Hornblower & CS Forester

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Hornblower & CS Forester

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1Highlander99 First Message
Feb 7, 2007, 2:07pm

As the son of an RCN officer, I was taught to sail in the Juan de Fuca straits at the age of ten. I first read everything by Arthur ransome (Swallows and Amazons) then cut my teeth in naval historical fiction by reading everything I could find by CS Forester. Surprisingly I found out that he had written several novels on land subjects such as Rifleman Dodd and the Gun, also set during Napoleonic times. I consider R.F. Delderfield (Seven Men of Gascony, Follow the Drum) and Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe) to be his able successors wrt Napoleonic historical novels concerning the British army. Later in life I found his book The General very useful in my grad thesis on command and control in the Canadian Corps during the Great War.

2Caramellunacy
May 2, 2007, 3:23pm

I've just started Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies - my last Hornblower (as I read them in story order rather than publication order).
I'm sad that I'm getting to the end of the series. Hornblower was at times hopelessly irritating to me, but I loved reading of his naval exploits. I was wondering which of the books was everyone's favorite? The least favorite? And why?

3josiasporter
Edited: May 26, 2007, 9:28am

I have always enjoyed Lieutenant Hornblower which contains such a range of experiences: from the Renown thrashing across the Atlantic with a mad captain, to the capture of the fort at Samana Bay, to the 'mystery' over Sawyer's fate, right through to Hornblower's activities as a professional gambler.

4RainMan
Jul 12, 2007, 9:29pm

I agree about Lieutenant Hornblower. I have a special liking for Hornblower and the Atropos, since it was the first of the series that I happened to read. Flying Colours, the third part of what is often published as Captain Horatio Hornblower has a lot going for it too.

5Caramellunacy
Jul 13, 2007, 4:14am

Wait...Flying Colours was the one where he was harassing the entire Spanish/French coast, right?

If not, whichever that one was was my definite favorite! I prefer when he doesn't have time to go on and on about the burdens of leadership/failure, etc...

6RainMan
Jul 15, 2007, 4:48pm

If I remember correctly the book you're thinking of might be Ship of the Line. Ah, Wikipedia agrees with me.

All that 'Horatio' internal debate can get a little old, I guess. Forester writes about it interestingly in his Companion to his books.

One fine aspect of Jack Aubrey, Patrick O'Brian's naval hero, is his relative lack of introspection until life forces it on him.

7Caramellunacy
Jul 16, 2007, 4:34am

I'm looking for those next, but I have to wait until my massive Mt. TBR becomes a hill again...

8josiasporter
Jul 17, 2007, 8:35am

I have to say I enjoy Hornblower's moments of self analysis and self doubt. For me these are what make him such an outstanding character.

9RobertMosher
Jul 22, 2007, 7:40pm

When I began my professional career, I learned that the Hornblower books were recommended reading for management professionals because the books include an outstanding depiction of an individual's rise through an hierarchical organization. One of the themes in each book is about Hornblower's recognition and adjustment to his new position, taking on new responsibilities and a new role while recognizing what he has lost by his latest step up.

Robert A. Mosher

10DinadansFriend
Edited: Sep 10, 2013, 4:23pm

I'm with Josiasporter on the fact that Hornblower's interior dialogue is an important part of the books, and why, I think they have stayed in print. People who read, probably have an inherent bias towards the introspective hero, and that's going to show up here in LibraryThing membership. But I prefer Hornblower to Aubrey on the grounds that Hornblower's constant thinking is a large part of his charm. I might also add, that moderns reading about older forms of warfare might lose sight of the amount of time those military manouvres take. So giving the hero time to think, rather than having him re-act like a programmed animal, could well be the more accurate course.

Has anyone else read the tremendous 300-page tongue-in-cheek exercise of C. Northcote Parkinson "The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower' ? that's a hoot!