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No Highway

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  734 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Theodore Honey is a shy, inconspicuous engineer whose eccentric interests are frowned upon in aviation circles. When a passenger plane crashes in Newfoundland under unexplained circumstances, Honey is determined to prove his unorthodox theory about what went wrong to his superiors, before more lives are lost. But while flying to the crash scene to investigate, Honey discov ...more
ebook, 300 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1948)
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Oh Nevil Shute, how are you so fascinating?
His books are always about these sort of greyish people who eventually triumph in the end because of their deep-down decency and competence.
There's usually a whole lot of technical details about airplanes.
And just when you're really getting into it, you get slapped in the face by attitudes of half a century ago.
And despite all this, they are addictive as all hell.

In this one, there's a genius engineer named Mr. Honey (not kidding) who is also a crackp
Oh, Nevil Shute. I do so adore your unabashed authorial self-insertion. I haven't read all Nevil Shute, or even the majority, but the ones I have read, I have strong opinions about.

In this one, Shute is himself twice, both in the narrator (a young manager at an aeronautics company) and the main character, a weedy, pathetic, but brilliant "boffin".

The novel opens with the young manager, Scott, talking about his job managing a bunch of brilliant but mildly eccentric scientists at a safety facilit
Because I have an interest in things aviation I was drawn towards this story, which at its heart deals with the serious issue of metal fatigue in aircraft. This story is really a parallel of the real-world when the deHavilland Comet (England's first jet passenger aircraft following WW2) which promised so much, experienced a string of disastrous metal fatigue problems with the airframe of the Comet and more than 100 lives were lost through these disasters. The main characters in this story are ba ...more
Stephen Hayes
It's interesting to re-read a book after a long time, and see whether your opinion of it has changed. I first read [authoer:Aldous Huxley]'s Brave New World when I was about 17, and found it very exciting and stimulating. I re-read it when I was 57, and after 40 years found it rather flat and dull. I've just finished reading No Highway after a gap of about 60 years, and found it as good as when I first read it.

It was interesting to see what I remembered and what I had forgotten. I was about 13
Another classic, chosen randomly off a high bookshelf late on Saturday night. I hadn't thought that I had read No Highway before and I was after a fresh read but I must have read it once many many moons ago as the sequence in the cockpit at Gander was familiar. I couldn't remember anything from the story at all and so thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

No Highway is part-romance, part-thriller and part-scientific whodunnit, all aspects that are skillfully woven together. As I have commented before, I
This is a weird one. Fundamentally, there's a good yarn here but it is clothed in some very old-fashioned views about gender; about social status and about families. It made for slightly uncomfortable reading, even though I have lived through the era in which is was set and I therefore understand how things were then and how times have changed.
I would not therefore recommend the book very strongly.
This is a great book! Dennis Scott has taken charge of the Structural department of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, where research is done on aircraft. His wife, Shirley taught music and drawing at the local school, and became interested in a student, Elspeth Honey, whose father worked for Dennis. Scott looks into Honey's research which involved fatigue in the tailplane of the Reindeer, a plane Britain was using for its transAtlantic flights. His calculations predicted the tailplane would fail ...more
I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's a curious mixture of the gripping and the absolutely mundane. The gripping part involves a search by a bunch of engineers to prove that the tail wing of a new passenger plane contains a latent design flaw (which admittedly doesn't sound that gripping, but in Nevil Shute's hands becomes so) while the mundane part concerns pretty much everything else, specifically a horrendous domestic drama involving a cast of insipid female characters straight out of a Cholmo ...more
Nevil Shute can sure write a nice book. Rhe first part was really engrossing. The story does taper off a bit in the last half, but it's still enjoyable.

The story's a little old-fashioned, with a certain amount of talk about how a woman's life is more complete when she's a wife and/or mother. Ignore that, and remember the book is a product of its time. Notice how much GOODNESS there is among the characters of the book. Doing the right thing is really important for a couple of the characters, and
Loved it, contains everything from (slightly dubious) science and engineering to pseudoscience and superstitions. Brilliant read.
Andrew McClarnon
I found myself carrying this book around with me, so it certainly wins the stars for being a compelling read. Shute's tale here aims to knit together an appreciation for the pioneering work of aeronautical research scientists (who work in a field where there is no highway, just unexplored terrain), with a touch of workplace politics, some airborne adventure, a dash of suspense and a touching - though rather 'domestic' love story. Even better is the insight it gives into the 1940s, constrained by ...more
Dennis Scott is manager of an office of engineers working on various aeronautical concerns. One of these men, Theodore Honey, is investigating fatigue failure in the tail portion of the Reindeer - a fleet of British Trans-Atlantic planes. It is his belief that the tail will show evidence of fatigue failure at 1440 hours of service. Getting others to believe him is difficult. If only they had concrete evidence. Then they receive word of a crash in Canada attributed to pilot error but the plane h ...more
To continue with a sailing analogy, I know the reading doldrums when I hit them. And I was right in them, desperate for a breeze. I could have gone for Le Carre, but I need a decent book for holiday, and he could supply it. What I was looking for was a novel with plot, characters and a level of intelligence, and that's difficult to find these days. So hark back to the past. Greene I'd already tried, so who else? Who wrote The Caine Mutiny? I couldn't remember. James Clavel? Sorry, the gripping h ...more
No Highway builds an absorbing, suspenseful story around the unlikely basis of scientific research—which takes on a much stronger immediacy when it casts doubt on the safety of an airplane. The trouble is, the theory suggesting the aircraft are unsafe comes from Theodore Honey, an untidy, eccentric scientist whom few take seriously. One of his superiors, the book's narrator Dennis Scott, believes he may be right, but convincing higher officials poses a difficult problem. When Honey is sent to Ca ...more
I loved the premise of this - enough to overcome my initial balking at the rather hideous font. It's the 40s. A new model of plane has crashed, with the investigation finding that it was pilot error. But one lone - unfortunately quite possibly crackpot - scientist thinks that a structural instability with its origins in nuclear theory may have been at fault, and there are more of these planes in the skies...

And the premise gets even more gripping about 70 pages in (I won't spoil it for you). But
I'd forgotten how good this one was. My favorite scene was the meeting when all the proper British types let fly at one another over the matter of the possibility of fatigue fractures in the tailplane of the fictional Reindeer aircraft. It reminded me of many a contentious meeting I've seen while working to put new machinery into commission in mills and plants around the world. I was very proud of our narrator for standing by his employee Mr. Honey even when he did something so crazy as lifting ...more
This book was published in 1948 and the title was taken from the poem "The Wanderer" by John Masefield. The poem is quoted at the start of the book - Therefore, go forth, companion: when you find/No Highway more, no track, all being blind, /The way to go shall glimmer in the mind." Written in the first person, the plot revolves around the development of modern aeroplanes and the author's background as one of the pioneers of aircraft design certainly provides the details and the seemingly realist ...more
Theodore Honey, a shy, nervous widower with a young daughter, is totally wrapped up in his research on metal fatigue in airplanes at a Royal Aircraft establishment in England. A new line of planes called “Reindeer” has begun commercial trans-Atlantic flights, and one has crashed in Labrador. Honey’s research suggests that other Reindeers will suffer the same fate after a certain number of hours of flight time. When he is sent to Labrador to examine the wreckage, Honey discovers that the Reindee ...more
Lawrence Doggett, Jr.
I've always been a fan of Mr. Shute's "On The Beach", but never actually read any of his other works until now. I picked up "No Highway" from the library on a whim, and was almost convinced I wouldn't like it before I even started. Once I got a page or two into the book, I truly feared my previous dread had been well founded. I am delighted to report that a few pages later I found myself laughing and becoming enthralled with the characters. This is one of the best books I've read lately. Mr. Shu ...more
Novel about the crisis faced in commercial aviation with the discovery of metal fatigue. Made into a jolly-good movie starring Jimmy Stewart Marlena Deitrich, and Glynnis Johns.

The hero is an eccentric scientist/engineer researching vibration-induced metal fatigue using the tail assembly from one of the latest model jet airliners, which happen to be currently in-service. When one of them crashes after flying approximately the same number of hours he predicted for spar failure, he is sent to inv
Another good yarn spun by Nevil Shute. Here, his narrator is a middle manager in Britain's post WW II government air safety bureaucracy who discovers, almost by accident, that a popular aircraft in wide use for international flights may have a fatal structural flaw which threatens every one of the many planes in use. He sets out, with virtually no evidence, to persuade the reluctant government, airline and aircraft manufacturer that the planes must be grounded before disaster strikes. As always ...more
Ann Godridge
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Dead John Williams
An interesting little story about an aircraft designer who is convinced that a particular plane will crash on a particular date and his journey to stop that from happening.

Another British novel that has undertones of class and expectations. A good read.
Not the proto-disaster I expected. A tribute to psuedoscience couched within a supposed tribute to science, with patronizing views towards women which should be left undisturbed in the wreckage. Okay but not spectacular.
Rike Carmack

I love Nevil Shute's work, most of all because so many of his characters actually have a job, and their jobs are so large a part of their lives. No other author that I can think of writes so convincingly about the way in which ordinary people with ordinary jobs are, in their own way, so extraordinary while going about the business of doing that jobs.

Cops, spies, detectives, etc. do not count as ordinary because their jobs are not ordinary in the sense I am using. I guess being a pilot is not an
In 1985-86 I read my way through every Nevil Shute I could get my hands on!
Sybil Powell
I love Nevil Shutes books, he is a master at telling convincing tales his approach to love interest is always clean, pure and fasinating. Mr Honey is the most unlikely hero who attracts a film star and an airline hostess even though he has little to offer them and yet in this book it is all very believeable. Set in a research establishment at Farnborough, Mr Honey is the boffin who through the best of intentions is engulfed in the fury of the leaders of the aircraft industry. The story is told b ...more
Not my favourite Nevil Shute book by far, but still a great book in that inexplicable way he has.
Couldn't put this book down, found dozens of excuses to dip into it throughout the couple days I was reading it. I didn't enjoy it as much as nevil shute's trustee from the toolroom which had a tighter structure and more enjoyable characters, but some characters and scenes of Highway will likely stick with me for a long while!
Peg Lotvin
Loved this book. Nevil Shute is one of the world's great storytellers. Many have to do with WWII, England, Australia,or the Far East. This one uncharacteristically was set in Canada and England. The writing is from an earlier time when authors were maybe just emerging from the Victorian Era, but keep a lot of the classes of society, the place of women, and what makes a man a man in their work. It might all be frowned upon in modern literature but in Shute's work, it's charming.
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Nevil Shute Norway was a popular British novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer.

He used Nevil Shute as his pen name, and his full name in his engineering career, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.

He lived in Australia for the ten years before his death.
More about Nevil Shute...
A Town Like Alice On the Beach Trustee from the Toolroom Pied Piper The Far Country

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