Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons Series #1)

Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons Series #1)

by Arthur Ransome

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780879235734
Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/28/2010
Series: Swallows and Amazons Series , #1
Pages: 351
Sales rank: 60,538
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Arthur Ransome (1884-1967) was the author of more than thirty books for children. Born in Leeds in 1884, he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays, many of which became the settings for his children’s stories. Swallows and Amazons, the first of the series of the same name, is regarded as a timeless classic of children’s literature.

Table of Contents

I The Peak in Darien 15

II Making Ready 25

III The Voyage to the Island 35

IV The Hidden Harbour 47

V First Night on the Island 58

VI Island Life 68

VII More Island Life 81

VIII Skull and Crossbones 91

IX The Arrow with the Green Feather 104

X The Parley 113

XI In Alliance 123

XII Leading Lights 136

XIII The Charcoal-Burners 143

XIV The Letter from Captain Flint 157

XV Captain John Visits Captain Flint 168

XVI The Birthday Party 178

XVII A Fair Wind 188

XVIII Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday 199

XIX The Amazon River 209

XX Titty Alone 219

XXI Swallows in the Dark 231

XXII The White Flag 246

XXIII Taking Breath 259

XXIV Grave News from Houseboat Bay 273

XXV Captain Flint Gets. The Black Spot 285

XXVI He Makes Peace and Declares War 289

XXVII The Battle in Houseboat Bay 305

XXVIII The Treasure on Cormorant Island 323

XXIX Two Sorts of Fish 334

XXX The Storm 348

XXXI The Sailors' Return 360

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher


"A most enjoyable tale… A book for almost any age."—New York Times Book Review

"A master storyteller, sympathetically in touch with real children and their interests, has created plots which are eminently plausible and unexpected."—Sunday Times, in an article listing Swallows & Amazons among the "99 Best Books for Children"

"A ‘white-knuckle-ride action adventure' that could capture the imagination of the Harry Potter generation."—The Guardian

Customer Reviews

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Swallows and Amazons 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is the first book in a series of 12. It is a group of British school children named John, Susan, Roger, and Titty, having all sorts on their boat, the Swallow. Once on the boat, they refer to everything in a different way. The people on shore are natives, large fish are sharks, and unidentified sailors are pirates. They come across a grouch that lives in a house boat and call him the lead pirate after they see one cannon on his deck. They later meet the Amazon pirates, who are two girls, Nancy and Peggy, who say that the Pirate is their uncle, whom they all Captain Flint. The Swallows set up a base camp on Wild Cat Island in the middle of the lake, while the Amazons use their boat house on the River Amazon. The real conflict starts when John is falsely accused of burgling Captain Flint's houseboat. The Swallows and Amazons decide to declare war on the house boat and form a fleet out of their two ships. To determine the admiral of the fleet, they will have war games, where the side to capture the other's boat wins. Titty proceeds to capture the Amazons' boat and John becomes admiral. Towards the end of break, they declare war on the houseboat, and proceed to take it over. They then make Captain Flint Walk the plank, and afterwards, he apologizes to John and he tells him that some thieves took his trunk, containing his autobiography. The group then goes to find the trunk and Captain Flint becomes an ally of the Swallows and Amazons. This is an old classic that is a great read for an avid reader or a young adult needing something to read. Reviewed by Timothy P. Corder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the best book,realy good worth buying
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's hard to explain what makes this book so charming: The writing, the way the children and their relationships with each other are shown so clearly and believably, the REALISTIC adventures they have, the sense of place....but listing those traits doesn't do the book justice. It's also really funny in places! Ransome creates a world that is clearer and lighter and more enchanting than the one most of us live in -- but he's also written a realistic book. The Lake District DOES look the way he describes it, and there could be children like the Swallows and their friends the Amazon pirates. Thank you David Godine for republishing this series and doing such a beautiful job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this a while back and I loved it! I always wanted a boat like the kids have, and to go exploring.
Homeschoolbookreview on LibraryThing 24 days ago
What did kids do to amuse and entertain themselves before television, video games, computers, and smart phones? They played outside and used their imagination. That¿s exactly what Captain John Walker, his sister Mate Susan, their sister Able-seaman Titty, and brother the Boy Roger do. Their father, probably in the Royal Navy, is on a ship at Malta but under orders for Hong-King, so for their summer vacation their mother has rented a cottage on a farm at Holly Howe located next to a huge lake. They also have a baby sister, Vicky, who is taken care of by a nurse. The children have been taught how to sail, and they have use of the farm¿s sailboat, the Swallow. While out on the lake, they find an island where they receive permission to camp. During the course of their adventure, they meet up with the Blacketts, Captain Nancy (real name Ruth) and sister Mate Peggy, who have their own pirate sailboat, the Amazon, along with the girls¿ uncle James Taylor who lives on a houseboat near the island and becomes ¿Captain Flint¿ to the children. The Swallows and the Amazons declare war on each other with victory going to the side who can take the others¿ ship, then together they declare war on Captain Flint. Who will win? How will a burglary at Captain Flint¿s houseboat affect their relationship? And what will they do when a huge storm comes up over Wild Cat Island? The book had its beginning long before when as a child author Arthur Mitchell Ransome, with his brother and sisters, spent most of their holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston and played on the nearby lake, but it was further inspired by a summer in which Ransome taught the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. In fact, three of the Altounyan children's names are adopted directly for the Walker family. Swallows and Amazons, a paean to children¿s make-believe play and exploring their surrounding world, is a very pleasant story that involves the great outdoors, boats, fishing, and camping, with rich characterization, vivid descriptions, wholesome reading, and old-fashioned ideals. It includes a good deal of everyday Lakeland life in the early twentieth century, from the local farmers to charcoal burners working in the woods. Seldom have I ever come to the end of a book and felt sorry that it was over. If you read it and reach the same conclusion, you¿re in luck! Ransome wrote eleven more books in the ¿Swallows and Amazons Forever¿ series: Swallowdale (1931); Peter Duck (1932); Winter Holiday (1933); Coot Club (1934); Pigeon Post (1936); We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea (1937); Secret Water (1939); The Big Six (1940); Missee Lee (1941); The Picts And The Martyrs: or Not Welcome At All (1943); and Great Northern? (1947). A thirteenth book, Coots in the North, was left incomplete at the time of Ransome's 1967 death and published in an unfinished form in 1988 with some other short works. In subsequent adventures in the series, the children progressively grow older, change their usual roles, and become explorers or miners.
vastard on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This was one of my favorite books as a child, and returning to it as an adult has been a true pleasure. Every time I read Swallows and Amazons, I feel a child's excitement for exploration and adventure. The story is compelling and the characters are lovable.
debnance on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Gee. I've had this on my shelf for over two years! I finally got to it this summer. It started slowly for me. At first I didn't think I would like it. Gradually, as I read more and more, I began to love these kids. Camping on their own deserted island. Cooking their own foods. Fishing. Battling "pirates". Do kids these days still do things like this? I'm especially curious about whether kids would like this book.All I know is that I did. Don't give up on it too soon. It's a book that reminds you of the power of the imagination. I can only hope that kids all over the world are still being Swallows and Amazons.
jkepler on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Mom read this aloud to us ages ago, and I guess I was hooked after that. Ransome told beautiful tales of children, boats, and the English country-side.
Clurb on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A sturdy, old-fashioned story about a group of children who spend a holiday adventuring on an island and uncovering the mystery of a shady character they spot on the water one day. This is good, honest, back-to-basics adventure writing and it has stood the test of time wonderfully well.
markbstephenson on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This started a twelve book series. The first of the series I was able to find was Winter Holiday which I think is better. But they are all good, healthy stories with lots of affectionate character development, vivid but concise nature description, charming humor which occasionally becomes hilarious and real adventure complete with danger, action, well timed climax and triumphant resolution. A real pleasure to read and reread. I found myself reading and now own all 12.
PLloggerC on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is full of the kind of good old-fashion fun that I used to have as a kid. The children in this book are left alone a lot to entertain themselves with their friends, thier imagination and a few props here and there. The parents in the story trust their children to go out and have some fun, while expecting that they are mature enough and responisible enough to have some tame, safe adventrues on thier own. The children in this story know how to sail and have sailbots and a lake at their disposal for a summer of fun and adventure. I like the fact that in this story the children actually play with and get along with their siblings.--Something that many people just kind of assume won't happen anymore. I like the fact that these children are seen as capable people.
Marensr on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I discovered SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS as a child of twelve and was thoroughly delighted. I cannot imagine why this classic series has not achieved the same status in the United States. This first volume in the series follows the children of the Swallow family as they summer in the English lake country. The story charts their adventures as they sail, camp, discover nature around them interact with each other and two girls from a houseboat (the Amazons). It is a lovely wistful book that evokes the grandeur of childhood games in nature. In the background of the story is a faint hint of the World War (the Swallows¿ father is in the Navy) but the sense that the children are being sheltered from adult concerns but that only heightens the loveliness of their childhood lives.Budding anglophile children who love the English details of the Harry Potter books or the Narnia Chronicles should love the depiction of these children. (Although there is no magic in Ransome¿s series of books other than the ordinary magic of childhood.) It would also be an excellent choice for children who love nature or are learning to sail. The illustrations are charming and in some of the books the boats are quite detailed.
SandDune on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Written in 1930 this is the story of the adventures of a family of children while on holiday in the Lake District, sailing and camping alone on an uninhabited island in the Lake District. They're given permission to go by their father's telegram 'Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers won't drown' which I don't think would pass muster with health and safety today. It's one of those idyllic summers of childhood, where the weather is hot every day and the only bad weather is a storm dramatic enough to be interesting, totally unlike the normal cold damp British summer. This was a book that I remembered enjoying from my own childhood - I have a vague memory of wanting my mother to make tents in the same way as the mother in the book so I could go camping in the garden. It does stand up to the test of time reasonably well - the girls as well as the boys play an active role - but I think that to enjoy it fully at least a passing interest in boats is needed. Especially in the first couple of chapters it does introduce a lot of nautical jargon. I did have an interest in boats as a child and went sailing occaisonally, but I'm sure I wouldn't have had a clue about sentences like 'Is there a cleat under the thwart where the mast is stepped' - and I still don't.One thing that the book does really well is to explore the imaginative life of children, taking the everyday world around them and turning it into something much more exciting and exotic. And the appeal for the children of having their very own island really rings true - perhaps another reason why the book appeals to me as I've had a fascination for islands ever since childhood.
Booksrme on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Read first in Summer of 1944 while ill in bed. Was totally immersed in it.Have never enjoyed any book more.
jakea on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book is named after two sailboats, Swallow and Amazon. Captain John, Mate Susan, Able Seaman Titty, and Ship's Boy Roger get to stay on an unhabited island. You have to read it for yourself! Because it is the best. Jake, age 9
LibraryLou on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is one of the best series of children's books ever written. I devoured them all as a child, and can reread them over and over agian. I really wanted to be allowed to camp on my own island, and was always daydreaming about having adventures.
xoxabbiexox on LibraryThing 5 months ago
a brilliant story about 3 kids that go sailing i loved it and hope you will to if you decided to spend the time to read it some bits i didnt understand and didnt like .
judyecoughlin on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I first read the Arthur Ransome books when I lived in Manila at about the age of 10. My family had also lived in London. The independence of the children in their adventures was greatly appealing, although adults certainly play important roles. My own children didn't like them much--too British, and too old-fashioned. Swallows and Amazons takes place between WWI and WWII in the Lakes District; the 4 children in the story, their baby sister, and their mother are having a holiday while their father is at sea. The wonderful descriptions of sailing, the pictures and diagrams, made me passionately interested in small boats, though even now I've never learned to sail. As an adult, I'm fascinated at the depiction of life in this period. No television--all adventures were strictly home made. In this farm district, milk was picked up daily from a dairy farm, all food was unprocessed and usually cooked over a campfire. All the books take place during various holidays, and the childrens' school lives are very much in the background, except for the "holiday tasks" that they struggle with.
jedisluzer on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I love all of Ransome. Sailing, camping, adventure, pirates... I will read them to my children.
pouleroulante on LibraryThing 6 months ago
having adventures independent of adults, this was quite groundbreaking at the time. Ripping yarns with no moralising.I adore this series and totally identified with the children, learnt semaphore, made maps, went exploring etc etc, hence Cumbria is the landscape of my childhood. Had I actually lived in Cumbria I'd have gone feral and quite possibly fallen into an old copper mine.Wasn't as impressed by the improbable Missee Lee, or Peter Duck. LOVED Winter Holiday, Swallowdale, Pigeon Post, Picts and Martyrs...etc etc!Timeless joy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From a time when children were allowed to have real adventures and imagination played such a big part in our lives. Brings back memories of my exploring lakes and bays by boat although I never had such a grand time as these children. Swallows and Amazons forever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!!!!!
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
What did kids do to amuse and entertain themselves before television, video games, computers, and smart phones? They played outside and used their imagination. That’s exactly what Captain John Walker, his sister Mate Susan, their sister Able-seaman Titty, and brother the Boy Roger do. Their father, probably in the Royal Navy, is on a ship at Malta but under orders for Hong-King, so for their summer vacation their mother has rented a cottage on a farm at Holly Howe located next to a huge lake. They also have a baby sister, Vicky, who is taken care of by a nurse. The children have been taught how to sail, and they have use of the farm’s sailboat, the Swallow. While out on the lake, they find an island where they receive permission to camp. During the course of their adventure, they meet up with the Blacketts, Captain Nancy (real name Ruth) and sister Mate Peggy, who have their own pirate sailboat, the Amazon, along with the girls’ uncle James Taylor who lives on a houseboat near the island and becomes “Captain Flint” to the children. The Swallows and the Amazons declare war on each other with victory going to the side who can take the others’ ship, then together they declare war on Captain Flint. Who will win? How will a burglary at Captain Flint’s houseboat affect their relationship? And what will they do when a huge storm comes up over Wild Cat Island? The book had its beginning long before when as a child author Arthur Mitchell Ransome, with his brother and sisters, spent most of their holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston and played on the nearby lake, but it was further inspired by a summer in which Ransome taught the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. In fact, three of the Altounyan children's names are adopted directly for the Walker family. Swallows and Amazons, a paean to children’s make-believe play and exploring their surrounding world, is a very pleasant story that involves the great outdoors, boats, fishing, and camping, with rich characterization, vivid descriptions, wholesome reading, and old-fashioned ideals. It includes a good deal of everyday Lakeland life in the early twentieth century, from the local farmers to charcoal burners working in the woods. Seldom have I ever come to the end of a book and felt sorry that it was over. If you read it and reach the same conclusion, you’re in luck! Ransome wrote eleven more books in the “Swallows and Amazons Forever” series: Swallowdale (1931); Peter Duck (1932); Winter Holiday (1933); Coot Club (1934); Pigeon Post (1936); We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea (1937); Secret Water (1939); The Big Six (1940); Missee Lee (1941); The Picts And The Martyrs: or Not Welcome At All (1943); and Great Northern? (1947). A thirteenth book, Coots in the North, was left incomplete at the time of Ransome's 1967 death and published in an unfinished form in 1988 with some other short works. In subsequent adventures in the series, the children progressively grow older, change their usual roles, and become explorers or miners.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago