Slide Rule: The Autobiography of an Engineer by Nevil Shute available soon at the lustrous BookLovers of Bath web site!
Melbourne, London & Toronto: William Heinemann, 1954, Hardback in dust wrapper.
3rd impression. [First Edition: 1954] Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs;
From the cover: Nevil Shute was a power and a pioneer in the world of flying long before he began to write the stories that made him one of this countrys most popular novelists.
Incidentally, if he had never learned so much about flying, his novels could not have had quite the same attraction. For flying is the very breath of life in most of them. No Highway could only have been written by a man steeped in aeronautics, who was also an artist and a thinker with a turn of prophetic genius. Flying also provides the very bones and sinews of Round the Bend, and where would A Town Like Alice and his latest best-seller In the Wet be without flying?
In these pages there is the true story of his flying life. It is not Nevil Shute the storyteller who writes, but Nevil Shute the engineer, the planner, the man of business and affairs. Nevertheless, he has his dreams, though in these pages he is working them out in terms of new ideas in aircraft construction.
His story of the construction of the airship R100, compared with that of the ill-fated R101, soon develops into an exciting and important page of the history of the conquest of the air. He tells of the difficulties which had to be overcome before the R100 took the air, of the hazards of her trials and of her conquest of the Atlantic. She triumphantly flew the 3,300 miles in seventy-eight hours, diving into a terrible storm near Montreal; the return journey was performed more peacefully in fifty-seven and a half hours.
He writes very frankly of the R100. After twenty-five years , he says, it should be possible to write candidly in the interests of history. He certainly does so!
This was the end of airship construction. Nevil Shute, then thirty-one years of age, turned his energies to launching a new enterprise for the manufacture of special types of aircraft, Airspeed Ltd. The company was launched on the promise of an order of two aircraft! Naturally it ran into financial difficulties at every turn. But Nevil Shute grappled with each situation with the courage and resource of some leading character out of one of his own novels. When he left the company it was beginning to pay.
Slide Rule is a friendly, straight-forward narrative, devoid of all unnecessary airs and graces. It is as if Nevil Shute, puffing at his pipe, is talking to the reader seated at his side and telling him frankly everything that happened running his slide rule over it all.
Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with heavier tanning to the spine. Edges of the text block lightly spotted, more heavily to the top edge. Pages lightly age-tanned.
Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 249 pages. 8¾” x 5¾”.