The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome
I filled a pipe, lit it, and, typewriter in hand set out towards the trenches of the Russians. I puffed pretty hard at my pipe, burning my tongue but producing lots of smoke. Nobody, I reasoned, was going to shoot at a man walking slowly across and obviously enjoying his tobacco.
Arthur Ransome’s decade-long involvement with Russia, during and after the First World War and Russian Revolutions, saw him play chess with Lenin, marry Trotsky’s secretary, help Estonia gain independence and attract the attention of both MI5 and MI6.
These Russian adventures form the central part of Ransome’s fascinating memoirs. But they are equally unmissable for his vivid recollections of his late-Victorian childhood, his love for the Lake District, his Edwardian literary apprenticeship in Bohemian London, his passions for sailing and fishing, and for many other unexpected stepping-stones on his enthralling journey to Swallows and Amazons and its eleven sequels, the classic novels by which he remains best known today.
First published in 1976, Arthur Ransome’s auto-biography is edited by Arthur Ransome’s close friend and literary executor, Sir Rupert Hart-Davis.
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