The S&A series books have been on the nursery bookshelves of quite a few remarkable people such as: Clare Francis, Ellen MacArthur, Philip Pullman, Paul Foot and Norman Willis. Quite a few of his famous readers have admitted that they found the books inspirational. Perhaps part of inspiration is in the way Ransome teaches his youthful readers to think for themselves and not take everything on face value regardless of the source. Character's like forceful Nancy Blackett, Captain of the Amazon Pirates, the respectable Doctor's son Tom Dudgeon, or the quiet and literary minded Dorothea Callum, manage to outwit adults and the 'authorities' by a high degree of intelligence and a certain degree of deception. Of course, this plot element is gently understated or Ransome's books would never have had the enormous sales that they enjoyed throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s, in the days when parents chose what books to buy their children. In Swallowdale the enemy is fearsome Great Aunt, Coot Club the adversaries are the Hulaballos who endanger a coot and her nest, and in Great Northern? the villain is a rich and unscrupulous egg collector.
As other posts on If Not Duffers... have shown, it is necessary to dig deep when trying to solve the mystery of the model Beckfoot and the original Amazons. Perhaps one has to dig even deeper still to understand what political lessons Ransome was trying to implant in the minds of his young readers! An excellent starting point is Ransome the Socialist, Duncan Hall's latest post in his own AR blog which coincidentally is also called Great Northern?.
Other useful resources on AR's politics -
Arthur Ransome in Revolutionary Russia - by Paul Foot
The Secret Life of Arthur Ransome - The Sharp Side blog