An exciting new package for an 80,000-copy bestseller. In Robert Westall's critically acclaimed novel, a courageous black cat journeys through war-torn England searching for her beloved master. A moving and stirring novel.--School Library Journal.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.
Robert Westall was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England in 1929.
His first published book The Machine Gunners (1975) which won him the Carnegie Medal is set in World War Two when a group of children living on Tyneside retrieve a machine-gun from a crashed German aircraft. He won the Carnegie Medal again in 1981 for The Scarecrows, the first writer to win it twice. He won the Smarties Prize in 1989 for Blitzcat and the Guardian Award in 1990 for The Kingdom by the Sea. Robert Westall's books have been published in 21 different countries and in 18 different languages, including Braille.
Lord Gort is an ordinary cat: she has no magic powers and rarely does anything more than what other cats can do. When her master leaves home to fight the Germans in World War II, Lord Gort sets out to track him down. A lonely volunteer in the Observer Corps has befriended the black cat, a maverick sergeant, an old carter, and a young war widow in her travels. Adopted by the rear gunner of a bomber plane, Lord Gort flies on numerous missions over enemy territory. After many successful flights, the fearless feline's luck runs out; she and the rear gunner forcing to bail out over occupied France. With the help of the Spanish and French resistance movements, the man and the cat return to England, where Lord Gort has reunited with her master. Each of these glimpses of men and women in wartime is as perfect as a pearl; Lord Gort's journey is the single black thread on which the precious beads had strung.
I love books that make me feel nostalgic and this book did just that! I thought it was absolutely fascinating that the protragonist was a cat and the cat lead you through all the different emotions that came with world war II, intergrating them in little personal stories as the cat brings luck and a small amount of hope to each individual she stays with. I found it especially touching when she brought a war widow back to life by forcing her to regain control of her life using her poorly kitten to influence the woman's actions. I loved that such a small creature brought this woman such happiness and she was able to move on with her life. All in all this is one of the best books I've read this year.
Is this really a kids' book?? At every installment I was crying. I think perhaps a case of an adult finding things more hard-hitting and upsetting where a kid might cope better, and/or be able to ride it at a less wrenching level of adventure. Maybe not. In any case, what an exploration. A trip through a diverse sampling of experiences in WWII (all based on true events). The cat is a narrative device like Huck and Jim on the raft: the vehicle one rides to connect all these stories, look through all these doors. Does not glorify or romanticize, captures above all the unifying feeling, regardless of one's level of involvement or closeness to action, of living in the shadow.
This is a very well-conceived and well-written novel of the time in England at the start of WWII. It centers around a cat who is trying to get home to his master and the experiences she encounters in the process. It clearly shows life during wartime, the horrors and the ways people coped. It seems very realistic, too much so for my taste. I should reveal here how much I despise war. One of the things that lessened the pleasure of this novel for me is that the author put me right in the thick of the war, especially in the realm of fighter pilots bombing and fighting it out with each other. For some reason I did not expect so much of this in this brief novel.
The parts I enjoyed the most were where the author depicted the daily lives of the people who were not directly fighting in the war, especially the women waiting for their husbands and lovers to return. And I did like the way he used the cat (or cats, actually, as the "protagonist" has kittens and also gains a female companion along the way). He injects personality in the main creature without resorting to excessive, Disneyesque anthropomorphizing. He also uses the cat effectively as a good luck charm for the men flying their sorties and was good at revealing the emotions and fears of the men.
I am not one for war stories. I read this because I thought it would have been more about life during the war, which I am much more drawn to. However, he did do a really good job of writing a different and effective war story.
What an extraordinary book! It is much more than a wonderful book about a pet, it is an historical (although partially fictional) novel about second world war in which a cat with a sixth sense to "follow" her "person" ends up traveling most of her life and mysteriously bringing luck and salvation to all those who cross her path. Is it because she has a sixth sense that enables her to somehow "flare" danger? Or are black cats really lucky? A marvelous book, breathtaking and intense and extremely well written! I had read it many years ago and now I loved it even more! Absolutely a good-read!!!!!
ابتدای داستان چندان جذبام نکرد. اما ادامه دادم و جالب بود که کشش داستان در ادامه بیشتر شد. در این رمان همراه با سفر لرد گرت به دنبال صاحباش در میانهی جنگ، نویسنده ابعاد مختلف جنگ جهانی را به ما نشان میدهد.
انتظارم را برآورده نکرد، منتظر بودم گربه قصه بگوید و حرف بزند و جنگ، انسانها و دنیا را از زاویه خودش به خواننده نشان دهد ولی این اتفاق نیفتاد. . نویسنده با یک دانای کل سر و ته قضیه را هم آورده بود و ضعف قصهگویی خود را با این کار برطرف کرده بود و از زمین و زمان نوشته بود. یک نمونه ایرانی خوانده بودم که به مراتب از این کتاب بهتر و موفقتر بود.
I have wanted to read this book for ages, so when I saw this copy on the table at my local Book fair last week I knew it was meant to be. I'd been toying with buying it on Kindle but never committed, so now I get it for the low price of only $1
I liked the gritty reality of this book. The cat starves and is hurt, and war rages on around it. The human characters were great too, each in their own way. Honestly though, I would have preferred to feel more for the cat's own master rather than more for every other character. Still, the cat must go home and we are on the journey with her until the end.
A much older book than I realized, since my copy says it won the Smartie Award in 1989. I quite often read animals at war stories, but most of them have been more modern. I really liked this, especially for it's age. I liked the connected stories, and the real emotion. I'm glad I've finally read it, five stars!
هم گربه داشته باشه هم جنگ جهانی دوم و من نخونمش؟؟؟ لردگرت گربه سیاهی که دنبال صاحبش که به جنگ رفته میره و هر جا میره خوش شانسی میاره. همونجور که توی مقدمه نوشته زیاد شنیدم که وقتی گربه ای رو جا میذاری قبل از خودت به خونه رسیده اما اینکه گربه ای صاحبش رو که ممکنه هر جایی باشه، حس کنه و دنبالش بره رو اولین باری بود که میشنیدم. یه چیز جالبی که بعد از خوندن این کتاب فهمیدم این بود که گربه ها برای بچه هاشون دایه دارن و این باعث شد بیشتر به این موجودات مغرور و خاص افتخار کنم😀 و یه نکته فرعی دیگه کتاب هم آشنایی با هواپیماهای جنگی اون زمان بود. در مجموع کتاب معمولی اما شیرینی بود.
انتظارم بیش از اینها بود. مترجم، دو کار قبل از این برگردانده بود که هردو خواندنی بود. داستانْ معمولی بود. نه فراز آنچنانی و نه فرود آنچنانی. داستان گربهای که صاحبش از او دور است و گربه، از خانه بیرون میرود تا به دنبال صاحبش بگردد. دو قصهٔ موازی. یکی قصهٔ این گربه و دیگری قصههایی از ارگان نیروی هوایی سلطنتی بریتانیا در جنگ جهانی دوم.
Emotional novel where a black cat - bringing luck as in the English tradition, to the contrary of the Italian belief! - looking for her former "person" (i.e. "master, if ever a cat can have a master!) meander through England in the middle of WWII. Helping all those she met, aircraft of bombers included - following pilots also in France and Portugal. Ending on the lapof her beloved person. Consoling - and instructing!
Imagine setting Lassie come Home, or Homeward Bound the incredible Journey in England during World War II. Now imagine a cat with some sort of superior homing instinct. Something the author refers to as Psi-trailing. That's the basis of this novel, as a female black cat named Lord Gort uses her superior tracking abilities to find "home" and her "human" after being evacuated to the countryside because of German air raids. Along the way Lord Gort will make new friends and have many adventures, becoming a "good luck" charm for her new friends and using her superior hearing and sense of smell to warn others of dangers. It was a good combination, having the perspective change between the cat, Lord Gort; and the many humans she befriends along her journey. I loved the positive effect Gort was having on many of the humans. Imagine a black cat being "good luck"?
Robert Westall’s novel Blitzcat has remained one of my favorite books about WWII, and I enjoy each rereading. It is the story of a female black cat named Lord Gort* who travels across England during the war in 1940-41 in search of her special owner and of the people she meets along the way. It is based on the phenomenon of psi-trailing. This is the ability of animals to find their way back to their owners, even over thousands of miles when they have become separated from one another for some reason.
Lord Gort and her family have moved from Dover, Kent to Beaminister, Dorset because her owner Geoff Wensley, a pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF), has been transferred there but is now flying missions in France. But Lord Gort hates her strange new living situation and she instinctively knows that her special person is far away in the west and she decides to find him: “Somewhere ahead, there was endless happiness again. And she knew how to get there.” (page 8)
On her journey to happiness, Lord Gort has many experiences. Her instincts help warn a lonely, disabled plane spotter in the Observer Corps when an enemy air attack comes. Later, she finds herself at a train station where she stays because the trainloads of soldiers returning from the evacuation of Dunkirk, believing black cats are lucky, feed her well for the chance to rub her back: “’Christ, look, a bloody black cat. That’s the first bit o’ luck I’ve seen since Abbeville…’ And suddenly they were reaching out, stepping on to the platform to touch the lucky black cat. “(Page 31)
But when the trainloads of soldiers stop after 4 June, Lord Gort ends up on a trainload of soldiers heading for Dover. Back in Dover, she senses that her real person is now far away towards the east (He has indeed been transferred.) Nevertheless, she stays there a while in the billet of a Sergeant, and again her instincts warn of an air attack. Eventually, she and the Sergeant get separated in Crewe, Cheshire while traveling to Scotland and the cat begins another journey back to Dover. On the way, she has a litter of kittens on a farm outside Coventry, where she witnesses the devastating bombing of Coventry on 14 November 1940.
When it is time for her to move on, one of her kittens follows. During a bitter cold snowstorm, they wind up in the barn of a suicidal woman whose husband has been killed in the war. Leaving her kitten with the woman, she resumes her search in the spring. En route, Lord Gort unknowingly get too close to a UXB, which goes off, causing her to temporarily lose her sense of smell, sight and hearing. Getting all but her hearing back, she continues on and lands at an RAF base, where she becomes a companion of a lonely rear-gunner named Tommy. Because of her deafness, she is able to fly many successful missions with him. The pilots believe she is good luck until she refuses to fly a plane, which crashes on takeoff. After that, they turn on her and try to get rid of her. She manages to sneak on a plane headed for Germany, but she and Tommy end up parachuting out of it over France. They eventually make it back to England, and Lord Gort continues her journey, making one more stop at the home of a NSPCA worker, where she has another litter of kittens. One day, she senses her real owner is near, towards the south-west in the direction of Dorset and she sets off again on a last journey.
This is only a bare-bones outline of Lord Gort’s adventures, and there is so much more to each person’s story, including that of her real owner and his family, giving the reader a well rounded picture of life during the war. Westall manages to successfully convey the sense of fear, loss and pathos war brings to people, as well as the tenacity and strength the people of Britain must have had in order to endure and carry on.
To his credit, Westall never wavers from keeping Lord Gort a cat that acts on her instincts and senses, and does not endow her with human qualities or abilities. It is one of the things that make Lord Gort so endearing. But this is definitely a YA novel because descriptions within the story can be a little raw at times, but it is definitely worth a read.
*Lord Gort (her owner thought she was a male kitten) was named for the real Lord John Gort, who was the Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Forces that ultimately ended up being evacuated from Dunkirk just before the fall of France.
This book won the 1989 Smarties Book Prize for the age 9-11 years category. I'm a little surprised; though the language is easy enough for this age group, the content can be a bit tough for primary school children, and there are a couple of adult points of view which may be slightly inappropriate for little ones. I would prefer to offer such content to the 12-14 years group, and I think it especially suitable for those whose whose reading age is lower but who are self-conscious about reading "childish" books. The language is easy to understand without giving the sense of being dumbed down, the storyline is strong and the scenery and action change often enough for it not to get boring for reluctant readers. A lot of scope for class and book club discussions. Recommended for reluctant early or even later teen readers.
2021 52 Book Challenge 43) A character with a pet cat
I read this book when I was in school and I loved it so much that I reread it three or four times straight after each other. Reading it again now, eight years later, I still love it as much as I did then.
This book is about what home is, and love, and hope and courage, as shown by a cat searching for her human during the Blitz and the people she encounters along the way. It's just an incredible book.
A beautiful and tragic story about a black cat whom is considered back in the WW2 times to bring good luck. This cat is no ordinary cat, however. She goes through so many things. You see things from her eyes whilst during World War 2. She visits many towns, goes through many owners and people who take care of her along the way. She endures bombs, raids, gun shells, temporary blindness and deafness. She becomes a mother, she saves people, places, other animals, hunts and is an awesome and seemingly magical cat. She brings good luck to all who meet her.
This story may make you look at your cat in a different light. It brought me a great appreciation to the feline species and a birds-eye view into their lives, in how they might think and feel. This is a unique storyline, set in a unique time frame. I couldn't get enough of this little gem. Wonderful book.
I rarely bother with 'children's books'. Regardless, this caught my eye, and though it's a very easy read, it's a surprisingly good one. Blitzcat moves through the narrative like an amoral compass. The war may rage, but she is Cat, and above such things. She brings luck - imagined or otherwise - on those she lives with. But she has her own goal, entirely apart from puny hoomans. I enjoyed it. I intend to lend it to my Mom (yes, some English people do call their mothers 'Mom'. Depends where you live). There is not much higher praise than that.
I really don't know why it took me so long to get round to reading this book, but I wish now that I'd done it sooner. A classic children's story of wartime England, a small black cat and the many lives she touches on her journey to find her owner. I know I said this was a children's story but it's one of those books that should be read be every one, at times it brought a tear to my eye, I loved it.
I think I read this as a kid, and wasn't too keen on it then. Re-reading it now was such a bore, and it really dragged towards the end. It's a shame, because the concept for the book is appealing, but it just suffers from not enough dialogue, and no interesting characters (apart from the cat). I think I'll re-read The Machine Gunners (which I enjoyed as a kid), and I just hope that has stood the test of time.
This was an interesting account of WWII through the eyes of a cat. I enjoyed it but didn't love it. And if you are a parent I would definitely say this is more for the "older" young adult that is really interested in the time period. It was a bit dark and rather graphic at times.
In the book Blitzcat by Robert Westall, the main message is that home is wherever you are with the ones that you love and that there really is no place like home. Blitzcat takes place in England during the Blitz. The Blitz was when Germany attacked England through bombing them from 1940-1941. This story is told through Lord Gort who is a cat so therefore cannot talk so acts as a narrator. When Lord Gort's special person leaves to fight the Germans, Lord Gort uses psi trailing, a sense cats have which allows them to be able to track something down from hundreds of miles away, to find her special person. On her journey, she meets many new very interesting people like a lonely disabled plane spotter that works with the Observer Corps and many soldiers that see her and praise her because they thought that she would bring them good luck in there battles. Lord Gort's dangerous journey will take her all over England to find her special person. To make her journey even harder she has to go directly through Germany's brutal attacks. I enjoyed how Blitzcat described Germany's relentless attacks on England as shown as "Stuka dive-bombers that had blasted their way through the newsreels from Spain to Poland, Holland, Belgium and France. Hitler's terror-bird that turned armies into fleeing rabble". This book helped me realize even more about how deadly Hitler's armies were and how many terrible things they did to the places that they attacked. I have read many books about what Hitler did to the Jews, but I didn't realize that they did other things that were equally as bad to other places. They took the Jews out of there German/areas around Germany homes and took them to concentration camps to kill them because they didn't want to use there bullets on killing the Jews, but while all of that was going on, the Nazis were bombing the rest of Europe. I though that this book was a very creative and fun way to tell the stories of what happened during the Blitz. I would recommend this to any friend.
I started reading this with my son in May (I think), taking turns: he read a page, then I read a page. Now that I finished it--alone--I realize that in every way, it's way ahead of him. Westall is categorized as a YA author, but this book needs to be read by someone who knows an awful lot about the events around WWII in England. Probably not too many teens have that knowledge. I can see it being used as a literature component in a history class, though.
Anyway. The story follows Lord Gort, a cat whose owner has been sent over to the Continent in the early months of the war, before Dunkirk. The cat can sense her owner's location, and spends most of the book trying to find him. Along the way, she is cared for, and brings good fortune to, many people. "Good fortune" isn't really the right word, just that she's sort of a talisman for postivism instead of all the awfulness of war.
In spite of being a minor WWII buff, I don't know that much about the war years in England (beyond the Land Girls movement), so this was a surprisingly educational book. The cat spends some of her time in Coventry, and I won't spoil the effect she has on that city's tragedy, but it is moving.
I finished this just before going to England. At both York and Lincoln, chapels have been created to honor the veterans and servicemen killed in the RAF and USAAC bombing raids that began in that area. I was reminded over and over while in the U.K. of this book. And it was all just happy accident that I was reading it the day we left. I almost want to read it again now that we're home so that I can pay closer attention.
This feline odyssey is set in war-ravaged England starting after the evecuation of Dunkirk and continues for a year afterwards, Blitzcat is an extraordinary adventure story of heroism and stoicism, of compassion and brutality. Lord Gort is a female black cat (considerd lucky by servicemen) who travels around England seeking her beloved soldier master. (psi-trailing)
This plucky heroine will tug at your heart as World War II causes her to lose several of her legendary-allotted nine lives--with modesty and little fuss. She accepts all manner of major disasters and minor set- backs calmly, inspiring the various humans whose lives she shares to break the barriers of the limited existence. The touch of this gentle black cat changes lives for the better, by putting her temporary owners in touch with their inner selves--making them more human and caring.
Her peregrinations take her to Dover's mined beaches and Coventry's bombed old town; she endures war first hand by an open UXB pit and aboard a bomber. She endures sensory deprivation and travels internationally, always searching one or the other of her soldier masters. She keeps faith with her kittens and paradoxically the dream of her first hearth. Lord Gort is enchanting--capable of bringing out the best in her people, and helping them in their own physical and moral survival. A Must-Read for all c at lovers, this insightful tale both educates and charms the reader.