5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant opening salvo by the master. 5 broadsides
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the first installment chronologically in the saga of Horatio Hornblower, certainly one of the most beloved characters of 20th century fiction. Unlike other works, this one is not so much a novel as a series of short stories intended to show the progression of Hornblower from a scared schoolboy to a young adult exercising leadership. As...
Am 2. August 1999 veröffentlicht
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good fun
It would be impossible to call this great literature, but then again, I don't think that great literature is what Forester was aiming at when he wrote this. This book is, however, a real page-turner: fast-paced, action-filled, and realistic. I especially like the narrative style that Forester adopts: since Hornblower is only a midshipman, a strictly sequential...
Am 28. April 1999 veröffentlicht
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant opening salvo by the master. 5 broadsides,
Von Ein Kunde
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the first installment chronologically in the saga of Horatio Hornblower, certainly one of the most beloved characters of 20th century fiction. Unlike other works, this one is not so much a novel as a series of short stories intended to show the progression of Hornblower from a scared schoolboy to a young adult exercising leadership. As such the series opener can be read with equal enjoyment by young or old. Younger readers will certainly identify with the scared midshipman who is bullied by a senior midshipman and in light of the Columbine High School tragedy, this section bears re-reading. For older readers, like me, it will help rekindle the spirit of adventure that seemed to fill life in earlier years. I am reluctant to give it a five star rating, as I know later works in the series will be even better but I am justifying it because it is a series of short stories as opposed to a novel.
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower was first published in 1950 by an English author who had lived extensively in the US and who was having some of his novels made into films. It only makes sense for Forester to avoid offending a very large American audience. He achieves this goal with incredible marketing panache. He establishes Hornblower's birth date as July 4, 1776 and manages a double coup. First, he avoids having Hornblower fight in the American Revolution. Second, he says as an Englishmen to his American audience, 'We are the same people you are with the same values and heroes.' Given the close relationship of Britain and the US following the end of WWII and the non-reflective American patriotism of the time, Forester could not have his hero countering American values, as those were the same values that Britons espoused.
Forester also included some parallels for his fellow Britons. The most obvious is the British supported landing of French monarchists on French soil. As expected the monarchists crumble under republican assaults and the British have to conduct a rear guard action. The stolid British infantry give at least as good as they get but are forced to withdraw due to their ally's collapse. All this sounds very reminiscent of Dunkirk and there are other parallels to WWII in the book. Surprisingly, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower does not end with a furious sea battle but with a rescue of an enemy's crew. How soon after the Berlin Blockade was this written?
4.0 von 5 Sternen Classic though not Hornblower's best outing,
Von Ein Kunde
This first Hornblower book that Forester wrote was BEAT TO QUARTERS, and that is still arguably the best Hornblower book to read first (though not the best in the series). Because MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER comes first in the saga's timeline, though, many readers start here and unfortunately do not get Hornblower at his best point of entry. The pacing of this collection of stories simply does not grip the reader as well as that of the novels. I'm sure they worked fine when published individually in the popular magazines of the day, but when clutched together like this, an awkward lack of fluidity results.
That said, MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER is still an excellent book, rich with fascinating incident and detail, and anyone who has started the series will certainly read it -- the whole series is just too good! Certainly by the last episode in this book, quite a long story, the young Hornblower has gotten into the thick of it and you have begun to find out (if this is indeed where you've come in) just why Forester continues to be held in such high regard by generation after generation of readers.
Another important point is that MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER is the material from which the recent A&E series took its inspiration, and you do owe it to yourself if you saw it on TV to read the book and find out why and how that pivotal duel *really* happened. Be prepared to learn that C.S. Forester's plot turns were considerably more dramatic and thought-provoking than the hash (though admittedly watchable hash) made of them for TV consumption.
Incidentally, this paperback edition is lovely. The woodcut-style cover artwork looks really nice, and the pages and typeface being about the same size as a hardback edition make handling it and reading it a special pleasure
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Exciting Short Stories about Hornblower's First Voyages,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Mr Midshipman Hornblower (Taschenbuch)
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the prequel to the Horatio Hornblower series. Written as the sixth book chronologically, it covers the very first times when Hornblower served in His Majesty's navy. My recommendation is that you read it first, so that you can follow Hornblower chronologically along over his career as it develops.
Since much of service aboard a naval vessel is routine, C.S. Forester gives us the high spots of Hornblower's first years in the form of short stories beginning at age 17 when he entered the navy.
Each story is nicely balanced among the following qualities: Hornblower's inexperience; the rapid shift of circumstances that can occur at sea; Hornblower's physical and psychological weaknesses and courage to overcome them; the demands of honor; the importance of thinking clearly, getting good information, and making a swift decision; the benefits of discipline; and the brotherhood of all seaman before the dangers they face.
Those who are interested in the war between Britain and France after the French Revolution in 1789 will find the material to bring those events to life in a vivid way. I learned a lot about the details of naval warfare as it was conducted then.
The weakness of most short story writers is that their plots and resolutions often become overly predictable. These short stories are predictable only in their originality and unpredictability. As such, I found myself drawn forward, wondering what rabbit Forester would next pull out of the hat.
This is just the sort of book that I loved to read as a teenager, and I could feel the years peeling off as I raced through the stories. This book would be a wonderful gift to a teenager who likes adventure tales based on historical events. Readers will be reminded of how embarrassing and emotionally daunting it can be to launch off to operate in the adult world at age 17.
Unlike many adventure books, Hornblower serves the dual role of hero and morally-inspired man. It's too bad that so much modern fiction chooses to develop the action without developing any character in the process.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Hornblower series,
I just ordered "Ship of the Line" and "Beat to Quarters" along with the companion. This is one of the most enjoyable, page-turning series I have ever read! I read one of the books in a sitting and none so far has lasted more than a week. Like most of the other reviewers, I got started with the A&E series. Do yourself a favor and get the companion from the start.
Hornblower, without a doubt, reflects the personality traits of people I know-honorable, self-critical, confused, alternately depressed/ecstatic, reflective, etc. His vigorous actions and direct approach despite uncertainty is so refreshing! It is the epitome of the philosophy "I'm not quite sure of exactly what to do, but moving forward with gusto beats the hell out of standing around!" I have found myself laughing out loud on several occasions! Hornblower's characteristics reflect those of successful real-life naval officers I have known and read about.
If you are looking for some enjoyable, accurate, and adventuresome reading, you're in for a good time! (I gave THIS book 4 stars, but some other books in the series are definitely 5.)
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good fun,
Von Ein Kunde
It would be impossible to call this great literature, but then again, I don't think that great literature is what Forester was aiming at when he wrote this. This book is, however, a real page-turner: fast-paced, action-filled, and realistic. I especially like the narrative style that Forester adopts: since Hornblower is only a midshipman, a strictly sequential narration of his service aboard the Indefatigable would likely be tedious. By writing the chapters as a series of relatively unconnected vignettes, Forester is able to skip the most of the monotony that characterized a junior officer's life and to produce a highly readable book. I wouldn't come to this book expecting to find higher truths about the Nelsonian navy or about life in general, but the book is rollicking good fun and certainly a cut above most of the pulp fiction that tops the bestseller lists nowadays.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Series order for the Hornblower books,
For those of you getting started with this series, here is the series order (hey, we need to know this in order to buy the darn books!): Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, Hornblower and the Hotspur, Hornblower During the Crisis, Hornblower and the Atropos, Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colours, Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hownblower, Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies. The other titles you'll see are different 3-in-1-cover combinations of the above titles, though not always in series order (go figure), Cadet versions of the same titles above by different titles (REALLY go figure), and companion books. There IS one omnibus, so I'm told, with some short stories in it that fall chronologically somewhere in the time span covered by the first three books, but I don't know any more than that yet.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great literature? It depends on how you define the term...,
Von Ein Kunde
It irks me to see people say a book isn't great literature, and then say, "But..." If a book excites you, if it entertains you, if it's well-written, well-constructed, then why isn't it great literature? Simply because it's an adventure novel? Please! Some of the best writing occurs in genres that get no respect because they aren't "literary" in the classical sense of the term. Well, Jane Austen's work was pop fiction in its day. Oh, don't get me started. Anyway, the entire Hornblower series is, imho, great literature because it meets the above criteria. Forester is great at crafting his books, and he offers more than just an adventure. Read these books! You won't be sorry.
4.0 von 5 Sternen I agree... the whole series is a must-read!,
Others have written thorough reviews of this book, so I will only agree that it is an exciting, excellent series. I started reading them to check (as I often do) to see how well the (A&E) made-for-TV series and the old movie (starring Gregory Peck) held up against the books. I found myself pulled through the entire series by the personal struggles and strengths of Hornblower and others (does a man really think like that?), the thrilling descriptions of the handling of ships under sail (I needed a nautical glossary!), and the detailed historical settings (how much was non-fiction?). Four stars because parts could have been handled better, but on the whole it was a great reading experience.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Mr. Midshipman Hornblower: A Slow Start for the Series,
The 'Hornblower' novels by C. S. Forester are all consistently entertaining and fun, but the first novel in the series, 'Mr. Midshipman Hornblower,' is a rather slow start. Rather than a single novel, it is a series of short stories revolving around Hornblower's first years at sea. While the stories maintain that sense of adventure that are Forester's trademark, it lacks a consistency which is to be found in the later volumes. 'Mr. Midshipman Hornblower' is must reading for fans of the series but for those new to the 'Hornblower' novels perhaps a better introduction would be to read 'Lieutenant Hornblower,' the second novel of the series.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent story line & plot!!,
Forester displays an unique talent for interesting details of the setting and action packed battle scenes. His stories include both historical and fictional information that enhance the reader's interest in the book while reading. The only downfall is that the book starts off a little slow and the reader may lose interest in the first few chapters. Be patient! The book develops further along and becomes very exciting. This book is a must read for anybody interested in the Napoleonic Wars and naval battles!!
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Mr. Midshipman Hornblower von C. S. Forester (Gebundene Ausgabe - Juni 1950)
Gebraucht & neu ab: EUR 8,08