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A WHIFF OF BURNT BOATS by Geoffrey Trease



Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1971
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Youthful, confidential, without real intimacy, an autobiographical starter (through 1939) by the British author of innumerable children's books, plays, novels, etc. Son of a wine-and-spirits merchant in Nottingham, Trease read and ""scribbled"" early on, devouring adventure stories and producing some thrillers of his own, one of which began: ""Chapter One. Crash! The captain's head struck the deck. . ."" Trease reminisces about his schools, amusingly reconstructs his first and only year at Oxford with ""musty scholarship"" interrupting social and forensic delights. Then on to a brief stint as a social worker, and finally energetic toil on Grub Street with an enterprising ""puff"" paper house -- a demanding vanity operation. Trease's first successful foray into children's literature came with the publication in 1934 of Bows Against the Barons (reprinted here in 1970) in which he intended to expose the ""Merrie England image,"" but he found himself exulting in a cape-flapping drama of derring-do with ""my hero stealing shadow-like through the bracken."" Trease reports on his Russian trip after his marriage (purportedly to collect his royalties in ""frozen rubles"") and rising fortunes. A leisurely, unweighted, but agreeable view of times and places which carry their own interest.