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Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute (January 17, 1899 - January 12, 1960) (real name Nevil Shute Norway) was one of the most popular novelists of the mid-20th century.

Shute's works are generally adventure novels told in a low-key but engrossing style, often with an emphasis on technical areas. No Highway[?] (1948), for example, builds drama around structure failure in an airplane design. Several of his novels also have a supernatural element, notably Round the Bend[?] (1951), which concerns a new religion growing up around an airplane mechanic.

Shut's best-known book is On the Beach (1957), which is set in a world slowly dying from the effects of an atomic war.

Born in London, Shute served in World War I and became an aviator. An engineer as well as a pilot, he was involved with the development of the airship, and after the failure of such lighter-than-air craft, in 1931 founded founded Airspeed Ltd., a airplane construction company.

In 1931 he married Francis Mary Heaton. They had two daughters.

By the outbreak of World War II Shute was already a rising novelist. He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a sub-lieutenant in the Miscellaneous Weapons Department, where he experimented with secret weapons, a job that appealed to the engineer in him. His celebrity as a writer caused him the Ministry of Information to send him to the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, and later to Burma as a correspondent.

After World War II, he went to live in Australia, decrying what he saw as a decline in his home country. Australia features in many of his later novels, the best-known being A Town Like Alice[?] (1949).

Many of his books were filmed, including The Pied Piper[?] (1942) and No Highway (filmed as "No Highway in the Sky").

Although considered by some to be rather dated, his works still enjoy great popularity.


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