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The General by C. S. Forester, Sir Max Hastings
  

The General

Historical Fiction   World War One Literature   eBook Favourites   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Forester is now best known for his Hornblower series but this gem is a vivid and visceral depiction of the First World War. Born in 1899 Forester tried to enlist but failed his medical so never saw the horrors of the trenches first hand but having lived through the era was perfectly placed to dissect it. Written in 1936 it follows the career of a very ordinary officer as he rises through the ranks and comes up against the now mythologised horrors of ‘modern’ trench warfare with a Victorian mindset that saw so many soldiers slaughtered. Fascinating and powerful.

If you like C. S. Forester, Sir Max Hastings you might also like to read books by Anna Hope, Michael Morpurgo and John Boyne.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

The General by C. S. Forester, Sir Max Hastings

A superb yet neglected novel, 'The General' is the most vivid, moving - and devastating - word-portrait of a World War One British commander ever written, here re-introduced by Max Hastings. Best known for his Hornblower novels, C.S. Forester's 1936 masterpiece follows Herbert Curzon, who fumbled a fortuitous early step on the path to glory in the Boer War. 1914 finds him an honourable, decent, brave and wholly unimaginative colonel. Survival through the early slaughters in which so many fellow-officers perished then brings him rapid promotion. By 1916, he commands 100,000 British soldiers, whom he leads through the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele. Wonderfully human, this is the story of a man of his time who is anything but wicked, yet presides over appalling sacrifice and tragedy. In his awkwardness and his marriage to a Duke's unlovely, unhappy daughter, Curzon embodies Forester's full powers as a story-teller. Rendered with exquisite compassion are Curzon's patriotism, diligence, sense of duty and refusal to yield to difficulties. But also powerfully damned is the same spirit which caused a hundred real-life British generals to serve as high priests at the bloodiest human sacrifice in the nation's history. A masterful and insightful study about the character of 1914-18's military commanders, 'The General' confirms Forester's rightful place as one of the finest novelists of his generation.

Reviews

'A superb novel. It blends Forester's preference for military subjects and solid unreflective characters, his irony, his grasp of history and his gift for lean, hypnotic narrative'
New York Times

'Confirms Forester's rightful place as one of the finest novelists of his generation'
Max Hastings

'The most penetrating and subtle study of a Regular army officer that I have ever read'
Observer

'A portrait for all time of an individual in his period'
H.G. Wells

About the Author

C. S. Forester was born in Cairo in 1899. After studying medicine, he rose to fame with tales of naval warfare. On the outbreak of World War Two he worked for the British Ministry of Information in America writing propaganda. His most notable works were the twelve Horatio Hornblower books, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, and 'The African Queen'. His novels 'A Ship of the Line' and 'Flying Colours' were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He died in 1966.

Max Hastings is the author of several books, many about warfare. The most recent is the bestselling and critically acclaimed 'Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914'. In his early career as a correspondent, he reported on the 1982 Falklands War, experiences which he described in his memoir 'Going to the Wars'. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of King's College London, he was knighted in 2002.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th February 2015

Author

C. S. Forester, Sir Max Hastings

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Author's Website

www.maxhastings.com/

Publisher

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
World War One Literature
eBook Favourites

First World War fiction
Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

ISBN

9780007580071

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