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When Hornblower loses the prize ship and his first independent command because swelling rice in the hold literally pops his ship open from the inside out I was hooked. In too many stories of this ilk, the main character faces only token cardboard opposition - an unruly crew that needs to be whipped into shape, or some such.
In this book the curve balls lobbed at Hornblower are often either self-inflicted or out of his control. That's a nice change of pace. Four stars out of five. The book moves along at a good pace, with plenty of action. It's a short, but fun read. My only real knock on the book is that Hornblower can be a bit of a twit. He always does the right thing. I'd like to see a little more edge on him, but that's OK. We see a glimpse of a darker side in the next book, which is good. The Hornblower books by C. Forester are among the iconic novels of the English language, and with good reason in my opinion.
I almost gave this a 4 star rating because of my "stingy" with the 5 star ratings rule. After all 5 is the best you can give This was not the first Hornblower book It follows him through a series of adventures from the misery of serving under a senior Midshipman who will never be promoted because he's failed the Lieutenant's test too many times. This man takes his wretchedness and bitterness out on all the younger thus junior Midshipmen. The book's story continues with Hornblower's life through his promotion to Lieutenant while he's in a Spanish prison as a prisoner of war.
The book ends with his release from prisoner of war status and a promise of more adventure. This these book books are well worth reading. Patrick O'Brian's works have become very well known of late, in my opinion as action and adventure stories Forester's works are far superior. Just me of course. View all 9 comments. Jun 05, Siria rated it it was ok Shelves: british-fiction , historical-fiction , 20th-century. This wasn't the first of the Hornblower novels to be written, but chronologically it comes first in the series of novels covering his life.
For someone who is just coming to the series, this mightn't be the best place to start. Although you are introduced to Hornblower as a nervous young seventeen-year-old midshipman, the fact that the book is actually comprised of a dozen or so loosely connected short stories means that the flow is rather choppy. If you are coming to the series after seeing the This wasn't the first of the Hornblower novels to be written, but chronologically it comes first in the series of novels covering his life. I really can see why the producers of the miniseries decided that it was necessary to add a foil for Horatio in the form of Archie Kennedy; in the books, he is so incredibly cold and neurotically repressed that it is hard to warm to him.
The fact that each story in this volume only took up only twenty or so pages also meant that it suffered, in my mind, in comparison with the television movies - Kitty Cobham, for example, does not come to life in the book in the way that she does on-screen.
The historical detail, however, is spot on, as are all the nautical details; and you can always rely on Forrester to deliver a rollicking good adventure story. I think as a stylist and a writer, though, Patrick O' Brian will always pip him as the best writer of historical naval fiction.
But I was surprised at the subtlety of tales, the lack of crass derring-do, and the self-effacing good humor as much as anguish with which he faced early mistakes from inexperience. After an apprenticeship with a captain and ship of has-beens and wimps, he gets a chance at important mentorship under a brilliant, dashing captain of the Indefatigable on blockade duty in the Bay of Biscay.
He is so successful in taking merchant and French naval prizes, Hornblower gets his first chance of command of a ship, tasked with taking it to England with a small crew. I loved to see him overcome his sense of inadequacy and learn to juggle all the tasks of navigation, keeping authority over his seamen, and keeping watch on the prisoners.
Disaster happens from his own mistakes, and he pulls off a miracle save. This book is composed of diverse kinds of episodes, none with the melodramatic battles I sort of expected from dim memories. The painting of the evils of slavery in the Spanish colonies and captured slave ships was a different story. I read and loved all ten.
But second best is pretty good. If you try the Hornblower series, see if your library has The Hornblower Companion , which provides maps for every episode and outlines the big picture on the wars and interludes between them in the period from to Shelves: war , regency , ships , s. Forester's Mr. Midshipman Hornblower finds himself all too often frustrated in a "savage, merciless world," where he is "very much alone The young midshipman tempers his exasperation by relying on his keen, mathematical intellect "Hell!
The young midshipman tempers his exasperation by relying on his keen, mathematical intellect that's quick to appraise risks and make split-second decisions. But without friends, without family, and faced with cruel discipline, bullying, and the brutality of war, the inexperienced Hornblower grows callous, shoring up his many insecurities through violence, rigid obedience to authority, and a bravado that borders on suicidal.
For many chapters, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is a fairly dark read. Written in the gloomy days just after WWII, when Britons watched the Empire being dismantled, Forester's tale mirrors the angst and anger of the period; at the same time, though, it looks back longingly on the Empire in its first "finest hour," when — like the heroic airmen who saved England during the Blitz — courageous British seamen stood alone against a Europe dominated by an aggressive dictator.
I was equally charmed and repelled by Forester's vulnerable, volatile midshipman; but what remained constant were my curiosity to see what became of him and the pleasure I found reading about his adventures. Fortunately for us, Forester tells a good yarn from stem to stern. While the structure of each episodic chapter is formulaic and the focus rarely strays from Hornblower, Forester's clever imagination and extensive research create a believable illusion of life in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars.
There's plenty of suspense and adventure; and the grim, understated humor that liberally seasons the yarns keep the reader's spirits up and the pages turning. I had no problem finishing the book, and at the conclusion, I was happy to see the more humane, more confident lieutenant Hornblower set to embark on an illustrious maritime career. I'm looking forward to setting sail with him again soon. Oct 17, Brad rated it really liked it Shelves: historical , napoleonic-era , nautical. I may have liked this more than it deserved because I read it around the birth of our third child Katya is two days old as I write this , but whatever the reason, I really had a good time with Mr.
Midshipman Hornblower. Midshipman Hornblower is really a novel of short stories. I am looking forward to reading a Hornblower novel rather than a series of Hornblower stories. I think an extended tale in the Hornblower saga would be more compelling.
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The little details when action is at a minimum, the relationships on board ship, those are the things that really interest me. I felt that Hornblower's years as a Midshipman were covered too fast, and there were times when the jumps in his career -- from action to action -- left gaps I wish were filled.
I am probably just spoiled by the stories of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, though. I'll get over it. Well, this was fun! I preferred it to Master and Commander by far. Horatio Hornblower is just a teenaged midshipman here, an intelligent and sensitive overthinker who sort of reminds me of a shy, grumpy puppy. Even though he would be mortified and offended to hear it. He's just so self-conscious and burdened despite all of his natural ability.
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I kept wondering, how could I relate so much to an 18th century midshipman in the Royal Navy? I am not a boy. And definitely not a surly, reserved, sort-of Well, this was fun! And definitely not a surly, reserved, sort-of-dashing English boy. I don't get captured by French galleons, or dine with Spanish sea captains, or smuggle intelligence for British admirals.
But then I realized that Horatio's first job is like everyone's first job! I mean, minus the threat of grapeshot to the throat. You're technically an adult though you certainly don't feel like one, everyone is older than you, you feel out of your depth, are sometimes miserable, and sometimes triumphant. Some of your co-workers are a little crazy, but others are great. You pretend to know how to do things. And eventually you actually learn how to do them. It's me! It's you! It's Horatio! This book is episodic, so we get the full range of Hornblower's early years; narrow escapes from enemy ships, embarrassing losses, painful battles of the French Revolution, triumphant maneuvering, and some personal bitterness.
If you have a craving for naval historical fiction then I highly recommend this. Jun 25, E. Dawson rated it really liked it Shelves: classics. I very much enjoy maritime fiction, when done well. This book was somehow not what I was expecting and I find it difficult to define, but I very much enjoyed it. First of all, it seemed a bit more like a string of incidents rather than one cohesive story. The only thing really tying it together was that it covers the Midshipman years for Hornblower. It would have been fun to see a more substantial, carefully crafted arc for Hornblower or to see the stories tied together into a significant plot, I very much enjoy maritime fiction, when done well.
It would have been fun to see a more substantial, carefully crafted arc for Hornblower or to see the stories tied together into a significant plot, but honestly I didn't mind too much once I knew what to expect. Some of the subject matter and scenes Forester chooses to show are just unexpected. He deals with topics you don't necessarily expect to see in this genre, from Hornblower's deep depression at the beginning of the book, to the rat gambling, to the slave galleys of Spain, to the fraudulent Duchess offering to hide his despatches in her undergarments.
XD XD The last chapter and adventure was unequivocally my favorite. Loved the descriptions of the stormy ocean coast and Hornblower's decisions are so honorable. He has been honorable throughout the book, but this truly was the culmination of that. Feb 10, Earl Grey Tea rated it really liked it Shelves: british-literature , historical-fiction. To be honest, I was fascinating by 18th century European navies when I was a high school student. I found the idea of man-of-wars and frigates hitting each other with cannon fire at close range while marines storm the deck of the opposing ship absolutely thrilling.
My father, upon learning of my peculiar interest, bought this book for me to read. I read the it, appreciated it, but found myself having a difficult time getting the through all of the archaic, obsolete and specific naval terminology To be honest, I was fascinating by 18th century European navies when I was a high school student. I read the it, appreciated it, but found myself having a difficult time getting the through all of the archaic, obsolete and specific naval terminology, along with a writing style that akin the Victorian style.
Now 15 some odd years later, I found this series in the eBook format, so I decided to give them another try. This time around I am older, a bit wiser, and have much more reading experience under my belt. I was able to enjoy the stories and even remember some of the scenes from the first time I read the book as a teenager. The language and writing style didn't hinder me as much as before, but it still wasn't smooth sailing sorry for the nautical pun in this review. This isn't a book that an average modern American reader can just sit back and enjoy on a lazy afternoon.
Instead, one must dedicate a fair amount of brain processing power to navigate sorry! One drowsy evening after a long day at work, the large amount of words to describe naval vessels became confusing and I lost track which English boat the Spanish galley sunk. The next morning after a refreshing night's sleep, I was able to quickly sort out which boat was which and finished the story fully understanding what had happened in the naval engagement. I really did enjoy reading all of the different adventures of Mr.
Even though each story was in chronological order, it didn't follow a uniformed pattern.
Lessons for Teaching Mr. Midshipman Hornblower | ivizazikasaq.tk
Chapters could be separated by a couple of months or a plethora. Even within one of the stories, over two years passed from beginning to ending. One story in particular aroused a juvenile excitement in me while I read about the military discipline and martial exploits of British regulars in the skirmishes against French soldiers.
In addition to this, it was nice to read about a protagonist that was a cut above everybody else but still made mistakes. This wasn't a story about a uebermensch that does everything perfectly. View all 3 comments. Mar 04, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: europe , history , military , audiobook , britain , re-read , france , hornblower , spain. In Horatio Hornblower, C. Forester created one of the most flawed heroes in military fiction. And not flawed in the "rogue" sort of way, like Richard Sharpe, but in a deeply human way.
He does not strike you as a capable military officer; but he is undoubtedly brilliant, and an excellent commander. He is tone-deaf, awkward, shy, self-critical, self-doubting, and even prone to seasickness something strange for a career naval officer.
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I think this, above anything else, is what makes him so app In Horatio Hornblower, C. I think this, above anything else, is what makes him so appealing. When viewed from a 3rd part narrator, as he is in some of the novels through Leftenant Bush, he seems cold and aloof, but when you are inside his brain, it is a shocking counterpoint. In this particular book, the first chronologically though not the first written , Hornblower begins his naval career as a Midshipman.
This book is essentially a series of short stories, recounting his progress in ability and experience, up to his promotion to full Leftenant. It gives an interesting view into the world of early 19th century naval warfare or at least naval life, there isn't a ton of actual warfare , and sets the character up well. It lets you get a handle on him earlier, and makes him more sympathetic and understandable in later books.
Oct 02, Bfisher rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. This book was my introduction to the Hornblower story. Beyond a great action story, a useful primer on how the Royal Navy mad Britain the dominant sea power of the era. Dec 13, Matt rated it it was amazing. I read book 10 of this series and it was so good I am circling back and reading the adventures of Horatio Hornblower from the beginning.
As a navy man these are almost required reading. Mar 13, Kirk rated it it was amazing Shelves: revolutionary-war-era , general-lit , This reread confirms what I thought I find Hornblower much more enjoyable to read than Master and Commander. Mar 08, Cliff rated it it was amazing. Mr Midshipman Hornblower, the first in the Hornblower series, is a historical fiction book that takes the reader on a journey with a young British Naval officer in the early s.
The reader goes along with Horatio Hornblower through all of his adventures and watch him rise in rank. This book is very difficult to put down, because you never know whats going to happen next or when its going to happen. Hornblower is a very charming character who the reader becomes invested in making what happens in his life that much more interesting. This book is perfect for the reader that enjoys an adventure with a solid plot. Apr 12, Malum rated it really liked it Shelves: historical. This is a series of loosely connected episodes in Hornblower's earlier life.
It almost reads like a short story collection and, like such a collection, there are some stories here that are better than others. Luckily, however, there aren't any real duds among the whole bunch. I also liked how Hornblower wasn't a perfect Gary Stu. Jan 19, Laura marked it as to-read Shelves: hf-napoleonic-era , gutenberg , e-books. Free download available at Faded Page. This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. Sep 18, Priscilla rated it it was amazing.
May 16, Joy H. I read to page 68 in this book in April Not sure if I will continue or not. It contains invaluable information. Also see: The Hornblower Companion which contains maps and related information. Hornblower: Duty I am a fan of the Age of Fighting Sail genre. I have had all eleven books in this series sitting on a shelf and I've been saving them like the middle of an Oreo until now. After reading this first book in the series I have to say I am disappointed when the work stands in comparison to the books I am a fan of the Age of Fighting Sail genre.
After reading this first book in the series I have to say I am disappointed when the work stands in comparison to the books I have read. I know this might be considered heresy but it is the truth of how I feel. This book, and all the others too, has probably been reviewed and detailed well beyond my feeble abilities but I shall throw in my opinion anyway. First, the book is not a single narrative but a collection of episodic events in the early career of young Midshipman Hornblower. This feature is not fatal to the quality of the work but it fails to really take advantage of this technique to develop Hornblower's growth as a character through these events.
I was also surprised by the lack of detail common in other works of these period but lacking here. Many events and descriptions of naval life and activity of this era are glossed over or skipped entirely. I think had I not already had a good grounding in this genre I probably would not have noticed the superficial treatment rendered by Forester to his subject.
While the book was well written and entertaining I think Forester has been surpassed by later authors. Nevertheless, I will read the remaining ten books in hopes that things improve. I've been a fan of the Hornblower TV movies for many years, so I figured it was time to finally read the originals.
Forester has an amazing ability to lay bare the secret heart of a teenage boy--bright, lonely, deeply self-critical--so that the reader aches for Horatio at every turn. At the same time, at least in this first book, he also has a complete inability to write action scenes: everything devolves into a chaos of technical terms and abrupt transitions. I will probably read more, both to I've been a fan of the Hornblower TV movies for many years, so I figured it was time to finally read the originals.
I will probably read more, both to see whether he improves and out of curiosity for how the adaptations differ from the books for one thing, this first book offers a skeleton for much of the first four movies, so I'm interested to see if later incidents got folded into those movies or if the books have nifty plot twists that were left out entirely , but I'm not completely sold on these books yet. Dec 25, Terence rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction.
I got a copy of an older edition of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower when my stepmother cleaned out my father and her house one year and it mouldered on my shelf for several seasons before I "broke down" and read it. It was another one of those unlooked-for surprises - very readable, an exciting adventure, and Forester's knowledge of 18th century British naval life and seamanship compares to Patrick O'Brian's.
PS - My real hang up is the hero's name - "Horatio Hornblower. Apr 04, Laura rated it really liked it.
I thought this book was brilliant. Horatio was a nervous, shy, young hero, who accomplished things simply because he sees no other way. Forester described the ways of ship life, and the historical context of the novel very well. I saw the movie first, but I think Forester kept a more consistent characterization of Horatio. Horatio was a realistic 17 year old: he was insecure, and had a difficult time adjusting to the role of a leader.
However, he was courageous when he needed to be. The plot was I thought this book was brilliant. The plot was broken up into several conflicts, each with their own resolution it was pretty much by chapter. It did work for the story, as the overarching story was his adaption to the strange life of the British navy and his promotion to Lieutenant.
I can't wait to read the next one! Readers also enjoyed. About C. Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen ; filmed in by John Huston.
Penguin gifts. Writing workshops. View all. Events Podcasts Apps. Contact us Contact us Offices Media contacts Catalogues. Home Mr Midshipman Hornblower. Paperback Ebook. View more editions. Buy from. Featuring an exclusive introduction by Bernard Cornwell, creator of Sharpe 'Absolutely compelling. One of the great masters of narrative' San Francisco Chronicle Read more. Share at. More in this Series. The Young Hornblower Omnibus C. Lieutenant Hornblower C.
Admiral Hornblower C. Captain Hornblower R. Lord Hornblower C. Hornblower and the Crisis C. The Commodore C. The Happy Return C. Flying Colours C. Hornblower and the Atropos C. Hornblower and the Hotspur C. About the Author. Forester C. Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more.