. Expect some thin plot results and unrealistic Miracles.
But all in all a rollicking gentle read t hat I enjoyed very much for a fantastical escape from reality.
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on 4 May 2017
Very well read - and moreover I got it free, so cannot complain (Audible do one free "classic" book each moth, if you first take the - also free - Kindle book. They do not publicise this much!).
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on 28 April 2012
This is great value for the price. The books are accessible in this format and the stories remain great - as long as you read them in the context of when they were written. Having said that, Greenmantle has much to say about the world we seem to have walked into a war with and I think Buchan would have been pleased that it has been deemed sufficiently on the money for the supine and spineless BBC to have declined to broadcast their own dramatization of it for some years after it was made.

Thoroughly recommend this purchase for those who love (or might think they would) love these stories.
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