Men at Work

Men at Work

A Preliminary Checklist of First Editions of the Books of Nevil Shute

Compiled by Henry Wessells

Marazan

“People still read Nevil Shute, but
they do not . . . write much about him”
— Julian Smith

This checklist provides identifying data for first editions published in London and New York, as well as selected additional information on editions printed in Australia with the Heinemann imprint and on American reprint editions. This information is drawn from my notes while cataloguing the J. C. Boonshaft collection; for items not seen, I have relied upon the descriptions of copies at the Lilly Library or in OCLC as noted. Each entry indicates title and pagination; title pages are not transcribed but dates not printed on the title page are enclosed in square brackets, e.g.: [1928]. The color of the binding is noted (wrappers, cloth, or boards), as well as variants seen. I have not attempted to trace all of the volumes in the Heinemann uniform edition; nor the paperbacks. Corrections and additional information gratefully received. — HWW

First published in the Newsletter of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, October 2021. With Revisions, December 2021

1.1 Marazan. 319 pp. London: Cassell, 1926. First edition. Red cloth, pictorial dust jacket.
1.2 Marazan. [viii], 256 pp. [First leaf is a blank]. London: Heinemann, 1951. First Heinemann edition, with a new preface by the author. Blue cloth. Dust jacket not seen. 

2.1 So Disdained. 312 pp. London: Cassell, [1928]. First edition. Red cloth. Dust jacket not seen.
2.2 The Mysterious Aviator. [viii], 304 pp. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1928. First American edition. Blue cloth, dust jacket.
2.3 So Disdained. [x], 233 pp. London: Heinemann, [1952]. Blue cloth. Dust jacket not seen. Uniform edition. [New edition, 1951 (not seen). Reprinted 1952 (twice)].

3.1 Lonely Road.  xii, 308 pages. London: Cassell, 1932. First edition. Black cloth, lettered in red. Not seen. OCLC: 28557522 (10 locations).
3.2 Lonely Road. [8], 302 pages. New York: William Morrow, 1932. First American edition. Tan cloth, dust jacket. Not seen. (Lilly Library). OCLC: 8002451.
3.3.a Lonely Road. xii, 239 pp. London: Heinemann, [1953]. Blue cloth. Dust jacket not seen. Uniform edition. [New edition, 1951 (not seen). Reprinted twice, 1952 (not seen)]. Reprinted 1953.

4.1 Ruined City. 281,[1] pp. London: Cassell, [1938]. First edition. Black cloth. Dust jacket not seen.
4.2.a Kindling. [4], 279 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1938. First American edition, proof issue. Wrappers from dust jacket.
4.2.b Kindling. [4], 279 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1938. Special Advance Edition. Pink wrappers printed in black, publisher letter on front. One thousand copies printed. The spine announces the release date as late May or early June 1938.
4.2.c Kindling. [4], 279 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1938. First American edition. Oatmeal cloth lettered in red, dust jacket.
4.3.a Ruined City. [iv], 269 pp. London: Heinemann, [1951]. First Heinemann edition, proof copy. Wrappers printed in red (printed on a sheet of printer’s waste, an illustration of a hound from Dog Days by K F Barker).
4.3.b Ruined City. London: Heinemann, [1951]. Blue cloth, dust jacket listing 10 titles. Heinemann uniform edition.

5.1.a What Happened to the Corbetts. 267 pp. London: Heinemann, [1939]. Proof Copy. Drab wrappers, title printed in red.
5.1.b What Happened to the Corbetts. 267 pp. London: Heinemann, [1939]. One of 1000 copies for special distribution. Printed on laid paper. Decorated boards as issued without dust jacket. Publisher’s compliments slip loosely inserted. Smith: “his British publishers distributed a thousand free copies on publication day in April, 1939, to Air Raid Precaution workers and officials.”
5.1.c What Happened to the Corbetts. 267 pp. London: Heinemann, [1939]. First edition. Cloth, dust jacket. Not seen.
5.1.d First edition, second impression. Not seen.
5.1.e What Happened to the Corbetts. 267 pp. London: Heinemann, [1943?]. First edition. Light grey cloth, dust jacket with third impression on front flap. March 1943 gift inscription.
5.2.a Ordeal. [6], 280, [1] pp. New York: William Morrow, 1939. First American edition. Blue cloth. Dust jacket not seen.
5.2.b Ordeal. [6], 280, [1] pp. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Limited, 1939. First Canadian edition, from American sheets. Navy blue cloth, dust jacket.
5.2.c Ordeal. [6], 280, [1] pp. New York: William Morrow, 1939. Book of the Month Club edition. Blue cloth, unpriced dust jacket.
5.3 What Happened to the Corbetts. London: Heinemann,[1952]. Blue cloth, dust jacket, listing 10 titles. Heinemann uniform edition. [New edition, 1951 (not seen); 1952 (reprinted twice)].

6.1 An Old Captivity. [6], 312 pp. London : William Heinemann, [1940]. First edition. Yellow cloth, map endpapers, dust jacket. Not seen. (Lilly Library).
6.2.a An Old Captivity. [4], 333 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1940. First American edition, proof issue, stamped on fly title, Publication date Feb 21 1940 Price $2.50. Wrappers from dust jacket, with priced flaps.
6.2.b An Old Captivity. [4], 333, [2] pp. New York: William Morrow, 1940. First American edition. Tan cloth stamped in blue, map endpapers. Dust jacket not seen.

7.1 Landfall. A Channel Story. 269 pages. London : William Heinemann, [1940]. First edition. Not seen.
7.2.a Landfall. A Channel Story. [iv], 284 pages. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1940. Blue green cloth lettered in blue, pictorial dust jacket (jacket not seen).

8.1 Pied Piper. [4], 283 pp. London: Heinemann, [1942]. First edition. Light brown cloth. Dust jacket not seen.
8.2.a Pied Piper. [4], 306 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1942. First American edition, proof issue, stamped on flyleaf, Publication date Jan 5 1942 Price $2.50. Wrappers from dust jacket, with priced flaps.
8.2.b Pied Piper. [4], 306 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1942. First American edition. Light blue cloth, dust jacket.
8.3.a Pied Piper. Garden City: The Sun Dial Press, [1942]. 1942 The Sun Dial Press on verso of title. Blue green cloth, spine title panel in dark blue.
8.4.a Pied Piper. New York: The Book League of America, [n.d.]. Blue cloth, spine title in gilt, dust jacket, back panel: Former Selections Still Available to Members at $1.39 Each, with list of six titles.

9.1 Pastoral. 218 pp. London: Heinemann, [1944]. First edition. Green cloth, dust jacket. Not seen. (Lilly Library).
9.2.a Pastoral. [viii], 246 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1944. First American edition. Tan cloth, dust jacket. Copy inscribed by the author to his wife, “Frances with love from Nevil September 1944”.
9.2.b Pastoral. New York: William Morrow, 1944. Book of the Month Club edition. Tan cloth, unpriced dust jacket.
9.3 Pastoral. [iv], 219, [1] pp. London [i.e., Melbourne]: Heinemann, 1945. First Australian edition. Brown cloth, dust jacket. Title page verso: Wholly set up and printed in Australia for the Oxford University Press, Leighton House, Melbourne, by the Adventure Printing Office, Marlborough House, Adelaide.

10.1 Most Secret. [iv], 275 pp. London: Heinemann, [1945]. First edition. Red cloth, map endsheets. Dust jacket not seen.
10.2.a Most Secret. 310 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1945. First American edition. Tan cloth, dust jacket.
10.2.b Second printing, 1945. Tan cloth.
10.2.c Most Secret. New York: Sun Dial Press, [1946]. Blue cloth, dust jacket
10.3 Most Secret. [iv], 275 pp. London: Heinemann, [1946]. First Australian edition. Not seen. OCLC: 223159949 (State Library of New South Wales).

11.1  Vinland the Good. 143 pp. Narrow London: Heinemann, [1946]. First edition. Black cloth, map endsheets, dust jacket.
11.2 Vinland the Good. Title page and section titles printed in purple and black. 126 pp. New York: William Morrow, [1946]. First edition. Cloth backed boards, dust jacket. 

12.1.a The Chequer Board. 317 pp. London: Heinemann, [1946]. Proof Copy. Tan wrappers, title printed in black (on printer’s waste for Come with Me by Margaret Kennedy and Basil Dean).
12.1.b The Chequer Board. [vi], 317 pp. London: Heinemann, [1947]. First edition. Dark red cloth. Dust jacket not seen (Lilly Library). Dust jacket, possible later state with Book Society Choice on front flap, price 9s6d.
12.2.a The Chequer Board. New York: William Morrow, [1946]. First American edition. Red cloth, dust jacket.
12.2.b The Chequer Board. New York: William Morrow, [1946]. Book club edition. Red cloth, unpriced dust jacket.
Note: Anderson reports that The Chequer Board “was a Literary Guild selection and eventually sold over 600,000 copies” (155).

13.1.a No Highway. [vi], 314, [1] pp. London: Heinemann, [1948]. First edition. Red cloth. Dust jacket not seen. Fourth impression dust jacket, back panel with five blurbs on the Novels of Nevil Shute.
13.2 No Highway. 346 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1948. First American edition. Grey cloth, dust jacket. Copy inscribed by the author to his wife, “Frances, with love, from Nevil, July 1948”.

14.1.a  A Town Like Alice. 332, [1] pp. London: Heinemann, [1950]. First edition. Red cloth, dust jacket. Probable priority of jackets: A. Price on inside flap. B. Book Society Choice band added. C. Book Society Choice and price 10s 6d on inside flap.
14.1.b A Town Like Alice. [vii], 332, [1] pp. Melbourne: Heinemann, [1950]. Printed at the Windmill Press, Kingswood, Surrey. First Australian edition. Red cloth. Dust jacket not seen.
14.2 The Legacy. [6], 308 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1950. First American edition. Light green cloth, dust jacket. 

15.1 Round the Bend. 362 pp. Melbourne London Toronto: Heinemann, [1951]. Cloth, map endpapers, dust jacket by Val Biro. Not seen.
15.2.a Round the Bend. [8],341 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1951. First American edition. Black cloth backed boards, map endsheets, dust jacket. Copy inscribed by the author, “For Mug(?) from Nevil May 1951”.
15.2.b Round the Bend. New York: William Morrow, 1951. Book club edition. Black cloth backed boards, map endsheets. Dot in blind on lower board.

16.1.a The Far Country. 326 pp. Melbourne London Toronto: Heinemann, [1952]. Printed at the Windmill Press, Kingswood, Surrey. First edition. Red cloth, dust jacket by Val Biro.
16.1.b The Far Country. 326 pp. Melbourne London Toronto: Heinemann, [1952]. Printed at the Windmill Press, Kingswood, Surrey. First Australian edition. Red cloth, dust jacket by Val Biro.
16.1.c The Far Country. London: Heinemann,[1953]. New edition. [vi], 239 pp. Burgundy cloth, dust jacket, back panel listing 12 numbered titles of the Uniform Edition.
16.2  The Far Country. [viii], 343 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1952. First American edition. Tan cloth, dust jacket.

17.1.a In the Wet. vi, 304, [1] pp. Melbourne London Toronto: Heinemann, [1953]. Printed at The Windmill Press, Kingswood, Surrey. Red cloth, dust jacket by Val Biro, priced 12s. 6d. net.
17.1.b In the Wet. vi, 350, [1] pp. Melbourne: Heinemann, [1953]. First Australian edition. Green cloth, pictorial dust jacket by Val Biro. Also seen in grey cloth.
17.2 In the Wet. [viii], 339 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1953. First American edition. Blue cloth titled in yellow, pictorial dust jacket.

18.1.a Slide Rule. The Autobiography of an Engineer. Frontispiece and 8 plates from photographs. [vi], 249 pp. London: Heinemann, 1954. First edition. Red cloth, dust jacket priced 18s. Reprinted 1954 (twice), 1955 (three times). Third Impression statement on jacket flap; Fourth Impression statement on jacket flap, back panel stamped Overseas Edition Not for Canada.
18.2 Slide Rule. The Autobiography of an Engineer. With 4 leaves of plates from photographs. [x], 240 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1954. First American edition. Dark grey cloth, dust jacket.

19.1.a Requiem for a Wren. 284 pp. London: Heinemann, [1955]. Proof Copy. Tan wrappers, title printed in black
19.1.b Requiem for a Wren. [8],284 pp. The first leaf is a blank. London: Heinemann, [1955]. First edition. Red cloth, dust jacket by Val Biro.
19.1.c Requiem for a Wren. 284 pp. Melbourne: Heinemann, [1955]. First Australian edition. Red cloth, dust jacket. Copy inscribed by the author to his wife, “For Frances from Nevil with love April 1955”
19.2.a The Breaking Wave. [vi], 282 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1955. First American edition. Green cloth, dust jacket.
19.2.b The Breaking Wave. New York: William Morrow, 1955. Book Club Edition. Green boards, dust jacket.

20.1.a Beyond the Black Stump. [vi], 297 pp. Melbourne London Toronto [Printed at the Windmill Press, Kingswood, Surrey]: Heinemann, [1956]. Red cloth, spine titled in gilt, dust jacket by Val Biro.
20.2.a Beyond the Black Stump. 316 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1956. First American edition. Green cloth, dust jacket.
20.3.a Beyond the Black Stump. [London:] The Book Club, [1956]. Light blue cloth, dust jacket, front flap stating This Edition Issued by the Book Club.

21.1.a On the Beach. [viii], 312 pp. London: Heinemann, [1957]. First edition. Burgundy cloth, dust jacket by John Rowland.
21.1.b On the Beach. 312 pp. Melbourne: Heinemann, [1957]. First Australian edition. Burgundy cloth, pictorial dust jacket.
21.2.a On the Beach. 320 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1957. First American edition. Grey cloth, pictorial dust jacket.

22.1.a The Rainbow and the Rose. [vi], 306 pp. London: Heinemann, [1958]. First edition. Burgundy cloth, pictorial dust jacket by Stein.
22.1.b The Rainbow and the Rose. [vi], 306 pp. London: Heinemann, [1958]. First edition, Australian issue of dust jacket. Burgundy cloth, pictorial dust jacket by Stein.
22.2.a The Rainbow and the Rose. [viii], 310 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1958. First American edition. Yellow cloth spine, blue boards, dust jacket.

23.1.a Trustee from the Toolroom. [vi], 312 pp. London: Heinemann, [1960]. First edition. Red cloth, dust jacket.
23.1.b Trustee from the Toolroom. The Book Club, [1960]. Book club edition. Grey cloth, dust jacket.
23.2.a Trustee from the Toolroom. 309 pp. New York: William Morrow, [1960]. First American edition. Black cloth backed boards, dust jacket by Charles Geer.
23.2.b Trustee from the Toolroom. Book club edition. Black cloth backed boards, dust jacket. Dot in blind on lower board.

24.1.a Stephen Morris. [xii], 273 pp. London: Heinemann, [1961]. Uncorrected Proof Copy. Pale green wrappers, title printed in black. With publisher’s compliments slip loosely inserted.
24.1.b Stephen Morris. [xii], 273 pp. London: Heinemann, [1961]. First edition. Blue cloth, dust jacket. Back flap lists 14 titles in uniform edition.
24.1.c Stephen Morris. [xii], 273 pp. London: Heinemann, [1961]. First edition, Australian issue dust jacket. Blue cloth, dust jacket.
24.2.a Stephen Morris. [xii], 273 pp. New York: William Morrow, 1961. First American edition, advance reading copy. Blue cloth backed boards, illustrated dust jacket. With publisher’s slip announcing publication date as 11 September 1961. 

25 The Seafarers. Kerhonkson, N.Y.: Paper Tiger, 2002. Written 1946, published “with minor rewrites by the Nevil Shute Foundation” (Anderson, 172). Not seen.

Stray notes on uniform editions

A. Morrow, [after 1945]. Cloth, back panel of dust jacket listing Five Beloved Novels
A.1 An Old Captivity. Beige cloth, spine titled and stamped in blue. Dust jacket in blue.
A.2 Landfall. Beige cloth, spine titled and stamped in brown. Dust jacket in brown.
A.3 Pied Piper. Not seen.
A.4 Pastoral. Not seen.
A.5 Most Secret. Not seen.

B. Heinemann, [1951 onward]. Blue cloth, dust jackets.
Marazan (see 1.2).
So Ordained (see 2.3).
Lonely Road (see 3.3.a).
Ruined City (see 4.3.a, 4.3.b). Dust jacket, listing 10 titles.
What Happened to the Corbetts (see 5.3). Dust jacket, listing 12 numbered titles:
1. Marazan
2. So Disdained
3. Lonely Road
4. Ruined City
5. What Happened to the Corbetts
6. An Old Captivity
7. Landfall
8. Pied Piper
9. Pastoral
10. Most Secret
11. The Chequer Board
12. No Highway
N.B.: Heinemann edition of Stephen Morris (see 24.1.b), dust jacket back flap lists 14 numbered titles, adding:
13. In the Wet
14. The Far Country

C. Complete Works. London: Distributed by Heron Books, [n.d., 1968-1969]. 22 vols., uniformly bound in red rexine, without dust jacket. Not seen. OCLC: 221640306 (State Library of New South Wales).

On Shute:

— Julian Smith. Nevil Shute. 166 pp. Boston: Twayne Publishers, [1976]. Red cloth. Twayne’s English Author Series 190.
— Corbin S. Carnell. “Nevil Shute”, pp. 213-217 in: British Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers, 1918-1960, edited by Darren Harris-Fain. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 255. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002.
— John Anderson. Parallel Motion A Biography of Nevil Shute. xii, 308, [1] pp. Kerhonkson, N.Y.: Paper Tiger, 2011. Boards.
— John Clute. “Nevil Shute”, in: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition. http://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/shute_nevil : “Some of his earlier fiction, by taking advantage of his intense and very up-to-date knowledge of aeronautics (and of boffins or back-room boys), verges very closely on sf.”

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Afterword

I had read some Nevil Shute: not as much as I thought. My father, an engineer, had copies of Slide Rule and Trustee from the Toolroom, which I read as a teenager, along with On the Beach and one or two others. I read Marazan and Lonely Road while working on the collection, as well as the Smith monograph and Anderson’s engaging biography. [HWW]

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