C S Forester Biography & Facts
Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (27 August 1899 – 2 April 1966), known by his pen name Cecil Scott "C. S." Forester, was an English novelist known for writing tales of naval warfare, such as the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic wars. The Hornblower novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1938. His other works include The African Queen (1935; turned into a 1951 film by John Huston) and The Good Shepherd (1955; turned into a 2020 film, Greyhound, adapted by and starring Tom Hanks).
Forester was born in Cairo. After the family broke up when he was still at an early age his mother took him with her to London, where he was educated at Alleyn's School and Dulwich College. He began to study medicine at Guy's Hospital, but left without completing his degree. He was of good height and somewhat athletic, but wore glasses and had a slender physique, so he failed his Army physical and was told that there was no chance that he would be accepted. He began writing seriously, using his pen name, in around 1921.
Second World War
During the Second World War Forester moved to the United States, where he worked for the British Ministry of Information and wrote propaganda to encourage the U.S. to join the Allies. He eventually settled in Berkeley, California.
In 1942, while he was living in Washington, D.C., he met Roald Dahl and encouraged him to write about his experiences in the RAF. According to Dahl's autobiography, Lucky Break, Forester asked him about his experiences as a fighter pilot, and this prompted Dahl to write his first story, "A Piece of Cake".
Forester wrote many novels, but he is best known for the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series about an officer in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. He began the series with Hornblower fairly high in rank in the first novel, which was published in 1937, but demand for more stories led him to fill in Hornblower's life story, and he wrote novels detailing his rise from the rank of midshipman. The last completed novel was published in 1962. Hornblower's fictional adventures were based on real events, but Forester wrote the body of the works carefully to avoid entanglements with real world history, so that Hornblower is always off on another mission when a great naval battle occurs during the Napoleonic Wars.
Forester's other novels include The African Queen (1935) and The General (1936); two novels about the Peninsular War, Death to the French (published in the United States as Rifleman Dodd) and The Gun (filmed as The Pride and the Passion in 1957); and seafaring stories that do not involve Hornblower, such as Brown on Resolution (1929), The Captain from Connecticut (1941), The Ship (1943), and Hunting the Bismarck (1959), which was used as the basis of the screenplay for the film Sink the Bismarck! (1960). Several of his novels have been filmed, including The African Queen (1951), directed by John Huston. Forester is also credited as story writer on several films not based on his published novels, including Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942).
Forester also wrote several volumes of short stories set during the Second World War. Those in The Nightmare (1954) were based on events in Nazi Germany, ending at the Nuremberg trials. The stories in The Man in the Yellow Raft (1969) follow the career of the destroyer USS Boon, while many of the stories in Gold from Crete (1971) follow the destroyer HMS Apache. The last of the stories in Gold from Crete is If Hitler Had Invaded England, which offers an imagined sequence of events starting with Hitler's attempt to implement Operation Sea Lion and culminating in the early military defeat of Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941.
His non-fiction works about seafaring include The Age of Fighting Sail (1956), an account of the sea battles between Great Britain and the United States in the War of 1812.
Forester also published the crime novels Payment Deferred (1926) and Plain Murder (1930), as well as two children's books. Poo-Poo and the Dragons (1942) was created as a series of stories told to his son George to encourage him to finish his meals. George had mild food allergies and needed encouragement to eat. The Barbary Pirates (1953) is a children's history of early 19th-century pirates.
Forester appeared as a contestant on the television quiz programme You Bet Your Life, hosted by Groucho Marx, in an episode broadcast on 1 November 1956.A previously unknown novel of Forester's, The Pursued, was discovered in 2003 and published by Penguin Classics on 3 November 2011.
Forester married Kathleen Belcher in 1926. They had two sons, John, born in 1929, and George, born in 1933. The couple divorced in 1945. In 1947 he married Dorothy Foster.
Forester died in Fullerton, California on 2 April 1966.
John Forester wrote a two-volume biography of his father, including many elements of Forester's life which became clear to his son only after his father's death.
1950 Mr Midshipman Hornblower. Michael Joseph.
1941 "The Hand of Destiny".Collier's
1950 "Hornblower and the Widow McCool" ("Hornblower’s Temptation" ""Hornblower and the Big Decision"). The Saturday Evening Post
1952 Lieutenant Hornblower. Michael Joseph.
1962 Hornblower and the Hotspur. Michael Joseph.
1967 Hornblower and the Crisis, an unfinished novel. Michael Joseph. Published in the US as Hornblower During the Crisis (posthumous)
1953 Hornblower and the Atropos. Michael Joseph.
1937 The Happy Return. Michael Joseph. Published in the US as Beat to Quarters
1938 A Ship of the Line. Michael Joseph.
1941 "Hornblower's Charitable Offering". Argosy
1938 Flying Colours. Michael Joseph.
1941 "Hornblower and His Majesty". Collier's
1945 The Commodore. Michael Joseph. Published in the US as Commodore Hornblower
1946 Lord Hornblower. Michael Joseph.
1958 Hornblower in the West Indies. Michael Joseph. Published in the US as Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
1967 "The Last Encounter". Sunday Mirror, 8 May 1966 (posthumous).
1964 The Hornblower Companion. Michael Joseph. (Supplementary book comprising another short story, "The Point and the Edge" only as an outline, "The Hornblower Atlas" and "Some Personal Notes")Omnibus
1964 The Young Hornblower. (a compilation of books 1, 2 & 3). Michael Joseph.
1965 Captain Hornblower (a compilation of books 5, 6 & 7). Michael Joseph.
1968 Admiral Hornblower (a compilation of books 8, 9, 10 & 11). Michael Joseph.
2011 Hornblower Addendum – Five Short Stories (originally published in magazines)Other novels
1924 A Pawn among Kings. Methuen.
1924 The Paid Piper. Methuen.
1926 Payment Deferred. Methuen.
1927 Love Lies Dreaming. John Lane.
1927 The Wonderful Week. John Lane.
1928 The Daughter of the Hawk. John Lane.
1929 Brown on Resolution. John Lane.
1930 Plain Murder. John Lane.
1931 Two-and-T.... Discover the C S Forester popular books. Find the top 100 most popular C S Forester books.