Arthur Ransome on Fishing by Jeremy Swift
Arthur Ransome began to fish as a boy in the Lake District, but the pursuit became almost an obsession when he lived in Russia during the First World War and reported on the Revolution and its aftermath for the Daily News and Manchester Guardian. When he returned to England with Trotsky's secretary as his wife, he settled in Lakeland and began his four-year weekly column Rod and Line for the Guardian, stopping only to write the twelve Swallows and Amazons books for children which made him famous. Although he published a few of these and other fishing essays in two books, Rod and Line and Mainly about Fishing, most of his writing and broadcasting on the subject - among the best things he did - have never appeared in book form. Michael Hordern celebrated a few of these revealing and often very funny writings for a new audience when he played Ransome in a 1970s TV series based on Rod and Line, and Ransome is still today considered an aficionado of the quiet sport. Jeremy Swift's book not only tells for the first time of Ransome's fishing adventures - in exotic places with men of history or by small English streams with unknown, eccentric fellow countrymen - it rescues many of Ransome's best fishing articles from the undeserved oblivion of the archive shelf. His book is a sheer joy.