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Last edited by Harreson Lovick
January 11, 2017 | History

The chequer board 25 editions

Cover of: The chequer board by Nevil Shute
About the Book

The Chequer Board is a novel by Nevil Shute, first published in the United Kingdom in 1947 by William Heinemann Ltd. The novel deals fairly with the question of racism within the US forces during World War II and portrays black characters with great sympathy and support.

This article by: Wikipedia contributors, "The Chequer Board," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Chequer_Board&oldid=735628011

Plot summary
It is a multi-part story telling of the experience of one John (Jackie) Turner, whom the doctors have given just one year to live due to injuries sustained in a WWII plane crash. Turner decides to use his remaining time to trace the men he got to know while recovering in hospital.

The men were:
Flying Officer Phillip Morgan: the plane's British pilot.
Corporal Duggie Brent: a young British Commando, accused of murder.
Pfc Dave Lesurier: a black American serviceman, accused of attempted rape, in hospital after cutting his own throat while being pursued.

As the story unfolds, we learn that charges against Lesurier were dropped after an Army investigation and that he later returned to the English town near which he was stationed during the war. He marries the girl he was courting and becomes a draughtsman.

Brent is acquitted of murder but served six months for manslaughter after a brilliantly defended court-martial. He is later found living close to Lesurier and working as a meat vendor.

Morgan relocates to Burma and becomes a successful businessman, married into a strong local community.

Turner is contented by the thought that each man, who had helped with his recovery after the plane crash, had succeeded in making a good life in his own way. The novel ends with what will be his last visit to the medical specialist.

Underlying the novel is the Buddhist belief in reincarnation and redemption. Despite his shady past, it is indicated that Turner, through his attempts to help his fellow patients and his acceptance of his death, has moved closer to Nirvana.

Production
The book's title is taken from Stanza XLIX of Edward FitzGerald's Rubáiyát of Khayyám:
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

Shute began writing The Chequer Board in September 1945 and completed it in February 1946. The portions of the book that take place in Burma were based on his own experiences there during World War II. From the dust-jacket: "It was very difficult to feel these cultured brown girls, all speaking excellent English...were really any different from the girls at home."

He also noted during the war the "popularity of American Negroes in England and the superior quality of the Burmese people", both of which are central to the book's story.

Reception
Shute was concerned that sales of the book in the United States would be negatively impacted by the book's open-minded handling of racial issues; as it turned out, sales soared. Shute and his wife traveled the U.S. on Greyhound buses to "get in touch with the man on the street," finding the experience refreshing. Afterwards he wrote "Sincerity is the first attribute for making money in the business of writing novels."

25 editions First published in 1947

Edition Read Borrow Buy
Cover of: The chequer board
Publish date unknown, Heron Books
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The chequer board
Publish date unknown, Pan
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The Chequer board.
Publish date unknown, Book Club
The Chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board
Publish date unknown, Heron Books.
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1947, William Morrow
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1947, Watts
The chequer board.
in English - Large type ed.
Cover of: The Chequer board.
1947, Heinemann
The Chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1947, McClelland & Stewart
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board
1947, W. Morrow & Company
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1947, Heinemann Ltd, Book Society Ltd
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1948, Book Club
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1958, Heinemann
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The chequer board.
1962, Pan
The chequer board.
in English
Cover of: The Chequer board.
1964, Heinemann Educational Books
The Chequer board.
in Undetermined
Cover of: Chequer Board.
1964, Heinemann Educ.
Chequer Board.
in Undetermined
Cover of: Chequer Board
May 1969, Franklin Watts, Incorporated
Chequer Board
School & Library Binding
Cover of: Chequer Board
August 1980, David & Charles
Chequer Board
Hardcover in English - Uniform Ed edition
Cover of: THE CHEQUER BOARD
February 12, 1985, Ballantine Books
THE CHEQUER BOARD
Mass Market Paperback in English
Cover of: The chequer board
1987, Charnwood
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The Chequer Board
1989, General Paperbacks
The Chequer Board
Paperback
Cover of: The chequer board
1990, Mandarin
The chequer board
in English
Cover of: The Chequer Board
June 1997, Soundings
The Chequer Board
Audio Cassette - Unabridged edition
Cover of: The Chequer Board
January 1, 2000, House of Stratus
The Chequer Board
Paperback in English - New Ed edition
Cover of: The Chequer Board (Vintage Classics)
October 19, 2009, Vintage Classics
The Chequer Board (Vintage Classics)
Paperback
Cover of: The Chequer Board
2010, Random House Publishing Group
The Chequer Board
Electronic resource in English

History Created December 10, 2009 · 14 revisions
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January 11, 2017 Edited by Harreson Lovick Edited without comment.
January 11, 2017 Edited by Harreson Lovick Edited without comment.
January 11, 2017 Edited by Harreson Lovick Edited without comment.
November 28, 2012 Edited by AnandBot Fixed spam edits.
December 10, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page