Best Adventures of 1951 (10)

By: Joshua Glenn
July 14, 2016

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1951 adventure novels. Happy 65th anniversary!



Nevil Shute’s Robinsonade/spiritual adventure Round the Bend.

What a strange, wonderful story! During Tom Cutter’s boyhood, he goes to work for a barnstorming flying circus; there, he befriends Constantine “Connie” Shaklin, a half-Chinese and half-Russian British boy who takes days off to visit houses of worship — he is interested in all religions. During WWII, Cutter services airplanes in the Middle East; after the war, he develops a charter aviation service in Bahrein. The rapidly developing oil industry uses his service to link operations between the Persian Gulf, Indonesia, and Australia, and he prospers; he hires Connie as his chief engineer. Connie’s method of training engineers in the Middle and Far East combines the practical and spiritual — his syncretic spirituality emphasizes the merit of doing good work. Soon, he is regarded as a holy man… and his teachings spread along with Cutter’s business. Adventure-wise, the fun is (as is so often the case with Shute) in Cutter’s entrepreneurialism.

Fun fact: Shute considered this his finest novel.


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1951 adventures that you particularly admire.