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.
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‘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. WellsAbout 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 Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD, 1968. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11014001117X