John Buchan, 1875-1940

Portrait

Biographical note

Buchan's 100 works include nearly thirty novels and seven collections of short stories, as well as biographies of Sir Walter Scott, Caesar Augustus, and Oliver Cromwell. Buchan was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography of James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, but the most famous of his books were the spy thrillers, and it is probably for these that he is now best remembered. The "last Buchan" (as Graham Greene entitled his appreciative review) was the 1941 novel Sick Heart River (American title: Mountain Meadow), in which a dying protagonist confronts in the Canadian wilderness the questions of the meaning of life. The insightful quotation "It's a great life, if you don't weaken" is famously attributed to Buchan, as is "No great cause is ever lost or won, The battle must always be renewed, And the creed must always be restated."

Works

Fiction

The "Richard Hannay" series:

The "Edward Leithen" series:

The "Dickson McCunn" trilogy:

Other works:

Short stories

Non Fiction

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