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The Hero

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  192 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
"We were sent to take an unoccupied hill. Our maxim was that a hill is always unoccupied unless the enemy are actually firing from it. Of course, the place was chock full of Boers; they waited till we had come within easy range for a toy-pistol, and then fired murderously. We did all we could. We tried to storm the place, but we hadn't a chance. Men tumbled down like nine- ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Aegypan (first published 1901)
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(showing 1-30)
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Grace Harwood
Aug 09, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's something about the prose of Somerset Maugham - it's so simple, no excess verbosity whatsoever, and yet it is so beautifully crafted that it's always a delight to read. I loved this book - the content of the tale is utterly tragic: that of the soldier returned injured from war to find everything has changed and yet everything is the same; and yet there is so much humour in the narration of the story.

The characters are brilliant. Nearly all of them with the exception of Jamie ("the hero"
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Max Tomlinson
Apr 09, 2014 Max Tomlinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Whoever said ‘the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’[1] could have been referring to much of W. Somerset Maugham’s work. No author of his era drilled down so relentlessly into the anguish people suffer trying to lead acceptable lives while still hoping to find a scrap of love amidst society’s buttoned-down restrictions. Maugham’s primary setting was the England of the turn of the nineteenth century, a formidable crucible for his vulnerable protagonists who dream beyond their station, a
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Bob
Aug 24, 2015 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Maugham’s early books. I don’t know how many if any were written between his first published in 1897 and this one published four years later. This is the second I've read of his early books and to me this book lacks a certain polish when I compare it to his later books, like Of Human Bondage or The Razor's Edge, but I’m no expert it’s just a feeling.

This story focuses on a young man, a boy really, who becomes engaged prior to his being shipped off to India with the military. From
...more
Kimbofo
Apr 11, 2015 Kimbofo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of years ago I read W. Somerset Maugham’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece Of Human Bondage and loved its mix of grim reality, heartbreak and poignancy. I made a mental note to explore more of his work.

The Hero is probably one of his lesser-known novels. First published in 1901 — fourteen years before Of Human Bondage — it explores social mores, class and morality in Victorian England. And yet there’s something quite modern about the story, which shows how a man’s outlook on life can b
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Jamie
Jan 30, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solidly good, solidly great when it comes down to some of Jamie’s ideas (on wars, on reason). An early sign of Maugham’s strengths, “The last thing I expect is consistency in an animal of such contrary instincts as man.” Not without great cheekiness, either. Plus: the hero’s name is Jamie. Will never not enjoy that.
“When you do anything, are you ever tormented by a doubt whether you are doing right or wrong?”

“Never,” she answered, firmly. “There is always a right way and a wrong way, and, I’m th
...more
John
Interesting story about a British soldier named Jamie Parson who returns home from the Boer War after five years at the turn of the 20th century and the struggles of him adjusting to late Victorian era country life. As always, Maugham does a great job with the characters, despite the book being kind of short each one was pretty fleshed out. I gave this four stars just because I wish it were a lot longer and I wasn't satisfied with the ending. But I can easily see why someone would give this five ...more
Jean Carlton
Dec 26, 2015 Jean Carlton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maugham's prose style is, on the surface, pretty straight forward but manages to pose much deeper issues to think about. His characters and situations resonate on many levels of human interaction, emotions and dilemmas. He's a master of showing instead of telling the reader - one is left with much to consider and for me, always something I can relate to in my own life. In this one, parental and societal expectations, heroism, duty, promises, 'you can't go home' etc. I recommend it.
Mike
Jun 28, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One can recognise several developing characters that come to fruition later in 'Of Human Bondage'. There are some nice touches where the countryside description reflects a character's emotion or reflections. As always with Maugham one must step back in time to understand some of the actions and reactions to events and social situations.
Rat Boy Hedonist
Mar 13, 2016 Rat Boy Hedonist rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maugham
what a fucking mong!!! more like the zero!!!
Marts  (Thinker)
Nov 04, 2016 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2016-reads
A tragic tale, yet it accurately reflects so many lives...
Rosy
May 31, 2012 Rosy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
How does a man who fought in a war for five years return to his former small hometown life? Jamie Parsons left Little Primpton a boy engaged to Mary Clibborn and returns five years later, wounded and with an altered view of the world. Little happens by way of plot, and the majority of the novel describes Jamie's internal struggle between his duty to marry his betrothed and his passion for another woman.

Although I found this novel less interesting than other works of Maugham, I still found it enj
...more
Hriday
Feb 02, 2013 Hriday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Excellent read. The plot is quite simple but the narrative, like all of Maugham's, is extremely impressive. Despite the geographic and time period barriers, there are many places where the reader identifies with the protagonist's dilemma, view points and arguments. Thereby, this book is eternal and immortal and will continue to be relevant so long as people fall in and out of love, believe and disbelieve in religion and obey or disobey authority.

A less-known but very impressive work of Somerset
...more
Val
May 10, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byt-main
A soldier returns from a war to his loving parents and his loving fiancee with a wound, a VC and a much broader view of the world than he had when he left as a youth.
There is a tyranny in love and a stifling of thought and expression in never looking outside one's own life. The young soldier is trapped.
Maugham could see outside the narrow confines of a middle-class English village. He undoubtedly found it stifling himself. His sympathies are with the young man.
This is an excellent novella, which
...more
Susan Zinner
Jun 20, 2014 Susan Zinner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this book about a soldier returning from a war which helped clarify his values; however, the ending was really disappointing (don't want to include a spoiler). I thought the whole point was that he was learning to define his values, challenge the conventional, narrow-minded views of his parents, community and fiancé and the ended struck me as a cop-out. That said, I continue to be a huge fan of Maugham and this one was really great.
Akash Malik
Jul 13, 2014 Akash Malik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story of a war hero returning home only to find his beliefs formed from direct experiences in direct conflict with the beliefs held by his folks and his society. Bewildered at being crowned a hero for committing murder of fellow human beings and with no one to confide his feelings with Jamie turns to despair.
Minna
Feb 27, 2015 Minna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5*
I was disappointed with the female characters in particular. Moreover, the plot unfolds slowly & drily, amidst what can only be described as a complete lack of atmosphere. It is, yet, a formidable & timeless story. Maugham is masterful at mocking religiosity.
Nick
May 12, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt like I was watching a forties movie about a quintessential sleepy village in England. The hero comes back from war. Story of a forbidden love, a love he doesn't want and his turmoil in deciding what to do about it.
Annabelle
Sep 09, 2016 Annabelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it
This novella has the trademark characters, plot and timeline of a typical Maugham short story. But the characters are too one-dimensional, save perhaps for Mary, who is The Real Hero of the story. File this under preview/prototype for Of Human Bondage.
ingrid
Dec 18, 2013 ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1906, hard to find, fairly short novel. Another classic Maugham. Central character is quickly set up in a difficult life predicament and the plot twists and turns while you wonder how or if the character, here an inadvertent war hero (from the Boer War), will get out of it
Russell Traughber
Dec 29, 2013 Russell Traughber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I'm enjoying the time spent on my quest to read all of Somerset Maugham's works. The Hero was written around 1901, an early novel. Well worth the read. To think that he was in his twenties. Bravo, William.
Ghaggard
Mar 23, 2014 Ghaggard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always love Maugham. Early work. Not his best, but still very good. Well drawn characters and social situations.
"And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!"
Patrick Schultheis
I love Maugham. His prose is exquisite. His characters are fascinating. The plot here dragged just a bit.

Great early work of Maugham's
J Heaps
One of Maugham's lesser known works. Not great but still interesting and very relatable. Abrupt ending...
Helena
Jul 23, 2013 Helena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written book, but slightly too depressing. I like Somerset Maughams books, but this was not one of my favorites.
Wendy
Dec 14, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Great book to brush up on your vocabulary if you can overlook the overuse of words like "prig," "cad" and "blackguard" lol.
Colleen
Colleen rated it liked it
Jan 30, 2014
Kt
Kt rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2016
Kevin
Kevin rated it really liked it
Sep 18, 2013
Nina
Nina rated it really liked it
May 21, 2016
Steve
Steve rated it really liked it
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William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost l
...more
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“No pain in love is so hard to bear as that which comes from the impossibility of doing any service from the well-beloved, and no service is so repulsive that love cannot make it delightful and easy.” 4 likes
“And they had a fairly pleasant time in Pretoria. Eventually, I believe, wars will be quite bloodless; rival armies will perambulate, and whenever one side has got into a good position, the other will surrender wholesale.” 1 likes
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