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The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower (1970)

by C. Northcote Parkinson

Series: Horatio Hornblower (Companion)

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511837,205 (3.62)5
Many know of Horatio Hornblower's exploits during the Napoleonic Wars through the novels of C.S. Forester, but how many know the true Hornblower--the man who rose from Midshipman to Admiral of the British Fleet? Using Hornblower family papers discovered in the 1970s, C. Northcote Parkinson has set the record straight in this authoritative biography.… (more)
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Excellent synthesized life of Hornblower by quite a good novelist in this Age of Fighting Sail era. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jan 18, 2020 |
If you like the Hornblower series you will probably enjoy this book. There is, of course, not a lot of new material about Hornblower. (Except in the appendices. Don't skip them!) But to fans it is very satisfying to have the whole laid out and treated as a serious life. There is also a good deal of historical background made clear that is taken for granted in the series. This book also follows the family after Hornblower's retirement.

BTW Isn't it high time I reread the series? ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Apr 29, 2012 |
Not much more really than a retelling of the Hornblower stories, although quite a bit of "filling in" is provided. I've loved every one of the Hornblower novels and was very happy to add this "biography" to my collection. ( )
  5hrdrive | Nov 5, 2009 |
My husband and I bought this book when it came out in 1971, read it, and tucked it away in a box when we moved. I've just re-discovered it, slightly battered from being stored in an outdoor shed. It's a good today as it was then. Everything, including the blurb on the cover, presents this book as a detailed biography of a real historical figure including genealogical charts of his descendants up through 1949. And if you're a Hornblower fan, like we were, you'll want to believe every word is the truth. ( )
1 vote TallyDi | May 15, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Horatio Hornblower (Companion)
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When asked in later life about his place of origin, Horatio Hornblower would mention, modestly, a village in Kent where his father had been the physician, playing a weekly game of whist with the Vicar, and where he himself as a boy would have to touch his hat to the squire.
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Many know of Horatio Hornblower's exploits during the Napoleonic Wars through the novels of C.S. Forester, but how many know the true Hornblower--the man who rose from Midshipman to Admiral of the British Fleet? Using Hornblower family papers discovered in the 1970s, C. Northcote Parkinson has set the record straight in this authoritative biography.

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From the dust jacket:
In twelve books over nearly thirty years, C. S. Forester chronicled the adventures of Horatio Hornblower, one of the greatest seamen in the history of the British Empire. Mr. Forester's death, however, left many gaps in the Admiral's career still to be elucidated.

What luck, then, that C. Northcote Parkinson, author of "Parkinson's Law" and an accomplished naval historian himself, should have uncovered in a London solicitor's attic two dusty deedboxes containing original Hornblower papers, "a haphazard collection, grouped neither by chronology or subject, but nevertheless a mine of information to which Mr. Forester never had access."

With these new findings, Dr. Parkinson has written a complete, full-length biography of the famous military hero, "something which Mr. Forester, lacking this material, would never have dared attempt." It is now finally possible to cover with a continuous narrative the whole of the Admiral's epic career, beginning with his little-known family and boyhood years and continuing through his death in 1857.
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