Hornblower and the Art of Reading Old Naval Stories

March 15th, 2008

After many years, I am re-reading the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester. Hornblower, a fictional naval officer in the Royal Navy during the times of the Napoleonic Wars, is an immensely charismatic person. He is shown as very intelligent, but unwilling to accept that merely his intelligence could cause him to rise above other people, he pushes himself and his subordinates far harder than might be necessary. He earns a respect and admiration from his crew and his superiors and over time reaches the exalted position of Rear Admiral after starting from the lowly position of midshipman.

Set in the Age of Sail, the books also give the reader a vivid insight into the life of Naval officers during the turn of the 19th Century. Problems almost incomprehensible today, like delays of months before news reaches another part of the world, are detailed in the chronicles of this wonderfully etched out character.

Read the books if you like naval or historical fiction. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

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