Best 1952 Adventures (1)

By: Joshua Glenn
June 18, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1952 adventure novels. Happy 65th anniversary!

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Hammond Innes’s Robinsonade/frontier adventure Campbell’s Kingdom.

This is one of Innes’s better adventures; perhaps I enjoy it so much because it is particularly Buchan-esque. Like Buchan’s 1941 yarn Sick Heart River, Campbell’s Kingdom concerns a British man who — having been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a year to live — lights out for the Canadian northwest, seeking meaningful work and a place where he feels that he truly belongs. Bruce Wetheral, dying of cancer, inherits his grandfather’s land in the Canadian Rockies. His grandfather believed there were vast oil reserves there; the oil was never discovered, and the family’s name was disgraced. Was he a con man? Declining an offer for the land — which will be flooded once a proposed dam is constructed — Wetheral makes his way to “Campbell’s Kingdom” and decides to drill for oil. There’s action, romance, harsh weather, and guerrilla tactics agalore; Innes’s research into the drilling business lends verisimilitude.

Fun fact: The novel was a bestseller. It was adopted as a forgettable 1957 British adventure film starring Dirk Bogarde.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1952 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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