‘There’s more than a touch of irony about the title of Arthur Ransome’s We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. The book came about precisely because that’s just what he had intended to do,’
Generations of children and their parents have delighted in Arthur Ransome’s series of twelve ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books, but one of them stands out from the rest as being of a different order altogether. We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea is both larger of theme and tighter of plot; it is a rite-of-passage tale quite unlike the others, and in describing the experiences of its protagonist John it illuminates much of Ransome’s own psychology.
Good Little Ship is a blend of literary criticism, maritime history and sheer celebration. Peter Willis combines an analysis of a classic of maritime literature (“a book of which Conrad would have been proud” – Hugh Brogan) with the story of the Nancy Blackett, Ransome’s own boat which appears as the Goblin in his story. He describes her life, near-death and restoration, and her renaissance as an ambassador for Ransome and his tales.
ISBN 978-1-907206-42-9; 216 x 156mm, 218pp + 8pp colour photographs; mono photos, map, drawings. Softcover with sewn binding, cover flaps and matt lamination.
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