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The General Hardcover – February 9, 2010
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"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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
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...
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Probably his best book, although General Curzon is one of his least sympathetic characters.Published 13 days ago by Simon Kneebone
Possibly the best novel ever written about World War I, as it was fought in Flanders and Picardie.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
C. S. Forester is a superb novelist, but this book did not receive the kind of attention from him that readers have come to expect. Read morePublished 7 months ago by gerold firl
This 5 star rating is JUST about the book/story. My 6 year old adores this book and wanted to give it to his teacher for Christmas. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Courtney
This book, originally written in 1961, is as timely today as it was back then. It was my daughter's favorite (she was born in 1961) and now we are so pleased that it is available... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Panther
One of the absolute greatest commentaries on the foolishness of trying to fight the next war just like we fought the last war! Read morePublished 20 months ago by M. Martin Reed