Top positive review
The Great Go-between.
on 7 April 2015
An excellent, vivid account both of the early life of Arthur Ransome, and of the extraordinary context of the Russian revolution.
Ransome emerges as an extraordinary, rather naive romantic who somehow lived through very dangerous adventures. The idea, expressed later by people who knew him as a children's writer in the Lake District, that he was a very tense man, harried by demons, for whom writing his children's books was an escape, a vital calming process, is clearly foreshadowed in this account.
When arrested on his return from Russia after the first world war, and questioned by the head of Special Branch, he relates that he was asked about his politics and his reply was "fishing". But the real reason that this flippant reply was sufficient was clearly that he was a unique source of information to the British about soviet Russia, and similarly to the Russians about British intentions. He was the great go-between.
This book tells the story extremely well.