"Lest we forget, what Rowling did for magicians in the noughties, Arthur Ransome did for sailing holidays in the 1930s and '40s. In this charming but exacting study, Lovelock brings vividly alive the world of Swallows and Amazons and the intriguing character of its creator. Here is a real 'spot in time' of English culture. Lovelock presents the first serious study of the whole oeuvre, an apparently lost world of the certainties of Empire and the patriarchal family."
Stefan Hawlin, Professor in English Literature, University of Buckingham
"An admirable introduction for newcomers to the Swallows and Amazons novels, written with detailed and expert knowledge. Julian Lovelock clearly has a deep affection and admiration for Ransome's writing, and places the books in a rich and complex context. This is an elegant and leisurely guide through the books in the company of an amiable and well-informed companion."
Peter Hunt, Professor Emeritus in Children's Literature at Cardiff University and co-author of How Did Long John Silver Lose His Leg? (2013)
"This is a splendid and timely book. Julian Lovelock restores Arthur Ransome to his rightful place on one of the peaks of children's fiction. Perhaps even more importantly, he reminds us, by way of a plainly and grippingly told tale, of the pleasure to be had when, returning as an adult to books treasured in childhood, we are seized once again by Ransome's moral strength, his technical command whether of seafaring, copper-mining, birdlore or Arctic exploration, and the cordial power of his story-telling."
Fred Inglis, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sheffield
"There is always more in life than meets the eye. The delightful and unique Arthur Ransome stories from Swallows and Amazons to Great Northern? have captivated us over the years. But now we learn, thanks to this fascinating book, that there are more aspects and depths to the stories than we ever imagined. In no way does this diminish them – on the contrary. By giving us a more profound understanding of the author, the adventures and exploits of his characters take on an extra depth and dimension. These are stories for children that no adult should miss."
Virginia McKenna, OBE