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The African Queen

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,076 ratings  ·  371 reviews
A classic story of adventure and romance - the novel that inspired the legendary movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart

A fast-moving tale and a very good yarn...Mr Forester again and again proves himself a master of suspense - New York Times Book Review

As World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle, Charlie Allnutt and Rose Sayer, a dishevelled trader
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 30th 1984 by Back Bay Books (first published 1935)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,076 ratings  ·  371 reviews


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Brina
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first time in 2017 I participated in bingo in the group catching up on classics. One square is read a classic romance and initially I was thrown for a loss because I do not even read contemporary romance as a genre. After typing classic romance into lists one of the books offered was The African Queen by C. S. Forester. I had been exposed to the movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn many times because it is one of my mother's favorite movies, but had never read the 1935 cl ...more
Henry Avila
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the remote German colony of East Africa, now Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, comprising 7 million natives and ten thousand Europeans, today 75 million, they finally learn war has begun in faraway Europe, this is August 1914, the most lethal conflict in history, twenty years later a bigger one commences, but that is another story, you'd think nobody cares here about distant Europe...wrong, people bring their loyalties, suspicions and loathings with them. The Great Lakes area of central Africa in ...more
Carol
This 1935 classic is a wonderful old-fashioned love story full of adventure and suspense. Set deep in the African jungle with WWI about to break loose, prim and proper missionary Rosie Sayer and scruffy trader Charlie Allnut, an unlikely pair to say the least, escape down the Ulanga River in his old beat-up boat The African Queen to escape the Germans.

While enduring infestations of biting flies, masses of mosquitos, bouts of malaria and flying bullets to boot, Rosie and Charlie fall in love and

...more
Duane
This novel by C.S. Forester was published in 1935. The more famous movie was filmed in 1951. I saw the movie first, so when I read the book I pictured, in my mind, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Nothing unusual about that, I imagine everyone does the same. But it has been many years since I saw the movie, and then only once, so I don’t remember if the movie followed the book, or not so much. So, the point of all this rambling is, as I read the book all the scenes were playing in my mind ...more
Bettie☯
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Koivu
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was a big fan of C.S. Forester's Hornblower series and had become completely enthralled by that world. So reading The African Queen and other Forester works like The General directly after finishing the Hornblower series felt strange. I still enjoyed them. Forester was a very solid writer. But those books were their own thing, separated by time and setting. It took some switching of gears to get into them and then they were done. Finished before I could get invested in the characters as I had ...more
Jim
If you think the movie was good, wait until you read the book! The book was written in 1935, so while Germans were the bad guys, they weren't the villains of the 1951 movie. It made for a much better ending. (view spoiler) ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
[7/10]
The launch hardly seemed worthy of her grandiloquent name of African Queen . She was squat, flat-bottomed, and thirty feet long. Her paint was peeling off her, and she reeked of decay. A tattered awning roofed in six feet of the stern; amidships stood the engine and boiler, with the stumpy funnel reaching up just higher than the awning.

Two people are thrown together into this derelict boat by the fortunes of war. It is 1914 and the events in Europe are echoed in the middle of Africa as t
...more
Nancy Oakes
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk-fiction
If you do a quick scan through reviews for this book, quite a number of them read something like this:

...this is one case where the movie was better.
...I should have just stuck with the movie and not bothered with the book
...The book pales in comparison with the movie
...and so on

That's all fine and well. Yes, the movie is excellent. Yes, books brought to life are often much more interesting than the original work itself. But can't books just be reviewed on their own, without having to compare th
...more
Alaina
Before I go into this review, I feel like I should mention that I probably wouldn't have read this book if I wasn't in a particular challenge that features read books set in Africa. Now that doesn't mean that I didn't like the book or that I hated it - because that's not the case. It was new and different for me and I thought it was just an okay kind of read. However, I will blame work for me not liking it as much as I probably should've because I work with annoying people all day, every day.

Whe
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Terris
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I loved this story of Rose & Charlie going down an African river (with rapids!) in an old beat up boat -- "The African Queen." Their goal is to get to the lake in central Africa where a German ship patrols (WWI) and try to torpedo it "for England!" As they travel down the river they encounter many exciting adventures, and also enjoy a very interesting, and sweet, relationship.

I liked it a lot, but I was not quite satisfied with the ending, and thought "Why didn't Forester write the ending as
...more
Daren
As World War One breaks out, the two lead characters in this book are deep in German Central Africa. The first, the spinster sister of the reverend, who has spent ten years at his side is left alone after her brother passes away. The second is an engineer from a Belgian gold mine two hundred miles further upstream.
Two English people, in the circumstances of the war, they have little other option but to band together to try and find a way out, in the small near derelict launch named The African Q
...more
Ed
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adventure fans
Recommended to Ed by: Saw the movie.
I really got into this wartime adventure romance even if it is sometimes on the corny side. I saw the Bogart and Hepburn movie version years ago, and I don't remember enough if it faithfully follows the novel. Rose Sayer, the thirty-three-year-old missionary's sister, is a tough heroine, sort of an early twentieth-century Laura Croft with a British accent. She and Charlie Allnutt make a great pair of protagonists in their far-fetched mission to take out the German warship on the African lake. Th ...more
Mike
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have never watched the movie (only brief clips) so I was fresh to the story. And what a great story! Some of the hottest, sexiest scenes conveyed in non-explicit language. He does what all great authors do, let you imagine you are there and fantasize.... 5 Stars
La Petite Américaine
The African Queen is one of those few ass-kicking novels that comes along and reminds me that there is the occasional sparkling gem of classic genius buried beneath the massive dung heap of contemporary fiction.

Don't read this book to find the movie in written form. The book and the movie are two different things. The film features Katharine Hepburn in varying states of gorgeous as she travels wild-eyed down a river with the inimitable Humphrey Bogart in an opposites-attract love story. The nov
...more
Betty
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes adventure
The African Queen by C.S. Forester

What can I really say about the book The African Queen that isn’t already well-known as an award-winning movie? Originally published in 1935, this exceptional book was fairly closely reproduced in the movie in 1951 with relatively minor changes, the most obvious being that the main male character, Charlie Allnutt, was (and is) written as a Cockney character, whereas Humphrey Bogart, who played the role, was unable to carry this accent off and the character was r
...more
brian dean
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
The only example I can think of where the movie is, hands down, better than the book.

Forrester can describe boats and nautical stuff better than anyone but he cannot write romance at all.
Leslie
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, fast book though the ending was different from the movie version. I must have seen Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in the film 10 times & it was interesting to get to know the characters a bit more in depth.
Rita
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember when I read this but it is so good. It's even better than the movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn
Bill
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The African Queen by C.S. Forester might be better known for the movie based on this excellent book. I've seen this movie, starring Kate Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart many times and I'm glad to finally have finally sat down to enjoy the book.
The book was originally published in 1935 and is set during the First World War in Central Africa. I've read a fair bit about WWI but generally it's been focused on the European theater. It was interesting to read a book set in this location. Rose Sayer and he
...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
Samantha Bond and Toby Jones star in a new dramatisation of C.S. Forester's classic World War 1 novel.

Set in 1915, Rose Sayer's work as a missionary comes to an abrupt end when the village she and her brother, Reverend Samuel Sayer, live in is invaded by the German army. Samuel dies of fever and Rose blames the ungodly Germans for having ground him down and frightened off the entire village.

Patriotically, but naively, Rose conceives of blowing up a German warship thus he
...more
Howard
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Re-read
Steve Shilstone
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before Horatio Hornblower, there were Charlie Allnut and Rose Sayer coaxing an elderly wheezing boat down a river in central Africa. Includes probably the 6 most thrilling running the rapids pages ever written.
Rebecca
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd always loved the Horatio Hornblower books; separately, I loved the Bogart/Hepburn film The African Queen. I had no idea that the latter was based on a book by the author of the former.

The majority of this book is charming. At the same time, it's an adventure tale and a romance. Rose the missionary's sister is a passionate, ingenious, and courageous woman who always smothered her own spirit in service to her brother's dreams. Allnut is a bit lazy, a bit of a coward, and not all that bright. I
...more
Suzanne
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This falls somewhere around a 2.50 for me.

I liked the movie better, although it was a very long time ago I saw it. Parts of the book, particularly the arc of Rose’s character development, seemed highly unlikely. In ten days she goes from a repressed spinster and a woman completely subservient to men all her life, especially her minister brother, to an assertive, take-charge type who’s discovered her sensual side, completely forgetting her upbringing and conditioning of 33 years.

There was also
...more
Bob
An excellent read from beginning to end. Could'nt help but remember the movie, that just put faces to the characters, no harm done, it added to the enjoyment. I have seen the movie, it differs from the books beginning and end, especially the ending. Personally I like both. Unlike the movie the book leaves it up to the reader to decide the future for Roise and Charlie. Will there be a happy ever after for them. Can their love survive now that the great adventure is over.
Nathan
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fun stuff! Two very different Brits team up for a wartime adventure on an African river. The characters were quirky, a bit snarly, but lovable. I was rooting for them both the whole time, even when they were at each other's throats.
Madeline K. Worrell
I have enjoyed this movie several times and could only visualize Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart as the characters in this novel.

I found Ms. Hepburn’s portrayal in the movie much more likeable; she seemed overly bossy and controlling in the novel.
Allen Hornbuckle
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be very interesting. It had a British wit that seemed to say far more about the world, but it never really came out and said it directly, and all of it seemed caked in a dry humor that can be hard to pick up on, if the reader isn’t looking. I thought it entertaining and fast paced. It left me unclear about a lot of subjects that this book touches on, since it doesn’t land with a strong conclusion for many of them, and the ending is quite abrupt. I do like the psychological p ...more
AndrewP
This book is the little known source material from which the very famous movie was made.

It's an adventure story of one man and one womans adventure in Africa during the beginning of the war. They attempt an impossible trip down a mostly uncharted river in deepest Africa.

A good adventure story although I think the ending differs from the film. Not 100% sure of that as it's been a long time since I have seen it.
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Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded t ...more
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