Containing previously unknown facts, this new two volume biography of C. S. Forester by his son, John Forester offers a fresh look at this prolific writer. Most may expect this telling of a writer's life by that writer's son to be a puff-piece but this unique effort may reflect more an honest evaluation of a parent by a son trying to understand a father in that son's more mature years. The author shares with us his sometimes stormy relationship with his father and this may help us better understand the father. But just as important as the story of two men developing their own characters is the story of a masterful novelist developing his talent over a lifetime and the story of the many unforgettable characters Forester's special mind created for us. Of course, most readers will want to learn about Hornblower (one of the few fictional characters with a biography), where that name came from, and what mechanism the father used to develop the many characters in his novels. Did C. S. Forester use history to assist the accuracy of his scenes and plots? I heard Patrick O'Brian praised the manner in which Forester described his battle scenes and discussed admiringly his sources.
The biography provides much information about the development of Forester's characters and plots as only a son could who watched the work develop and who was able to ask questions as the work progressed. And only a son would know the intimate details of, for example, why Forester left Hollywood and why his pre-war work never appeared on film. Many will find interesting yet more information about the early days of Hollywood when many writers, like Faulkner, Nathaniel West, and Hemingway were drawn to the salaries paid by the movies. Others may be startled to learn that Forester played an important role in the propaganda used by the UK to encourage the US’s entrance into WW2 . Several photographs from the family album illustrate the books.
Author: John Forester
Title: Novelist & Storyteller: The Life of C. S. Forester (In 2 volumes)
First Published by: Privately by John Forester, limited to 250 copies numbered, and autographed by the author
Date: November 2000