John Buchan
Andrew Lownie

John Buchan

Forever associated with the classic thriller The Thirty-nine Steps, John Buchan wrote over a hundred books, including a series of 'shockers', children's books, biographies, tales of the supernatural and what many regard as the finest history ever written of the Great War. A man of formidable energy, he also had a distinguished career in public life. He ran the Ministry of Information during the First World War, and after eight years as a Conservative MP he ended his career as Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada. Andrew Lownie draws on private papers not used before, painting a compelling picture of Buchan's life and a panoramic view of British political, social and literary circles during the first half of the twentieth century.

Book Details:

  • Author: Andrew Lownie
  • Published Year: 1995
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Random House
    • US: David Godine
    • Canada: McArthur & Co

Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie was born in 1961 and was educated in Britain and America. He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union. He went on to gain an MSc at Edinburgh University and spend a year at the College of Law in London. After a period as a bookseller and journalist, he began his publishing career as the graduate trainee at Hodder & Stoughton. In 1985 became an agent at John Farquharson, now part of Curtis Brown, and the following year became the then youngest director in British publishing when he was appointed a director. Since 1984 he has written...
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Book Reviews

  • "This exemplary biography, full of new insights and fresh documents unearthed and published for the first time, makes fascinating reading."
    Scotsman
  • "Andrew Lownie offers a solid and convincing portrait of a complex man and controls the innumerable aspects of Buchan's life in an exemplary manner."
    Times Literary Supplement
  • "Admirably readable, this book will be invaluable to those who are now encountering Buchan's work for the first time. Lownie's lucid account of Buchan's life redefines the man as infinitely more complex than he thought he was."
    John Sutherland, Sunday Times
  • "Trumpets should now sound for Buchan; and I will sound one of my own for Andrew Lownie, who has brought this most extraordinary man to life in a way no previous writer has."
    Patrick Cosgrove, Independent
  • "…an affectionate, admirably well-researched study from an intelligent biographer. Well worth reading."
    Daily Mail
  • "The best biography yet of the creator of Richard Hannay and The Thirty-Nine Steps. It shows Buchan to be the complex and rewarding figure his fans have always known him to be."
    The Express on Sunday
  • "Lownie’s thoroughgoing, sympathetic biography broadens the view on one of the century’s great popular novelists."
    The Daily Telegraph
  • "Lively and brilliantly researched new biography of one of Scotland’s most enduringly popular writers…Buchan’s was nevertheless an impressive life, and Lownie tells it with sympathy and style."
    The Scotsman
  • "…meticulously researched and mounts a persuasive case for reassessing Buchan"
    Sunday Times
  • "It is hard to imagine how this deft portrait of the bantamweight politician and still highly readable thriller writer could be bettered…As Lownie’s excellent literary criticism suggests, Buchan’s paradoxical nature underlies the evergreen potency of his novels."
    Independent
  • "This exemplary biography draws on private papers not used until now to give a most convincing portrait of a complex character as well as lucid and detailed criticism of Buchan’s literary oeuvre."
    Sunday Telegraph
  • "…this biography (rightly acclaimed on its first publication in 1995) will help restore a much-underrated author - and historic figure - to his rightful status."
    Scotsman
  • "Andrew Lownie’s widely researched biography of this fascinating, complex and enigmatic figure has to be the definitive work. Lownie is admirably objective in his approach to Buchan and perceptive on the springs of his character."
    Sarah Bradford, The Tablet
  • "Andrew Lownie’s excellent biography attempts to restore a sense of balance and complexity to the inscrutable Scot."
    Time Out
  • "…a compelling picture of the author’s life, and a wide view of British political, social and literary circles during the first half of the 20th century."
    Scots Magazine
  • "In his thorough and lucid biography, Andrew Lownie, a Scottish journalist and editor of several collections of Buchan’s stories and poetry, sympathetically evokes this ‘highly complex and private man who may not always himself have understood his own motivations and abilities.’"
    New York Times
  • "…the full sweep of this remarkable man's career is well told by Andrew Lownie in John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier."
    Washington Times