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Captain Horatio Hornblower Mass Market Paperback – 1950


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Mass Market Paperback, 1950
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st Printing edition (1950)
  • ASIN: B002IJBK64
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,528,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
83%
4 star
17%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
The interplay of the characters is excellent.
Margaret Andrews
The great success of these stories led Forester to write a number of Hornblower prequels and sequels, all of which are still read widely.
Bill Mac
The whole Hornblower series is brilliant and I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys good rattling yarns.
ddosanjh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Bill Mac on May 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Captain Horatio Hornblower is a collection of three short novels originally published in 1937 and 1938 as "Beat To Quarters", "Ship of the Line" and "Flying Colours". All are set during the Napoleonic wars roughly between 1807 and 1811. The great success of these stories led Forester to write a number of Hornblower prequels and sequels, all of which are still read widely. It also spawned a long list of successors, some of which are excellent although none fully measure up to Forester in my opinion.
Beat To Quarters introduces Hornblower taking HMS Lydia into the Pacific Ocean to insight a rebellion against the Spanish. The story takes a number of twists including Hornblower finding his ally is a madman, a change in the political situation and the introduction of Lady Barbara Wellesley, the fictional sister of the Duke of Wellington.
Ship of the Line finds Hornblower commanding HMS Sutherland for a cruise in the Mediterranean. Hornblower not only must face the French but he must deal with a superior officer who would like to see him fail.
Flying Colours begins where Ship of the Line ends. Hornblower is a prisoner in France and must find a way to escape.
I thought that I knew these stories fairly well having seen the 1951 film Captain Horatio Hornblower staring Gregory Peck. However the novel is quite different in several areas. Perhaps what surprised me the most was the level of violence, sex and swearing that was included in the novel. I hadn't expected the violence to be as graphic, the sex to be as obvious or the swearing to be present at all. The novel has a gritty realism that was not matched in the genre until the 70s.
Captain Horatio Hornblower was written when Forester was in his thirties and before he had thoroughly polished his craft.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Andrews on December 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I can't believe that there are not more reviews here for these books, since they are among the best popular novels ever written. I first read them in my dim and far away past, lead to them by my love of historical novels. I believe these three were written in the late 1930s while England was under the shadow of the Nazi march to dominance. Naturally tales of the war against Napoleon would resonate, but the books have lasted because of the quality of the plotting and the characters. Forester excelled at setting up unsolvable problems for Hornblower with clever solutions that keep suspense high and satisfy the intellectual needs of the reader. The interplay of the characters is excellent. When I was reading these books, my father told me that some of the stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, and that he remembered people talking about them all over town. These are great books if you like history and a good plot. I doubt they will ever go completely out of fashion. (Note: These books are much better than the video series about Hornblower. While interesting, that series has some laughable period details and has elevated Hornblower to almost superhuman status. It's the Hollywood version. Compare that to the production value and details in the movie Master and Commander and you will see what I mean.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to the entire series of Hornblower books in 1972. I read them in order of hornblowers rank, Midshipman thru Admiral. They were all great, but the one I remember the most was Captain Horatio Hornblower. It began when he was Captain of H.M.S.LYDIA and ended when Hornblower, Lt.Bush and Coxswain Brown escaped back to England in H.M.S.WITCH OF ENDOR (they re captured this vessel from the French). It all began when the LIDIA captured the Spanish ship of the line Natividad on a dark night off the coast of South America only to discover later that England and Spain signed a peace treaty. Hornblower had to seek out the Natividad (which he had given to el Supremo) and sink or recapture it. He later met and fell in love with Lady Barbara Wellesly (the sister of the Duke of Wellington). Upon his return to England he was assigned a ship of the line the Sutherland. Once you begin reading this series of books you are compelled to read them all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book back in 1975. I read the entire series (in order), and couldn't wait to get my hands on the next one. It took tremendous fortitude not to read one in hand while searching for the next in line. C. S. Forrester also wrote a book named "The Captan from Conneticutt" which is equally good reading fun. Five stars??? I think not!!! I rate the entire series of Hornblower books seven stars!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ddosanjh on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book and definately one of the best Hornblower books ever. All the ingredients for a great adventure story. Exotic locations, a mad dictator, romance, hardship, friendhsip and the big ship to ship dual with the Natividad is one of the best action scenes I've ever read (and I read a lot of Action/Adventure).
The whole Hornblower series is brilliant and I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys good rattling yarns.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Some may say Hamlet or Moby Dick, I say Captain Horatio Hornblower is the best book ever written.
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More About the Author

C. S. Forester (1899-1966) wrote several novels with military and naval themes, including The African Queen, The Barbary Pirates, The General, The Good Shepherd, The Gun, The Last Nine Days of the "Bismarck," and Rifleman Dodd. But Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, a British naval genius of the Napoleonic era, whose exploits and adventures on the high seas Forester chronicled in a series of eleven acclaimed historical novels. Over the years Hornblower has proved to be one of the most beloved and enduring fictional heroes in English literature, his popularity rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes.

Born Cecil Louis Troughton Smith in Cairo, Egypt, Forester grew up in London. At the start of World War II he traveled on behalf of the British government to America, where he produced propaganda encouraging the United States to remain on Britain's side. After the War, Forester remained in America and made Berkeley, California, his home.

The character of Horatio Hornblower was born after Forester was called to Hollywood to write a pirate film. While the script was being drafted, another studio released Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn, based on the same historical incidents about which Forester was writing. Rather than seek another movie project, and to avoid an impending paternity suit, Forester jumped aboard a freighter bound for England. By the end of the voyage he had outlined Beat to the Quarters, which introduced the now legendary character Hornblower, Bush, and Lady Barbara.

Forester died in 1966 while working on Hornblower During the Crisis.

Back Bay's editions of the Hornblower novels are numbered according to the chronology of Hornblower's life and career, not according to the sequence in which they were written. The series is comprised of the following titles:


Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
Lieutenant Hornblower
Hornblower and the Hotspur
Hornblower During the Crisis
Hornblower and the Atropos
Beat to Quarters
Ship of the Line
Flying Colours
Commodore Hornblower
Lord Hornblower
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies

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