Scottish writer and politician. His popular adventure stories, today sometimes criticized for their alleged snobbery, sexism, and anti-Semitism, include The Thirty-Nine Steps, a tale of espionage published in 1915, Greenmantle (1916), and The Three Hostages (1924).
He was Conservative member of Parliament for the Scottish universities 1927–35, and governor general of Canada 1935–40. He also wrote historical and biographical works, literary criticism, and poetry. He was created baron in 1935.
Buchan was born in Perth and educated at Glasgow and Oxford. He became a barrister in 1901. During World War I he served on the headquarters staff from 1916 to 1917 and in 1917 became director of information. He travelled extensively, in 1937 making a journey of some 16,000 km/10,000 mi into the Arctic Circle and British Columbia.
His writings cover the fields of history, travel, government, and religion, but his best-known works are his novels of adventure and diplomatic intrigue, much influenced by Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. He also wrote lives of historical and literary figures, including Walter Raleigh (1911), Julius Caesar (1932), Walter Scott (1932), and Oliver Cromwell (1934). His Collected Poems was published in 1996.
Thirty-Nine Steps, The
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