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Prester John de John Buchan
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Prester John (original: 1910; edição: 1950)

de John Buchan

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511835,702 (3.53)26
Three young truants from a church meeting on Sunday make their way to a seashore hideaway, where they observe a huge black man muttering incantations and performing weird rites. When the man discovers the children, he chases them with a knife. In defense, Davy Crawfurd flings a rock at him, and they narrowly escape. Years later, young David Crawfurd goes to South Africa to make his fortune and is caught in the very heart of a great native uprising. Under strange circumstances, he comes face-to-face with its leader, only to recognize the strange blazing eyes of the black man he had encountered as a child on the beach. How David makes his fortune more quickly and more perilously than he had expected is told in this thrilling tale of adventure.… (mais)
Membro:bigship
Título:Prester John
Autores:John Buchan
Informação:Pan (1950), Mass Market Paperback
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Prester John de John Buchan (1910)

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i read this in my early teens, which I think was the right time -- I can still visualize it on the shelf in the Bowling Green Junior High School library, and I own the same edition I read there. It involves an young Englishman who gets caught up in an African rebellion against British colonial rule led by a mission-educated African who ultimately dies to protect the boy, if I recall rightly. Nowadays, it would probably be considered racist. since Buchan clearly thought British rule was better than independence for the Africans, and the "happy" ending includes setting up a vocational school so the African will learn more ":useful" trades. However, when I was young I just enjoyed it as an adventure on the level of Allen Quartermain. IT may have been based on a real rebellion that was led by a religiously educated African during World War 1. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 25, 2016 |
Six-word review: Well-crafted but dated adventure yarn.

Extended review:

Despite my convictions about not judging older literature by today's standards, I find that a century of social change imposes a heavy moral burden on this work. Colonialism and racism in South Africa are impossible to overlook in this action tale involving a Zulu rebellion, Boer settlers, British troops, treasure, revenge, loss, and heroism.

The main character is a young Scottish man who sets out to be an ordinary storekeeper in a remote outpost of South Africa. His interactions with a charismatic Zulu leader and several treacherous gem traders lead to a quest fraught with violence and daring escape. It's exactly the sort of story that might have been made into a luridly colorful B movie in the 1950s (and maybe it was, I don't know).

It held my attention like a well-made comic book--pardon me, graphic novel--and afforded some absorbing escapism. But a part of my mind could not let go of 21st-century sensibilities, and for that reason my enjoyment was alloyed with discomfort and collective guilt. I tried to look at it as a mirror of social history, even if it's also an improbable thriller of time and place, and learn something from it. ( )
3 vote Meredy | Apr 24, 2016 |
A classic ripping yarn. Like all Buchan, well-turned, with occasional lyrical and memorable descriptions of the natural world. And as always Buchan proves surprisingly generous towards the antagonist, and willing to endow the adversary with real grandeur and nobility.

That said (and as other reviewers have commented), native self-governance is assumed by the protagonist (and everyone) as a non-starter, and while flat-out racism does not abound, it gets very close, very often. I found it stunning on the re-read.

It is easy for me to say that it's a great yarn and one can enjoy it by abstracting from the views a man like Buchan would inevitably have in 1910. And to a degree, I think that's true. But I'm not sure it's an argument I'd feel comfortable making to a Botsawanan 13 year old who picked it up looking for an escapist. ( )
1 vote ben_a | Oct 2, 2012 |
This novel doesn't hold up as well as his Greenmantle or The 39 Steps. It seemed very dated and his British Colonial biases were very evident. The African Black native is there to be taken care of and exploited by the white man. According to the hero, they will never be able to manage their resources without the assistance of the white colonial masters.
The story covers the exploits of a 19 year old David Crawfurd sent to the Traansvaal to manage a company store that is not doing well. He becomes involved with a charismatic Black leader is planning a revolution to force the white exploiters out. Through efforts almost to extraordinary to believe, he foils the revolution and becomes very rich by finding the gold and diamonds that were to fund the revolution. Other than being too long, the narrative does move along and is very entertaining during the chase scenes. This is definitely not one of Buchan's better efforts. ( )
  lamour | Sep 8, 2012 |
As fine a yarn of adventure as can be expected when Buchan is the storyteller.
Action, dialogue (scottish, africaan) and a keen grasp on facts (political, geographical, engineering, the art of climbing etc. etc. which is never idly put in for lecture or showmanship or simply to flesh out the story) firmly set the pace and mood of adventure. Buchan keeps the reader wanting to follow his yarn as well as Scott or Stevenson could have done.
"The White Man´s Burden" has (thankfully) become politically incorrect - when read literally - that is.
Buchan is at some level trapped to his time´s political correctedness where whole cultures could be diagnosed and labelled as far as treats go. But when Buchan writes "We (who have the "gift of responsibility" i.e.) will rule wherever there are dark men who live only for the day and their own bellies", the importance of his agenda is not the color of the skin. It still holds water that the color of our common future is dark if men (whatever their color of skin) lack responsibility for society and do not have the will or ability to look beyond their own time and bellies.

It is wonderful to read an uncomplicated story from time to time, where belief in the difference of right and wrong still lives, even better still since both villain and hero comes across neither black nor white, but rather greyish. It is medicine against the crumpling of all values and standards. Why is it that political correctness so easily become the kind of value relativism that functions as a shield for pure individual opportunism? ( )
1 vote Mikalina | Feb 17, 2012 |
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Three young truants from a church meeting on Sunday make their way to a seashore hideaway, where they observe a huge black man muttering incantations and performing weird rites. When the man discovers the children, he chases them with a knife. In defense, Davy Crawfurd flings a rock at him, and they narrowly escape. Years later, young David Crawfurd goes to South Africa to make his fortune and is caught in the very heart of a great native uprising. Under strange circumstances, he comes face-to-face with its leader, only to recognize the strange blazing eyes of the black man he had encountered as a child on the beach. How David makes his fortune more quickly and more perilously than he had expected is told in this thrilling tale of adventure.

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