C.S. Forester
C.S. Forester

C. S. Forester is one of the great writers of the twentieth-century. His novels are distinguished by the famous Hornblower stories, and by ‘African Queen’ which was made into the famous film. He wrote many further works which prove a pleasure to explore.

His life – born in Egypt, brought up in south London, a failed medical student, the archetypal struggling young writer – covered both world wars, the last strains of the glory days of British Empire, and a move to Hollywood and final residence in the United Sates.

Two features that have ensured CSF’s enduring success are his prose style – simple, disciplined and keenly expressive – and his continuing observance of ‘the man alone’ as he describes Hornblower.

The C. S. Forester Society was established in 1998 to celebrate and promote the enjoyment of Forester’s literary works. This website offers you a brief biography written by his son John Forester – a loyal and enthusiastic member until his death in 2020 ; listings of his works and publication details; links to associated enthusiast and contact groups; and literary and anecdotal comments in our magazine ‘Reflections’ and the new ‘Reflections online‘.

Membership of the Society is free and we warmly welcome contributions to ‘Reflections online’.

Kingsley Amis : Fiction like (this) is bound to deliver, so why waste time on new stuff?

Raymond Chandler : Quite fascinating and wonderfully exact.

Winston Churchill : I find Hornblower admirable – vastly entertaining.

Ernest Hemingway : I recommend Hornblower to everyone literate I know.

“Star Trek” : Captain Kirk is Capt. Hornblower of the sailing ships. [He] was a great hero, and Hemingway said it is the most exciting adventure fiction in the human language.”

Boris Johnson : The true master of the genre.

C Day Lewis : So actual and breathlessly exciting that the reader will be feeling himself gingerly all over.

Please have also a look to our poll page

32 responses to “Welcome

  1. Is the Hornblower series still being printed and if so, by whom? Did any publisher have a matching set of these novels?


  2. Dear Jim

    Thank you for your enquiry to the C S Forester Society.

    Very many of C S Forester’s books remain in publication. The chief British publisher has always been Michael Joseph which now belongs to Penguin Books. You will find a list of CSFs in print by them, here: – https://www.penguin.co.uk/search/?q=c+s+forester&ps=100

    Also, the Folio Society is printing the complete Hornblower series. The first set is available below, and will be succeeded by all the others: – https://betatest.foliosociety.com/uk/the-hornblower-saga.html

    And of course, you can get second-hand copies on eBay. Also, Amazon is a good source.

    Please let me know how you get on and when I can help further

    Best regards

    Lawrie Brewer

    Editor, C S Forester Society


    • Hello,

      Where did CS Forester go for his research for the Hornblower books?
      Nautical terms and all of that.
      I basically wanna know everything on how to sail ships of the line.
      Thank you for your time,



  3. I’m a lifelong Hornblower fan and I’m glad to learn of the CSF Society. I have a question: did
    CSF ever write of the Indefatigable&Amazon’s fight with Les Droits de l’Homme? Hornblower recalls it briefly to memory in Ship of the Line, but I have not found an account of it in the series.
    Thank you,
    Andy Edgar


  4. Responding to Andy regarding Droits de l’Homme… The ship is only mentioned in passing thrice in the Hornblower canon, in The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line, and The Commodore. Each time the details are minimal, but clearly Hornblower was envisioned as being part of that historical action. None of the Hornblower short stories mention the incident,nor does the novel Mr. Midshipman Hornblower to which it would belong chronologically.

    Historically the action between Indefatigable, Amazon and the Droits de l’Homme took place on 13 and 14 January 1797. At that time Hornblower was commanding HM transport brig Caroline, under quarantine and sailing between Oran and Gibraltar. Exactly a month later he was peripherally involved in the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. It wouldn’t have been possible for Hornblower to have been involved with the Droits de l’Homme action without shifting its date some months earlier, to give Indefatigable time to refit and sail to Gibraltar.


  5. Heather Moore

    I have a few old paper cutting relating to CS Forester. I need to dispose of them. Happy to post them to the Society for the archive. I also have a nine Forester books mostly paperbacks. Please reply


  6. Steve Brainerd



  7. Michael Burch

    A few years ago I moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon. Recently I was looking for a book by C S Forester and online and discovered that many of his books have been digitized by a digital publishing firm firm here in Lake Oswego. Does anyone know what the connection is between Forester and Lake Oswego? Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Mike Burch


  8. Are any of the Hornblower series on audio books? As someone with dyslexia listening to audio is a godsend? I like to listen while I’m weaving, knitting, spinning, etc. I loved the tv series with Ioan Gruffudd but I’m sure they’re not 100% accurate. I enjoy everything about the Regency Era! From Jane Austen Rommances, to C.S. Forester and Bernard Cromwell adventures. I love Hornblower and Richard Sharpe as much as I love Mr. Darcy!!!! The able to listen to the books and not just watch the movies ad finitum would be awesome!!!


    • Hi Vani:
      Christian Rodska has created audio versions of the Hornblower saga which seem to be the most readily available currently. Searching online for his name and “Hornblower” should find an option that suits your circumstances.


    • Right ! You can find them in several places on the internet. Search : Forester + Hornblower + Rodska+ audiobooks.


  9. Lake Oswego was the residence of George Forester, younger son of CSF and the principal of eNet books, which digitized many of CSF’s works. GF is now dead, and the business is carried on by his widow, Rosemary and children.


    • Michael Burch

      Thanks very much for your help! It was surprising to move to this rather out of the way spot and discover that the great C S Forester was associated with it.


  10. Is there a nautical map of Hornblower’s adventures to follow as we read the books?


    • You’re after “The Hornblower Companion” which includes thirty maps, though mostly they should be called charts. It doesn’t appear to be in print but there are plenty of second-hand copies to be had.


  11. Paul Mackness

    I understand John Forester recently passed away – RIP.


  12. Charles Taberski

    Does anyone know when CSF moved to 1066 Park Hills
    Road, Berkeley, California? I live in this neighborhood and I suspect that he lived at this address when he wrote “The Good Shepard” which is currently being released as a movie starring Tom Hanks. If true, this would be an interesting fact to pass along to my neighbors in these interminable COVID times.

    I would address this query directly to his son John with whom I corresponded in the past. Sadly, as I just learned from your website that he passed in April.

    Thank you for any help you can offer in this matter


    • According to John Forester’s « Novelist and Storyteller » Forester lived in Berkeley at 1020 Keeler Avenue from 1940 to 1945, at 1570 Hawthorne Terrace to 1954 and then at 1066 Park Hills Road until 1964.


  13. please,Your comments on Long Before Forty which was criticised by his son.I was very concerned about this


  14. Ruben Andersson

    Aj Read Hornblower wen as ljung No am 63


  15. I was looking to write a seafaring historical book and soon found I was out of my depths but I did discover Hornblower in the process. I came to this from Wilbur Smith’s (who died less than a month ago) A Falcon Flies, that borrows heavily from Hornblower I noticed. My son is now also a fan! I have been frustrated these last few weeks trying to get a plan of the Indefatigable so we can learn all the words for parts of the ship together. I can’t find such a thing anywhere. The description of ships here comes close, but I’d been hoping for something more visual. I even thought there’d be a wonderful poster for Christmas! He’s sailing in a tall-ship Ketch next year and can sail dingy’s himself but still needs to learn all the nautical terms and get used to wind direction. I’ve printed loads of stuff off for him to help but if anyone knows where a clear plan of the the Indefatigable could be found that would be wonderful?


  16. Indefatigable is an Ardent Class 3rd rate ship of the libe, designed by Thomas Slade , others of the same design and class are: the prototype HMS Ardent, HMS Raissonable HMS Agamemnon HMS Belliqueux, HMS Stately & HMS Nassau ,


  17. HMS Indefatigable was built as a 64-gun, two-deck, 3rd rate ship of the line and was completed at Portsmouth in 1784 but she was never commissioned as such. From September 1794, still at Portsmouth, her top deck was removed, which is to say she was razéed, becoming a 44-gun, single-deck, 5th rate frigate. In December 1794 she was commisioned under Sir Edward Pellew but her fit-out as a frigate was not complete until February 1795.

    Indefatigable was clearly already in her cut-down form when Hornblower joined; she was described as a frigate even as Hornblower was offered the chance to transfer to her in early 1794. The first action described aboard takes place on the 1st of June 1794.


  18. thank you James Ashton, that info is awesome. first i’d heard of ‘razéed’ , Forester ( nee Smith) has Horatio enlist as a midshipman at 17yo, which is about 4 years late for the era of seaman enlistments, He does so as to enthuse 17yo anglo-phones across the globe to “beat them to quarters” in anticipation of the war against the totalitarian states emerging in 1930s europe. In his role as apparatchik for the Ministry of Information , Forester was employed to arouse the fighting spirit in the enlistable age group of the early 20th century, i.e 17 to 18 yo


  19. I am searching for a copy of both volumes of Novelist & Storyteller, the biography of CS Forester by John Forrester, his son. If anyone is willing to part with their copy, or have it reproduced, I will be interested.


  20. Can any please tell me where I can obtain an electronic (e.g. ePub) version of “Hornblower & The Crisis: A Novel Finished by R W Smith”? Barnes & Noble sell it for US$8.99 (www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hornblower-the-crisis-jetse-reijenga/1105794278), but I live in Australia so they will not sell it me me. I’d be grateful for advice, thank you.


  21. Forester’s schooldays, Long Before Forty refers to his early years at the LCC Lyndhurst school, then the scholarship to Christ’s Hospital, other bigraphies note he went only to Alleyn’s school and Dulwich College, Has anyone a definitive school by school and year by year chronology of his education before 1918?


  22. Kent Rasmussen

    I’ve just finished reading LIEUTENANT HORNBLOWER for perhaps the 12th time and still am bedeviled by a question that enters my mind every time I read that novel. After Hornblower and Bush each receive £100 in prize money in Jamaica, they blow all of it in a two-day “debauch” in Kingston. My question is this: On what could they have possibly spent that much money in Jamaica in the year 1800? I can imagine Bush gambling away £100 in two days, but I can’t imagine Hornblower doing that. Even if Hornblower had drunk heavily and engaged prostitutes non-stop for two days, could all that have cost him £100?


    • It is indeed a very large sum. I know what I would do with it if I were a sailor: first of all, to EAT like an ogre, and then… But there is no indication that the two friends are fond of this kind of thing. It’s strange that I never particularly noticed this passage.


  23. I am looking for copies of the two novels that are continuances of “Hornblower and the Crisis”

    One is by R.W. Smith , and the other is by John Mahabharata and entitled “The Jamaican Affair of 1805”…. I would be interested in both …..


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