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Memory Hold-the-Door

Tekijä: John Buchan

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1956138,903 (3.94)7
John Buchan 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, had a remarkable life and here is his wonderfully written and fascinating memoir. Buchan can very readily be described as a man of empire, serving in the army during the Boer war and becoming a diplomat and well read historian of the First World War, he settled as Governor General of Canada in 1935 having travelled the world in official posts for the British government. This autobiography was one of John F. Kennedy's favourite books.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I picked this up after reading that John F. Kennedy considered it one of his favorite books and after finishing it I can see why. John Buchan, who held the awesomely P.G. Wodehouse-esque peerage of 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, was a pioneering Scottish crime fiction author who became Governor General of Canada back in 1935 when it was necessary to import bored British aristocrats for the position instead of bored local personalities. This is his memoir, and I took away two main things from it. First, he's a seriously great writer; all that Greek and Latin study that the British school system went for in those days really paid off, and I spent a large part of the book paying more attention to his prose than what he was talking about just because of the shining clarity of it. I can see why JFK, who had an expensive prep school education himself, would like it so much. Second, he's one of the all time champion brown-nosers and name-droppers: if there's a way to mention that he Knows People, he will find it, and in the process deliver some of the most preposterous compliments you will ever read. There's just no way for me to convey the awe-inspiring magnitude of the rhetorical handjobs he delivers in the book; each page-long encomium, packed with multilingual poetry, ethereal philosophical musings, and lengthy classical allusions is a work of art that has to be read in full to be properly appreciated. When I get famous I'm definitely going to pay someone to write like this about me. As far as his actual life went, a lot of it struck me as dull (Oxford College back around the turn of the 20th century is almost unbearably uninteresting to an American like me) or bizarrely self-obsessed. He served as a colonial administrator in South Africa during the Boer War, one of the most brutal wars in modern history, and according to the book it seems to have consisted almost entirely of hiking in the veldt, reading Euripides, and loads of smashingly erudite jawing about the Meaning of Empire with the jolly good chaps in the Foreign Office. I guess that's a reasonable takeaway for a person whose entire career seems to have been to hang out with famous people, but it was a big struggle to reconcile Buchan's obvious intelligence with his frequently stunningly banal observations; I got frequent vibes of "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?". Other than that, though, he seems to have had a pretty eventful life, and the ending rumination on his experiences is a highly recommended display of thoughtful erudition in action. He was probably one of the most entertaining dinner guests of all time. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Also called Pilgrim’s Way
  gbelik | Dec 31, 2020 |
Oddly enough, though this was in my parents' collection and I can recall seeing it on their shelves for many years, and i like much of Buchan's work and have read that this was one of JFK's favorite books, I have never actually sat down to read this, perhaps being daunted by the sheer size f t. Tasting the first chapter I have found it very good, with Buchan's usual beautifully vivid descriptive writing especally abou the little wood near his childfhood home. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 24, 2016 |
Tweedsmuir or John Buchan led a full and interesting life. In this memoir he describes the various government roles he held during the first half of the 20th Century. He was also a writer of serious biography and history augmented by adventure stories such as Greenmantel and The Thirty Nine Steps. He died in 1940 while serving as Canada's Governor-General.
Buchan knew most of the important British politicians and military leaders of the early 20th Century plus many of England's literary figures. He was a close friend of T.E. Lawrence, knew Thomas hardy and Virgina Wolfe and was a friend of King George V. He loved the outdoors and thought nothing of walking 30 miles on a Sunday stroll. He was a passionate fisherman and includes many of this ideas about successful fly fishing in this memoir. This was a very pleasant read. ( )
  lamour | May 15, 2012 |
Beautifully written prose, but the content is probably only of interest to Buchan fans, or those interested in early 20th century politics. ( )
  cazfrancis | Sep 7, 2011 |
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As a child I must have differed in other things besides sanctity from the good Bernard of Clairvaux, who, we are told, could walk all day by the Lake of Geneva and never see the lake.
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This book is a journal of certain experiences, not written in the experiencing moment, but rebuilt out of memory.
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British title: Memory Hold-the-Door

American title: Pilgrim's Way
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John Buchan 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, had a remarkable life and here is his wonderfully written and fascinating memoir. Buchan can very readily be described as a man of empire, serving in the army during the Boer war and becoming a diplomat and well read historian of the First World War, he settled as Governor General of Canada in 1935 having travelled the world in official posts for the British government. This autobiography was one of John F. Kennedy's favourite books.

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