I discovered this rare text at the headquarters of the Russian Wodehouse Society, that admirable body. It is a short work, and a complete send-up of Oppenheim’s series of books in which that worthy tried to stir England into vigilance and preparedness for the German/Russian/Chinese/French/Turk/Monegask menace. But especially the German menace. When reading early Oppenheim, and other turn-of-the-19th-century books like Soldiers of the Queen it becomes very clear how much people were expecting a war with Germany in the years leading up to the first world war
- Author: P.G. Wodehouse
- Title: The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England
- Published: 1909
- Publisher: Alston Rivers
But in The Swoop! England has let its vigilance lapse so badly that only the Boy Scouts are left to defend England from nine invading armies. Fortunately, this mighty secret society is prepared.
It’s a juvenile, and it was written in 1909, which means that it is very offensive in places, with its unthinking discrimination of colour and of the Welsh.
Copies of the first edition now go for about $1500. Heineman reissued a paperback fascimile in 1993, but only 400 copies were printed, according to the Dutch Wodehouse Society.