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The Rescue Man

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  99 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
With writing that is both immediate and deeply steeped in its time, Anthony Quinn recreates wartime Liverpool.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Jonathan Cape
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Rosario (
I picked this one up purely because I loved the idea of reading a book set in my city, on the streets I walk on every day. I wasn't particularly drawn to the storyline, as described in the blurb, but that turned out to be good as well.

The book opens in 1939, with Liverpool preparing itself for war. Tom Baines, an architectural historian, has been dithering over a commission from a publisher to make a record of the city's's architecture. The knowledge that the German bombers will be coming soon s
Roger Pettit
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
The front cover of my paperback edition of 'The Rescue Man' describes the novel - in words culled from a newspaper review - as 'utterly compelling'. I wouldn't go quite that far. But it's certainly an assured and an enjoyable read. It's both a paean to pre-Second World War Liverpool and a rite of passage story in which a cool, unemotional man finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of war. Thirty-six year old historian Tom Baines is yanked away from his essentially lonely and isolated l ...more
Louise Muddle
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good read although it felt a little self conscious in its inclusion of all the architectural and historical research. But I wonder if you didn't know Liverpool and the buildings he refers to or just weren't interested in architecture if you could enjoy this book? I was less interested by the sections of Eames journal than the wartime third person narrative of Baines. I found the relevance to Liverpool now as they threaten the UNESCO heritage status with cheap and appalling architecture strikin ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Naturally, as a Scouser myself, I had to love this book! It is a fictionalised account of real people and real events but with names changed. It is mostly set during the war when Tom Baines was "the rescue man", part of a team responsible for rescuing people from bombed buildings during the blitz on Liverpool in 1940-42. But Baines was also a recorder of architectural history who, along with his friends Richard and Bella Tanqueray, had photographed many of the greatest buildings of the city just ...more
Ant Harrison
I think that this is the first full novel by Anthony Quinn. It's set in the 1930s and 40s and concerns the life of Tom Baines, student of architecture, historian, rescue worker and all round misery guts.

As with Quinn's other works, this is really well written, beautiful prose, elegant descriptions and a believable sense of time and place; but I found Baines just too morose, too much like hard work. Quinn seems to imbue his main protagonists with such a marked sense of gloom and despondency that
Eileen Thornton
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eileen by: I was sent an advance copy to review.
The Rescue Man
by Anthony Quinn

The story begins on the eve of the Second World War, when Tom Baines is trying to finish a book depicting the architecture of Liverpool. His momentum wanes a little, until he meets up with an old University professor, who informs him of the diaries of Peter Eames, a long forgotten Victorian architect. The Professor also suggests that Richard Tanqueray, a photographer, might help him to record the buildings. From then on, Tom’s life is changed forever.

I see this as
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, a little slow going at times but a very good insight into the city of Liverpool during WWII. It is also a story within a story focusing on a little remembered architect of the 1860 Peter Eames, which is fascinating.
Tom Baines an historian in Liverpool has been asked to write a book detailing the architectural past of the City and he is to include photographs of the buildings for posterity, through his work on the book he meets Richard and Bella Tanqueray which starts
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Liverpool in the 1940s, being pulverised by German bombs night after night - this is the story of the rescue men who went out nightly to pull people out of the rubble. And it is so much more - Liverpool's history in the industrial age, the story of its buildings, the architects who built them, the losses and restorations. The author has a depth of knowledge about building - and the way things fall down. Highly recommended.
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Anthony Quinn weaves together the story of Victorian architect Peter Eames and Tom Baines, one of the teams of rescuers who went into bomb blasted buildings in the Second World War to bring out the dead and injured, often at great risk to themselves.

The characters are three dimensional and The author has clearly done a lot of research into Liverpool during the 1860s and 1940s to produce an engaging plot.
Heather Donald
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I bought this book on a trip to England in 2009 and finally cracked it open a couple of months ago (2011). I thought with it being about WWII, England and architecture that it would become a favorite but I was wrong. It was slow going and I really didn't like the main character all that much. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Will I read it again? No.
Clive Lillie
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good, steady story set in wartime Liverpool, with flashbacks to the town booming in the late 19th century. Great history of classic buildings in Liverpool, alongside a decent enough tale of relationships.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Liverpool historian researching a Victorian architect is caught up in the blitz as a member of a rescue team. The two narratives run parallel, and the war is not the center. Also, having a location other than London adds to the interest.
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The descriptions of Liverpool, its history, buildings and life during the blitz are very well done. Quinn is a good writer, but he has saddled himself with an unappealing protagonist and I could not believe anyone would want to have an affair with him, which weakened the book.
Wagga Library
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved his first book, Half of the Human Race, and found this book equally good. Historical fiction, set largely in Liverpool around WWII.
Amy Heap
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved his first book, Half of the Human Race, and found this book equally good. Historical fiction, set largely in Liverpool around WWII.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this book and found it well written and exciting.
Simon newson
Introduced me to Peter Ellis little known architect of 2 avante garde buildings in 19th century Liverpool-which I will go and see. Didn't succeed at tugging at my heartstrings though it tried hard.
Jan 16, 2009 marked it as to-read
Liverpool during the Blitz
Chris Bell
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It slowly built for the first half of the book, but I could hardly put it down as it really got me involved. Great read.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What life was really like in blitz scared London and those who worked in the various services to save lives. A wonderful book, beautifully written
Debbie Cresswell
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read with the added interest of Liverpudlian architecture.
Elle Waddington
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Dec 26, 2014
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Judy Hales
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Anthony Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1964. Since 1998 he has been the film critic of the Independent. His debut novel, THE RESCUE MAN, won the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. His second novel, HALF OF THE HUMAN RACE, was released in spring 2011. THE STREETS, Anthony's newest book, is set to be published by Johnathan Cape in October 2012.
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