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Lieutenant Hornblower Hardcover – January 1, 1952

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Hardcover, January 1, 1952
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; Second Impression edition (January 1, 1952)
  • ASIN: B001J1Z7KW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this for teenagers.
This is the story of Hornblower as the junior lieutenant aboard HMS Renown, a British Ship of the Line.
Roger J. Buffington
It is a well written book which gives a better perspective to both characters.
Peter Ingemi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 162 people found the following review helpful By P. Caldwell on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Here is the series order: 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 Hownblower, Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies. The other titles you'll see are different 3-in-1-cover combinations of the above titles, though not always in series order (go figure), Cadet versions of the same titles above by different titles (REALLY go figure), and companion books.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Lieutenant Hornblower is not a novel that should be read in isolation. It was originally published in the early 50s after the success of earlier, although chronologically later, Hornblower books and a movie. Forester's purpose was to show the development of the character of Hornblower while providing a good sea story in itself. He succeeded on both accounts.
Lieutenant Hornblower is set in 1803, several years after Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. We are told nothing of what has occurred to Hornblower in years preceding the book. Lieutenant Hornblower is seen through the eyes of Lieutenant William Bush, a brother officer, who although slightly senior comes increasingly to look to Hornblower for leadership. Although initially distrusting, Bush sees greatness in Hornblower and the two develop a strong friendship. Bush is portrayed as a dull, stodgy and not too bright English career naval officer. He is also a very decent man and solid friend. One is reminded of the friendship between Holmes and Watson and Conan Doyle's device; which was to make Holmes appear more brilliant by making Watson appear to be slow. In fact, I could imagine a young Basil Rathbone and a young Nigel Bruce playing the Hornblower and Bush roles.
As the novel runs its course, the two men overcome a mad captain, a Spanish fort, an attempt by prisoners to overtake the ship, a night in the fleshpots of the Caribbean, a court of inquiry, and perhaps most challenging of all, peace. Forester skillfully develops Hornblower's character while creating some unanswered questions. Was Hornblower responsible for the mad captain's downfall? What was the relationship between Hornblower and the servant girl in London? We learn more about Hornblower but mystery is maintained, perhaps even enhanced.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael H. Siegel on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's hard to write an objective review of Lieutenant Hornblower, chronologically the second novel in Forester's epic saga. Put simply, this was the book that addicted me to Horatio Hornblower and condemned to spend a small fortune acquiring the entire series.
This tells the tale of Horatio's first real mission. He is assigned to the Renown, a ship of the line destined to fight Napoleon in the Caribbean. It is here that Horatio really begins to distinguish himself -- helping his crew deal with a mad captain, then leading them into the teeth of a powerful Spanish presence in Haiti. We see his decisiveness, his daring and his courage -- as well as his darker side.
This book is cunningly different from others in the series in that Hornblower is not the main character. Rather, we see him through Lieutenant Bush -- destined to become one of Horatio's closest companions. At first, Hornblower seems distant and aloof. With Bush, we question his abilities and courage. And like Bush, we quickly see Horatio's heroism and intelligence. And it ends with a flourish that will have you scrambling to amazon to buy the next volume.
Once again, I must deduct a little bit for Forester's occasionally opaque description of the working of a ship of the line. But most of the time, he makes the action clear as crystal. During the most intense rivetting action scenes, I was never confused as to what was going on.
This is where the Hornblower series really takes off. Don't even hesitate to buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "athenaolympia" on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lieutenant Hornblower is definitely one of the best books in C.S. Forrester's classic series! Set aboard the 74 gun ship of the line Renown, we see a Hornblower that is only apparent in this book. He still young enough to be the boyish hero, but with a maturity that gives him a presence that everyone from the lowest seaman to the highest admiral recognizes and respects. We see the birth of the lifelong friendship that forms between the loyal lieutenant William Bush and Hornblower. Bush outranks him, and is initially suspicious of our brilliant young hero, but soon grows to respect and like him as their captain's madness threatens the ship. This novel is unique in the Hornblower saga as it is told entirely from the perspective of Bush. This prevents the reader from having to listen to all the self doubt that plagues poor Horatio, which can get rather annoying after you've read 10 books of it. I wouldn't recommend starting with this book, as it is set between Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Hornblower and the Hotspur. Follow a loyal reader's advice, and start with one of the Captain books. But, definitely read this one as soon as you can. The battles, the scenery, and even the characters are described in Forrester's typical fashion, in deep detail. The details really make the novel come to life. I would also recommend seeing the excellent Horatio Hornblower movies done by A&E. The Welsh actor who portrays Hornblower, Ioan Gruffudd, does an absolutely amazing job. See the movies, it doesn't matter whether you've read the books or not. Start these books when you've got a lot of free time, because I guarantee that you won't be able to put them down!
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