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The General Hardcover – February 9, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When we worked on THE GENERAL we wanted to produce a fun and lively story for children, but one to encourage a sympathetic outlook on the world." — Janet Charters — Quote

"My first book, THE GENERAL was about a general who made his country the most beautiful in the world instead of the most powerful. Fifty years on, it seems even more relevant as the threat to the environment, hinted at in THE GENERAL, (not to mention the threat of war) is now plain to see — even by politicians." — Michael Foreman — Quote

About the Author

Janet Charters studied painting in Poole, Dorset, and London, England. THE GENERAL was her first picture book. She now lives in London.

Michael Foreman created THE GENERAL to impress potential freelance employers while he was still at art college. It became his first published book. One of the foremost illustrators of his generation, Michael Foreman lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Templar; 50th Anniversary ed. edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763648752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763648756
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Libby on March 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I bless the day many years ago--in college, I think--when I found it in a bookstore quite by accident (for I am not a naval buff and have read none of the Hornblower novels.) It was out of print for many years, and I welcome it back.
This is an anti-war novel written by a military historian who grieves over the way his country fought the Great War. It has parts which are hilariously funny (Curzon's courtship and marriage, the family he marries into, the wedding night (nothing graphic here, of course--Forester is a gentleman); it offers a scathing view of England's class system at work; it is dead right (is there a pun here?) in dealing with trench warfare.
Buy it, savor it, re-read it. If you happen to teach, assign it to your students along with All Quiet on the Western Front. This is a GREAT book!
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Format: Paperback
This is one of C.S. Forester's first novels about war, published in 1936 and hence pre-dating Hornblower.

Like almost all the novels which Forester wrote before he created the Hornblower books, this is brilliant, far less well known today than it deserves, and consequently quite rare. The author H.G. Wells described "The General" as "a magnificent piece of work."

Some of Forester's other books, particularly those describing battles against opponents of whom he strongly disapproved of such as Hitler's nazis or indeed Napoleon, can come over as patriotic to the point of jingoism or chauvinism. This story does not come into that category and it would not be far from the truth to call it one of the first great anti-war novels.

If you collect books about war, and you are fortunate enough to find a copy of "The General" for sale at a remotely reasonable price, buy it at once.

This novel describes the military career of a fictional first world war general. It begins and ends between the wars, with a sharp pen-picture of the retired general Curzon sitting in a bathchair on Bournemouth Promenade, having lost his leg during the great war and never managed to learn to walk properly with an artificial one.

Then the story goes back to Curzon's first battle as a subaltern in 1899 during the Boer war, and follows him through to the climax of the book at the battle of St Quentin on March 21st 1918 when the last desperate German offensive nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Forester appears to have set out to do three things; to entertain, inform, and explain.
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By paul kelly on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I live in England and read evey CSF book I could find 20 years ago. Whenever I visited the local public library I had several authors I knew would entertain me. Fleming, AJ Cronin, and my favourite, CS Forester. His Hornblower books are exciting, but his other books are just as as well written and enjoyable (probably better, read The African Queen). I did a search on Amazon and found this book....The memories came flooding back.
This book will teach you what it was like to be an upper crust, English gent in 1914. The bumbling ways we the British conducted ourselves in the The Great War. However, it will also tell you about how brave man can be.
If you think Tyson is tough, well the General is tougher.
READ IT. You will not be disappointed...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While most of the authors novels were set during the time of Napoleon, some were set at later times including the well known novel, "The African Queen," and this lesser known novel, "The General," both of which were set during World War I. It has often been said that generals plan tactics based on the last war. Napoleon had developed tactics based on an artillery barrage followed by an attack by infantry and cavalry. The British Army was still trying to use those tactics at the start of World War I, ignoring the change in armaments which included the introduction of machine guns.

Herbert Curzon is an officer from the old school, entering World War I in command of a lancer regiment, expecting to charge the enemy on horseback. Command of machine guns had been relegated to a lieutenant "who did not sit a horse very well," and most officers did not study the tactics of their use. They did not expect to fight on foot, and did not carry entrenching tools. The machine guns quickly became the most critical part of the battle, and men had to dig in the best they could in the muddy ground.

The British were slow to learn new tactics, and still adhered to the tactics developed by Napoleon well into the war. Curzon is given promotions, partly because he survives and impresses the War Office with his reputation for holding his positions, and partly because he marries the daughter of a Duke who has a position in the government. He rapidly rises to Lieutenant General and Corps commander. The novel ends when he is badly wounded trying to rally his men against a German offensive which is breaking the British lines.

The novel illustrates the muddle that occurred during the war.
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