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The Hornblower Companion

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The Hornblower Companion

Post by Alaric Bond on Wed 08 Jul 2009, 11:21

Bought a second-hand hardback edition of this recently (the title seems to be hard to get new, certainly in the UK). Divided into two halves, the first gives details and historical background to each book, complete with diagrams and maps. The second is an informal narrative by CSF about how each of the books came to be written. It is a fascinating insight into the life of a very formal writer. He was taken seriously ill, and suffered one heart attack during the series, (which he had thought to have finished on several occasions). On several occasions he mentions writing quickly in case he should die before a book is completed. Little is given of his private life, which is a shame, but understandable.

Highly recommended; if you see a copy, buy it!

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by Mr Tutt on Mon 03 Aug 2009, 20:17

If you are looking on more about CSF, I would suggest Long Before Forty, an autobiographical work of interest.

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by Alaric Bond on Tue 04 Aug 2009, 08:20

Yes, I've been looking out for that one for a while - second hand copies seems very expensive. It looks interesting; certainly he was a fascinating man, with a very ordered writing style: Hornblower and the Crisis, although unfinished, was pretty near polished as it went along - impressive!

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by Nowyouseeme123 on Thu 22 Jul 2010, 21:20

Borrelpeff, I'm not sure if you've heard of it or not, but www.abebooks.com sells 2nd hand books for very low prices! Hope it helps

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by JackTar on Mon 13 Jan 2014, 14:10

Hello, I am new to this site but so far have read quite a few posts and find it to be both useful and informative.

I have read 70% of the Hornblower books over various periods of time, but have decided to read them again in chronological order rather than order of publishing. would anyone recommend picking up the Hornblower Companion whilst reading or would a better experience be gained from studying it after reading the series, I would appreciate peoples thoughts and views on this and also the best way to enjoy these novels.

Cheers
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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by 80 Winters on Mon 13 Jan 2014, 17:33

Since you're already 'well into' Hornblower, I don't think that "when'  do you read 'the Companion' is crucial, but certainly you should add it to your C.S. Forester 'reading list. When you finish the Hornblower series completely, I can recommend C. Northcote Parkinson's The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower as an interesting 'take' on an unauthorized biography.
Do join the C.S. Forester Society if you're not already a member (I believe 'online' membership is still free). And finally, for your 2nd complete 'read' of the Hornblower series, you might consider the 'audiobook' version as I found that 'reading' it and 'hearing' it read can be somewhat different and enjoyable experiences.
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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by JackTar on Tue 14 Jan 2014, 09:07

Thanks for the advise, I will definitely look into C.Northcote Parkinson's book as I have not seen that before so thank you.

It might not belong here but I have just finished Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain, which in my opinion is very well written and details the life of a very skilled mariner who I think was largely overshadowed by events and personalities of the time.

Now where's my copy of Mr Midshipman Hornblower  Very Happy 
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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by charing3cross on Sun 02 Mar 2014, 17:03

Re: "Hornblower Companion":  Is any part of the hardcover in color, perhaps the maps?

I ask because apparently there were 3 types published:  hardcover, paperback, mass market paperback.  I've seen the mass market paperback, and it's all black & white.  The 3 types have different page counts, so there was at least some minimal typesetting changes; maybe the publisher also changed color to b/w.

I know I'll buy the Companion, and if the hardcover is in any way superior to the paperback, I'll gladly pay more, but the hardcover is significantly more expensive...

Thanks!

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by 80 Winters on Sun 02 Mar 2014, 19:24

Your questions concerning Hornblower Companion have sent me to 'the bookcase' to see exactly what I have:

The 'glossy cover' paperback that I have was first published by Chatham Publishing in Great Britain in 1998 and by the Naval Institute Press in the USA and Canada that same year. As you noted, the illustrations are all in black & white. It has 140 pages.

The 'hardback' edition that I have was first published by Little, Brown and Company in the USA and Canada in 1964. Physically, both books are almost the exact same size and like the paperback, the hardback's illustrations are in black & white. This book has 149 pages. I have also noticed that my hardback edition has the 'embossed' ship on the cover done in gold (where I've seen later editions with this ship done in black).

My hardback edition is a "first edition" in pristine condition but lacking the dust jacket. However, I found it in a 'back street' book shop in Victoria, BC for $15 just a few years ago. I notice there is currently, what appears to be one just like it on Amazon for $50, but again with no DJ.

Added note: I see a notation on the title page of the paperback that says the original publisher in Great Britain was Michael Joseph, LTD. London. However, I've not seen this edition. Possibly a shipmate from the UK has a copy of this one.
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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by charing3cross on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 00:36

Thanks for your detailed reply; that's exactly the info I wanted.  Now I'll go buy it and finish my journey.  :-)  I really do appreciate this; it's hard to explain, but I feel a sort of debt of gratitude for Forester and the Hornblower series; it's one of the few fictional universes that I liked a lot both as a kid and as an adult, and my dad really liked it, too.  We'd enjoy rehashing plots and characters together.  I only wish I'd thought to pursue the Companion before he died.  He'd have enjoyed the maps, too.

Thanks again, sincerely.

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Re: The Hornblower Companion

Post by 80 Winters on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 01:51

Glad that I could assist you in your 'quest'. If you've become a Hornblowerphile I'll again recommend C. Northcote Parkinson's The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower (see my posting just 2 above). It seemed so real to me when I read it that I was almost sure that "he lived". I see there are copies, both HB and paper for reasonable prices currently on Amazon.

I'm currently in my 5th reading of 'Hornblower' doing it now on audiobooks with Christian Rodska narrating, but there seems to be a copyright dispute and the unabridged audio books have been 'taken off the shelf', even at my local library. Fortunately, I have my set.

You've certainly picked a winner of an HNF series, that you can enjoy again and again........and share with someone coming along.
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