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The Thirty-nine Steps (Everyman's Library Children's Classics)

Press: Everyman's Library; New Ed edition (1999)
Author Name:Buchan, John


As Director of Intelligence in the Ministry of Information John Buchan was in a position to gain knowledge about the First World War and the investigations that took place. 
Richard Hannay appears in 4 novels by John Buchan (1875-1940).
He is a prominent figure in Greenmantle, Thirty-Nine Steps, Three Hostages and Mr.
This spy thriller has a fantastic plot in which a terrorist group attempts to start a war between England and Germany, and the heroic attempts of a British engineer to disrupt the plan.


It is the dimension of the mysterious that makes Buchan’s writing so unfailingly compelling. 
--John Keegan, from the introduction

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

In this classic tale of wartime espionage, Richard Hannay's living nightmare begins with the discovery of a dead man and a notebook with thirty-nine steps to uncover. 
David Robb stars as Hannay and Doctor Who’s Tom Baker plays his ally Sir Walter Bullivant, in this recording which pays homage to the classic Hitchcock film.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

John Buchan wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps while he was seriously ill at the beginning of the First World War. 
In it he introduces his most famous hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claiming to be an 'ordinary fellow', is caught up in the dramatic race against a plot to devastate the British war effort.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Buchan (1875-1940) was born in Perth, Scotland and educated at Oxford where he published five books and won several awards, including one for poetry. 
He went on to be a barrister, a member of parliament, a soldier, a publisher, a historical biographer, and - in 1935 - he became the Govenor-General of Canada.
Today he is best remembered as the author of his perennially popular adventure novels.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Frederick Davidson's voice is properly sardonic, and his supercilious British articulation is just right. 
The story's extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock's movie of the same name.
J.N (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     John Buchan’s <i>The 39 Steps</i> and its various movie adaptations were influential in developing the modern version of the “innocent man on the run with maybe a dash of...

  •     Short and entertaining

  •     I first read this book years ago and enjoyed it, so when I saw an Audible edition at just under four hours long I decided it was time to revisit this classic.

  •     This is interesting book to read, I think it could have been more telling on what the spies were lookingfor

  •     Though Americans might pull a face at some of the British expressions, the dodges and disguises keep the reader going.

  •     Great stuff! Written went Brits were Brits and we were proud to call them 'dad;!

  •     This is a World War I era spy/adventure/mystery/thriller story written as part of the British government's propaganda efforts, in which most prominent British writers were enlisted. It's full of British "good old chaps" who instantly trust and aid each other despite wild tales and incongruities. The villains, of course, are German. Amazing coincidences abound to further the story. How the Germans got most of their knowledge and perpetrated their deeds remains unexplained when the book has ended. How did they locate Scudder to kill him? How did they track and then anticipate the movements of Hannay (yes, I know they had an aeroplane, but that's not saying enough). Most of the book is a bit of a travelogue with Hannay fleeing the Germans through Scotland (Buchan was a Scot) without really knowing who they are or what they are up to. Of course the British commoners thwart the seemingly invincible German intelligence agents. Perhaps innovative when it was written, but now best read as a period piece.

  •     I saw another reviewer say this was like an endless chase scene and I have to agree. I absolutely LOVE the movie the 39 steps. It is phenomenal!

  •     Great classic story.

  •     An effortless adventure classic that spans the void between dime shocker and quality literature. The rapid elaboration of the plot, that is so well known that it has passed many images into popular conciousness, is still satisfying after many reads. Richard Hannay returned to England, after making his fortune in South Africa, is unwillingly ensnared in a tortured plot to assassinate Karolides the Greek premier and so plunge Europe into war. Scudder, an American journalist turned spy has coded information relating to the plot but is murdered in Hannay's luxurious flat before he can pass on the code. Hannay, with all fingers pointing to him as the murderer escapes by Scottish express and with Scudder's coded notebook .Decamping from the train in the Sottish lowlands ( the Forth Bridge escape from the train was created with the 1935 Hitchcock film adaptation ) he is pursued across hill and dale by the police and the enemy agents intent on seizeing the notebook. In his flight he holes up in a remote wayside inn with a literary inn keeper, who can quote Kipling. It is here that he masters the code and learns Scudder's secrets. From then on it's a race to get to London and notify the authorities. One of the brilliant scenes on the way, concerns Hannay posing as road mender to evade his pursuers. To do this, Hannay explains how you must become one with the environment you're using as a cover; one of Buchans's favourite ploys and one employed in many of his novels.Hannay exchanges pursued for pursuer and tracks the agents to their escape channel and ultimately the title of the book is explained. Every reading of this splendid and timeless novel reveals further delights that may have been missed before and even well remembered scenes take on a fresh vividness and charm. My praise may seem fulsome but after experiencing 'The Thirty Nine Steps' you too will be won over

  •     Scotsman John Buchan’s fabulous The 39 Steps is rightly considered a seminal classic in the Adventure/Spy genre and it is for good reason it was on The Guardian’s Best 100 English Novels list at #42.This exciting tale of espionage defined the man-on-the-run tale in breathless fashion, and was the first of the author’s Richard Hannay tales. What remains remarkable is the contemporary prose. Though it takes place before the first World War, offering insight into the view of what was happening at that time, the tale is timeless, and with minor changes, could easily be a thrilling espionage adventure told in our day. Books need to be judged within their context, and while most do, some don't. At least on Amazon, it has a solid four-star average after hundreds of reviews, which I feel more accurately reflects how much fun this is to read.That's not to say some of what happens isn't implausible, almost Cornell Woolrich implausible, but with a style and pace which makes Robert Ludlum seem lethargic — no easy task — the reader is having so much fun they simply don’t care. Reading The 39 Steps is fun and exciting, which is what it is supposed to be. Watching Hannay escape time after time until the thrilling confrontation and conclusion is exhilarating.Buchan writes as though using lighting bolts rather than a pen, and we’re just along for the electric-charged ride. The 39 Steps is the quintessential can’t-put-down read. That thrill you got as a youngster reading a mystery adventure by flashlight beneath the covers was captured by Buchan and moved forward into adulthood, and on that level it doesn't just succeed, it shines. It's on The Guardian's list for good reason.The book differs from Hitchcock’s famous British film adaptation in that there is no love interest for Hannay here; frankly because it isn’t needed. A rollicking good old-fashioned tale that set a bar seldom reached since. Fabulous fun and quite enjoyable when read, if you don't try to compare it with modern-day spy novels.

  •     I have no issues with this item.

  •     A classic of the spy fiction genre! Although the story-telling techniques that Buchan employs will strike most readers as predictably old fashioned (a man-on-the-run story with...


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