Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk's Reviews > Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester
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's review
Mar 05, 12

bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, napoleonic-era
Read from March 01 to 04, 2012

I suppose there must have been a time when terms such as "mizzen-mast" and "top-sail", and a whole load of nautical expressions, were quite normal parlance and every boy dreamt of being a captain of a great wooden ship sailing the seas. I can understand that now. "Midshipman Hornblower" is entertaining and engrossing. It is actually ten short(ish) stories tracking the adventures of young Hornblower from his first day on a ship (a sort of floating Rugby School with its own equivalent of Flashman) to his first responsibility taking a prize back to England and all the way to his capture and imprisonment by the Spaniards. Stirring stuff! Hornblower is such a neat, clean-living, courageous young man - an example to us all.
The thing that really struck me was the use of language. There were just enough differences to make me think how much the written word had changed since I was born (the book was written around 1949). It actually felt more grown-up and the vocabulary seemed better educated... belonging to another world yet, compared to some writers in the 50s, still approachable and undated. Strange...
I'll be reading the rest of the series, of that I'm quite certain.

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