Talk:Nevil Shute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Geraldine Fitzgerald[edit]

Geraldine Fitzgerald was an Irish Actress; not an Irish-American actress. As she was born on November 24, 1913, it is impossible that she is the person to whom Nevil Shute's brother Fred proposed to in Dublin in 1913. Irl32csc (talk) 19:08, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

I have removed the unsourced speculation that Shute was a cousin of the red haired Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald. "It is said[by whom?] that Shute was a cousin of the red haired Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald. However, this seems to be a confusion with his account in his autobiography[1] of his older brother Fred's proposal in Dublin in 1913 to the "ravishingly beautiful ... dark hair[ed]" Geraldine Fitzgerald who wanted to go on the stage.[2]" cagliost (talk) 12:13, 3 September 2015 (UTC)


After initially getting a 404 Not Found for "The Nevil Shute Book Page," I fixed the URL. I then took a closer look at the site, and and it appears to be not much more than an ad for someone selling second-hand Nevil Shute books. I could find very little information or material on Nevil Shute at this site.

I believe the link ought to be removed and will remove it in a day or so unless someone can give me a good reason why it should stay or point to something I've missed at the site. Dpbsmith 03:21, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

  • Even though this discussion is four years old already, and while the site contain some book sales, it is very educational from both the point of Nevil Shute and the value of his works as a collectible author. It's possible the site has just been updated with more content since you last spoke about it, but I was happy to be able to access the site and I suggest keeping it. Dwath (talk) 17:15, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Dwath. First of all, there is nothing for sale on this site. Next, and most importantly, any serious Nevil Shute book collector would recognize the significance of this page. Among other things, this site provides collectors with a wealth of information on identifying Nevil Shute first edition books, with the most comprehensive collection of images and collecting tips on Shute's first editions on the internet. Few sites for any author are so fortunate to have this much collecting information as this site provides. McPif (talk) 19:26, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Great link, thanks for adding it[edit]

That Mr Norway site is very interesting. Great stuff. Thanks for adding it. -- Dpbsmith (talk) 12:36, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • Re the link: My pleasure. You may find other items of interest on my site - go to You can also contact me via the site. -- kdelarue 03:22, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Is Shute's changing popularity such a significant thing that it ought to be presented in the opening sequence? Should these lines be moved further down to under the biography heading, for instance before or after the last but one paragraph ? Solbris (talk) 11:07, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

No book-seller links, please[edit]

I removed one. - DavidWBrooks 19:01, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • I have to say that the actual page linked to was informative and advertising-free. And the site itself is not the site of one particular dealer selling books. The real objection is that as nearly as I can tell, it added nothing to the article—it contained no information that was not already there. So I think your call was a good one. However, I'd hope we'd accept a link to a commercial site if it were genuinely useful and informative. We should watch and see if this anon tries to systematically add more links to the same site. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:10, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
    • You're right, my comment was overly brusque; the site wasn't as grossly buy-my-books as many are. External links can be tricky, of course, and your rule is good: The link has to add something that isn't there otherwise, and commercial sites can certainly do that. But there is a large gray area - discussion forums about an author are a perfect example. Or take a look at the various links that have come and gone on guinea pig - at what point does an ad-supported site selling pet supplies that also has some information make the cut? Tough one. - DavidWBrooks 20:24, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"libertarian" viewpoint?[edit]

An anonymous editor removed the section discussing Shute's portrayal of capitalism and individuality in his books. I have undone that removal - the discussion could be edited, but it's a legitimate topic. - DavidWBrooks 23:23, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • I am that anonymous editor, and I have some things to say / a couple of points I would like to discuss.
  • 1) I realise that just deleting a whole section seems like vandalism running counter to the wikipedia ethos, especially if it is politically contentious and the editor is anonymous.
  • 2) The section is politically contentious. I have only read On the Beach and am not a Nevil Shute scholar - there may be independent evidence that he actually did hold libertarian views (interviews, etc). However, the text I deleted suggested that he disapproved of charity and that he approved of "bribery and questionable financial dealings", basing this on the viewpoints of his characters. The first one (which "flashes by almost as an aside") seems to me rather like Shute is ridiculing the "young woman". In fact, I would challenge anyone to read the paragraph I deleted and deny that it was written by someone grinding a libertarian axe. Just try it.
  • 3) I now have personal experience that intrusive edits are dealt with quickly and harshly, and that the Encyclopaedia Britannica flunkies have gotten it all wrong about vandals messing wikipedia up.
  • 4) Dpbsmith, who wrote the paragraph I was trying to delete, and the meddling kid DavidWBrooks, are actually both - unlike me - serious contributors to Wikipedia, so it's kind of hard for me to brush them off.
  • 5) Why is it that libertarians are always in the forefront of free culture, like wikipedia and linux, when this actually means you're ruining the market for Microsoft?
Not a libertarian here, bub - just somebody interested in articles that accurately describe interesting and important aspects of the subject matter. I've read almost all of Shute's novels, and the "noble individual doing great things by sticking to moral certainties and ignoring the herd" is a very common theme, well worth discusing. Don't allow your feelings about libertarianism (or anything else) to drive your edits.
The fact that the section is politically contentious doesn't mean it should be heaved out the window. If you think it grinds an axe, rewrite it. Improve it. Make it better, don't just kill it! (breaks into song) "That's the wiki w-a-a-a-ay!" - DavidWBrooks 20:10, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
P.S. No, there isn't a wikipedia song ... just kidding.
Hi! Sorry if I'm harrassing you about Nevil Shute... but wouldn't it be reasonable to produce some actual evidence (quotations, etc.) as to his actual political views here, instead of just riffing on what people in his books happen to say? He seems to have been a pretty public persona in Australia - he should have said something political somewhere.

A) No harrassing seen - this sort of back-and-forth is the whole point of wikipedia. Why don't you create an account so your posts can be timed? Then people know if a comment is from days ago or just a few minutes ago. (Also, without your account I can't answer notes you leave on my Talk page) B) The article seems to me to talk about the themes and styles in Shute's books, not his life. "Riffing on what people in his books happen to say" is a fairly common way of writing about an author's works, it seems to me! C) This portion of this article is not well-written and needs work, which I may do one of these days, although any and all are (of course) welcome to do it first. I think good NPOV editing could solve most of your concerns, Mr. Anonymous! - DavidWBrooks 22:15, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I thought it was clear that these portions of the article deal with recurrent themes in Nevil Shute's novels, not personal beliefs of Nevil Shute. I think the statement that Shute's novels "present money and private enterprise as sources of moral good" is almost as obvious as the statement that Shute's novels often involve aviation. If the phrase "they always have [it] as a subtext" is mine—and I'm afraid it is—well, yeah, that's going a bit far. But the examples are specific and the quotations are accurate.
Not to discuss these themes would be like failing to mention the Christian background in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien or C. S. Lewis.
I think it goes without saying that one should not assume that the words of Nevil Shute's fictional characters reflect Nevil Shute's own views.
Similarly, please do not assume that if dpbsmith writes "Nevil Shute's novels ... have, as a subtext, a firm belief in money and private enterprise as sources of moral good," that it means that dpbsmith holds that firm belief himself. Dpbsmith (talk) 01:26, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well he is pro-capatilist; see in Slide Rule on their private R-100 vs the mistakes with the govt airship R-101. & the novel (which?) where the monarch takes refuge from a British Labour Govt in Australia (which has one vote for all, but extra votes for the talented. Hugo999 13:16, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

What is the prupose of the Marxist comments about "a comfortable middle-class English life, during a period, from the turn of the nineteenth century to past the middle of the twentieth, when class was a predominant factor in life. His heroes tended to be middle class: solicitors, doctors, accountants, bank managers, engineers. Usually, like himself, they had enjoyed the privilege of university, not then within the purview of the lower classes". Apart from the grammatical errors, this is a bizarre statement. What of the American films of any era, where the majority of characters can only be described as upper class? (talk) 09:52, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Objectivist recommendation[edit]

Objectivists recommended his novels [1] (see February 1985 issue of The Objectivist Forum) Randroide (talk) 08:32, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Little bit of plagiarism[edit]

Looks like some of the materials is derived from this link


It's the other way around. Congratulations, you've found a Wikipedia mirror. Scroll to the bottom of the page at your link and you'll notice it says: "This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nevil_Shute".
But thanks for keeping your eyes peeled. If it had been copied from another website, you could have listed it under Wikipedia:Copyright problems or someone else could have listed it for you. Copyright violation is a big problem for Wikipedia and we can use help in spotting it. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:05, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Trustee from the Toolroom[edit]

I corrected the plot summary, which previously said the valuables were smuggled out of England "to avoid taxes". See Talk:Trustee from the Toolroom for the explanation. -Rbean 23:03, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Vinland the Good[edit]

The link to this book points to a page that redirects to the Vinland page - nothing to do with Shute. A Shute expert needs to write at least a stub for that link, otherwise it looks as if that one is done and editors will concentrate on the 'red' links in the bibliography. Bduke 23:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Done, in extremely stubby fashion - a single sentence. - DavidWBrooks 00:15, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

In the first place, Vinland the Good is not an alternate title for An Old Captivity, but an entirely different work. I own a copy published by Morrow in 1946. It is not a novel. It is a movie script. In the introduction, Nevil Shute states, ". . . many times I kicked myself for only having written a small part of it. At the end of 1944 I was demobilized, and filling in time while waiting to go out to Burma on another job by writing the whole story out in full. i did not want to write it as another novel on the same subject, so I wrote it as a treatment for a film. Bduke is correct; the link is misleading and should be edited or deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tfp37 (talkcontribs) 04:26, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I corrected the mention of Vinland the Good in this page, in the Vinland the Good page itself, and in the An Old Captivity page. – John Stanning 11:50, 16 January 2010

Round the Bend[edit]

The links within this article to Round the Bend go to an article about a kids TV show. I raised the matter on the talk page for that Round the Bend article but the suggestion came back that it should be fixed at the Nevile Shute end. I can edit the Nevile Shute page to remove the link but I was wondering if there is a real article somewhere for the Round the Bend novel? Couldn't find it using search. 14:20, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Not out of print[edit]

I have removed the claim that none of Shute's books are in print - a quick look on shows this is not the case —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:44, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Age at Death[edit]

Have added the date of death to the infobox - if someone can get the infobox to calculate the age at death without making him 109, go ahead! Hugo999 (talk) 00:39, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Belief in Private Enterprise[edit]

Regarding the large deletion, and then re-instatement of this section of the article, it can be said that it seems to be original research. It's interesting, and possibly completely accurate, but it does need references. This may be the reason behind the original deletion. Though any such major edit should have been discussed first. --Perry Middlemiss (talk) 23:18, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

  • No sources/citations have been provided in the 18 months since the comment above, despite being tagged as OR in November last year. So I will now delete the whole section. Before reinstating it, please consider finding appropriate secondary sources to support the position rather than including original research based on the novels themselves. (talk) 00:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
doesn't the explicit internal evidence of the text count at all? Must it have been regurgitated by some academic before Wikipedia will include it? If so, why are there plot synopses through WP's articles on authors and literary works? (don't try to tell me they were all written by tenured academics!) Hasn't anyone heard of the famous "Il n'y a pas que l'hors-texte" ("there is nothing but the text")? Chrismorey (talk) 04:38, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

"Peace Broke Out" -- rephrase?[edit]

Article reads: "As soon as peace broke out ..."

Perhaps this could benefit from rephrasing? One usually says "war broke out," not peace. Indeed, the phrase "In 1945, peace broke out" was used to comic effect in a Monty Python sketch.

Karl gregory jones (talk) 22:29, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

You certainly can rephrase it if you wish, but "peace broke out" is common enough that, among other things, it is part of many a book title. Just wander through any online bookstore and you'll see. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 22:54, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Metal fatigue[edit]

As a young engineer in the 1960s, working alongside aircraft engineers, I remember there was an idea around at that time that Shute had played a significant professional role in the field of metal fatigue. Or was it just that one of his novels deals with that topic? (Is that true? If so, it may be 'Trustee from the Toolroom'?) Or may be he wrote a novel based on his personal involvement? Does any editor have any thoughts on this? It is 20 years since I read any Shute.Flying Stag (talk) 09:27, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

You're thinking about No Highway. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:53, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Late date[edit]

Nevil Shute's attacks on racialism only appeared after 1945. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:07, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

See his works of 1947 and 1951. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:09, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Very much the same thing happened with Agatha Christie's novels. Racialist remarks vanished after 1945. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:12, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Writing on R101 criticized[edit]

Shute's writing on R101 is criticized in the article but no details are given.

Since Shute spends perhaps 1/4 of his autobiography on the R100 and R101, one wonders what the inaccuracies were. Some justification for calling his account "hostile and distorted" seems indicated to allow the reader to see if the verdict is appropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:50, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

seems to have been dealt with. Much of Shute's writing is skeptical of the competence of the public sector - see talk post re this but the text as of now fairly summarizes his stated view. Chrismorey (talk) 04:45, 19 April 2014 (UTC)


Shute lived in Australia for under 10 years. I don't think this would give him dual-nationality. If Shute received Australian citizenship, this needs to be mentioned in his page, otherwise, his nationality should be changed to British. Shute's pages in most other languages refer to him as either English or British. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:05, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. He is not listed in the National Archives of Australia as having naturalised. However, in those times it wasn't necessary for British subjects (like Shute) to naturalise as being British was all that mattered. The distinction between being an Australia citizen and a British subject didn't become important until after his death. I have edited the page to reflect this (first sentence, infobox, and on his immigration mid-article). I hope that makes it clearer. Kerry (talk) 00:20, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Early Life[edit]

Could someone with access to his autobiography clear up his WWI experience? When the war started, he would have been 15 years old: we're told he attended Royal Military Acadamy, that he couldn't join the RFC (which would require a date prior to 1 April 1918, when it became the RAF), and instead served in the Suffolk Regiment. At the time of the Armistice he'd have been 19.

This link suggests (but does not actually say) that he might not have seen any active service outside the UK. Elsewhere on the same website there is this: He joined the Royal Military Academy in 1918, with the aim of being commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, where he trained as a Gunner for nine months, but his bad stammer led to him failing the final medical examination. This was at the time when the Royal Flying Corps ceased to be part of the army and became the Royal Air Force (RAF). Despite his best efforts, he never managed to get into the RAF, and in August of 1918 he enlisted in the infantry, and for the last three months of the war he mounted guard duty at the Thames Estuary. I would hate to suggest he had managed somehow to avoid being conscripted after his 18th birthday in January 1917 (when he became eligible for conscription) if in fact he entered the RMA in 1917 (say). Could anyone set his war service out in a bit more detail?Thomas Peardew (talk) 15:42, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

I cannot lay my hands quickly on the autobiography (Slide Rule) but I have the biography Parallel Motion in front of me. He left school at Christmas 1916. His father wanted him to get a commision in the regular army. He sat the exam and failed. so his father sent him to a crammer for six months. Summer 1917 he enters Royal Military Academy at Woolwich (presumably having passed the exam 2nd time). He elected to join the Royal Flying Corps (still part of the army at that time). He trained as a gunner for 9 months. He is about to pass out as a commissioned officer in April 1918, but fails the final medical on account of his stammer and is discharged. His father sends him to a specialist to see if he can get the stammer cured and get the commission. By august 1918 they give up on this (presumably the stammer isn't improving of the RFC make it clear there are no 2nd chances) and Shute enlists as a private in the infantry. Presumably he now enters another training phase (certainly he stays in England, presumably the 3 months you mention on the Thames Estuary) but then the war ends on Nov 1918 and he does not see active service. He then is assigned to be a clerk in a demobilization office until he is demobilized himself (around Jan-Feb 1919). He starts studying engineering at Oxford in Feb 1919. So, I am guessing that the fact he was trying to get a commission from Jan 1917 exempted him from conscription in some way, but that isn't specifically explained. But looking at the dates and time frames mentioned it would appear he first tried to enter the army in early 1917, which was around his 18th birthday. Kerry (talk) 16:24, 20 January 2014 (UTC)


I've removed duplication in the two parallel lists of Shute's works, also structured the information on his career to identify the dual strands of engineering and literature. IMO this is well worth doing as Shute was perhaps the only engineer who was also a ranking novelist. The closest analogy I can think of is Primo Levi who was an industrial chemist. Chrismorey (talk) 04:42, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Shute Slide Rule, p.19–20
  2. ^ Shute himself wondered in Slide Rule whether she might be Geraldine Fitzgerald the film actress. In Slide Rule Shute mentions that he learnt details of the proposal from his Cornish cousin Patty (Shute), who was Fred's "great confidante", (Shute Slide Rule, p.19)