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No Highway
 
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Nevil Shute
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No Highway

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  644 ratings  ·  42 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
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Published February 29th 1988 by Chivers Audio Books (first published 1948)
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(showing 1-30 of 988)
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Jenne
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
...more
heidi
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
...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
...more
Simon
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
...more
Peter
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.
Scilla
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
Adam
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
Jim
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
Elisabeth
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
Ugh
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
...more
Tatiana
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
Ruth
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
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
Curtiss
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
...more
Al
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
Lisa
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
Jennifer
Not my favourite Nevil Shute book by far, but still a great book in that inexplicable way he has.
Natalie
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.
Penny
Theodore Honey is an aeronautical engineer being sent to Labrador from London to examine the wreckage of a new passenger plane designed by his company. His theory is that the planes are susceptible to metal fatigue after a specific amount of time in the air.
Another wonderful thriller by Nevil Shute.
In 1951 it was made into a movie starring James Stewart, Marlena Dietrich, Glynis Johns, and Jack Hawkins. Great movie.
Trish
Set shortly after WWII, No Highway is about attempts to prove or disprove the airworthiness of a new Transatlantic plane. Interesting characters - especially the eccentric scientist who also believes in the paranormal, and his daughter. If I have a criticism, it's that two of the three female characters are very 'domestic'. However, given that the book was written in 1948, that's probably understandable. Very enjoyable.
Fredrick Danysh
Theodore Honey is a shy aviation engineer. Following the crash of a passenger plane in Newfoundland, he concludes that the crash was caused by structural stress. Flying to the crash site a check of the plane's serial number reveals that the plane that he is on could have the same flaw but no one will listen. He takes drastic action to the plane from becoming another crash victim.
Shay
I read this because I heard part of it on R4 as a play. The characters are interesting, as is the basic plot. It is very dated - the attitude to the roles of men and women was archaic. It is set in the early days of passenger flight, which I found intriguing, but the way it was written was rather repetitive and irritating.
Jon
Thought this was a very dated read, had just read the end of the affair and the aerodrome prior both earlier books but timeless whereas this was stilted and his prose very mechanical. Enjoyable story but not cripping or well paced and over very quickly after such a long build up. Felt written for a movie.
Lucy Gray
good book to read on a plane trip
Kevinsn
One of my personal favourite books all-time. Anyone interested in the the post-war aviation scene in Britain and the beginning of transatlantic passenger flights will like this novel. It's by no means just a technical thriller - it contains an atypical love story.
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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...
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