Customer Reviews


42 Reviews
5 star:
 (21)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stories of war at sea ever written
Cecil Scott Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, but before writing the "Hornblower" novels about Nelson's navy he wrote many other books, from "Death to the French" to "The Peacemaker."

This little gem, "The Ship" describes the action seen by the crew of a light cruiser in the course of an afternoon's fighting as they struggle against...
Published on 27 July 2004

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Ship...A Naval text book story!
For any devotee of naval warfare books,then this story of a decisive battle at sea against superior odds (the might of the Italian navy) is a good read
It has to be said that at times it's like reading the Royal Navy's battle manual. Yes the characters are adequately given life by descriptions of their backgrounds and characters but there is very little interplay...
Published 19 months ago by paul aidan richardson


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stories of war at sea ever written, 27 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ship (Paperback)
Cecil Scott Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, but before writing the "Hornblower" novels about Nelson's navy he wrote many other books, from "Death to the French" to "The Peacemaker."

This little gem, "The Ship" describes the action seen by the crew of a light cruiser in the course of an afternoon's fighting as they struggle against overwhelming odds to get a vital convoy through to Malta during World War II.

Each chapter starts with a few words from the captain's official report of the battle and then describes what this meant from the viewpoint of the human beings involved, from the captain himself down to the most junior seaman. The contrast between the dry, understated language of the official document and the suffering and heroism of the real events can be very powerful. And the amount of detail packed into the book about life on a 1940's warship is amazing.

On the way the book includes a large number of brilliant pen portraits of members of the ship's company and how they do their jobs, from the captain up to the lookouts in the crows nest and down to the bowels of the ship where the bigamous Torpedo Gunner's Mate keeps the electrical system going and a stoker is posted in a dark shaft tunnel to watch the bearings and keep the screws turning.

Many of these pen portraits are quite unforgettable, from the 20 year old seaman who was a brilliant poet but whose genius only one man would ever have the opportunity to appreciate, to the seaman who is ordered to save the ship by flooding a magazine - and finds the wheel he has to turn to obey that order is red hot and burns at the touch ...

When you read a tale of a heroic battle against impossible odds you tend to assume that the author has made up the story, but in this case you would be wrong.

Although this novel is fiction it appears to have been inspired by the two 1942 convoy actions at Sirte. In both of these battles, forces of Royal Navy light cruisers and destroyers under Admiral Phillip Vian, escorting supplies to Malta, ran into much heavier Italian forces commanded by Admiral Iachino, flying his flag in the battleship "Littorio." Aspects of the story appear to include elements of both actions, but in particular the ebb and flow of the battle in this book and the tactics used by both admirals appear to precisely correspond to those in the real second battle of Sirte on the afternoon of 22nd March 1942.

"The Ship" is dedicated to the officers and ship's company of HMS Penelope, one of the cruisers which took part in the second battle of Sirte. CS Forester, who worked for the Ministry of Information during the war, visited HMS Penelope while she was being repaired in America and sailed on her trial cruise after the repairs. I am told that he heard about the story of the two battles at Sirte at that time.

"The Ship" can therefore in one sense be seen as wartime propaganda, though not in the perjorative meaning of that word: although it is completely partisan as between the Allies and the Axis powers the book is also sincere and to the best of my knowledge presents an accurate picture of what war at sea was like.

Some readers may find "The Ship" a little jingoistic. However, the real men and women who stood up to the nazis and their allies sometimes had to display heroism comparable to that in this book and perhaps they had something to be proud of.

There are four classic novels of World War II at sea: "H.M.S. Ulysses" by Alastair MacLean, "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Montsarrat, "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk, and "The Ship" by C.S. Forester. In my opinion, "The Ship" is the best of the four.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stories of war at sea ever written, 25 Nov. 2008
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ship (Hardcover)
Cecil Scott Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, but before writing the "Hornblower" novels about Nelson's navy he wrote many other books, from "Death to the French" to "The Peacemaker."

This little gem, "The Ship" describes the action seen by the crew of a light cruiser in the course of an afternoon's fighting as they struggle against overwhelming odds to get a vital convoy through to Malta during World War II.

Each chapter starts with a few words from the captain's official report of the battle and then describes what this meant from the viewpoint of the human beings involved, from the captain himself down to the most junior seaman. The contrast between the dry, understated language of the official document and the suffering and heroism of the real events can be very powerful. And the amount of detail packed into the book about life on a 1940's warship is amazing.

On the way the book includes a large number of brilliant pen portraits of members of the ship's company and how they do their jobs, from the captain up to the lookouts in the crows nest and down to the bowels of the ship where the bigamous Torpedo Gunner's Mate keeps the electrical system going and a stoker is posted in a dark shaft tunnel to watch the bearings and keep the screws turning.

Many of these pen portraits are quite unforgettable, from the 20 year old seaman who was a brilliant poet but whose genius only one man would ever have the opportunity to appreciate, to the seaman who is ordered to save the ship by flooding a magazine - and finds the wheel he has to turn to obey that order is red hot and burns at the touch ...

This Michael Joseph 1943 edition is the wartime original, which went through several printings but is quite rare now. More than just the text provides a little insight into history: my copy has a little lion logo facing the dedication page with "Book Production War Economy Standard" and the statement "This book is produced in complete conformity with the authorised economy standards." But whatever they did to the printing process to keep book production from using some scarce wartime resource apparently did not affect the longevity of the books: sixty five years and many readings later my copy is still in reasonable condition.

When you read a tale of a heroic battle against impossible odds you tend to assume that the author has made up the story, but in this case you would be wrong.

Although this story is fiction it appears to have been inspired by the two 1942 convoy actions at Sirte. In both of these battles, forces of Royal Navy light cruisers and destroyers under Admiral Phillip Vian, escorting supplies to Malta, ran into much heavier Italian forces commanded by Admiral Iachino, flying his flag in the battleship "Littorio." Aspects of the story appear to include elements of both actions, but in particular the ebb and flow of the battle in this book and the tactics used by both admirals appear to precisely correspond to those in the real second battle of Sirte on the afternoon of 22nd March 1942.

"The Ship" is dedicated to the officers and ship's company of HMS Penelope, one of the cruisers which took part in the second battle of Sirte. CS Forester, who worked for the Ministry of Information during the war, visited HMS Penelope while she was being repaired in America and sailed on her trial cruise after the repairs. I am told that he heard about the story of the two battles at Sirte at that time.

"The Ship" can therefore in one sense be seen as wartime propaganda, though not in the perjorative meaning of that word: although it is completely partisan as between the Allies and the Axis powers the book is also sincere and to the best of my knowledge presents an accurate picture of what war at sea was like.

Some readers may find "The Ship" a little jingoistic. However, the real men and women who stood up to the nazis and their allies sometimes had to display heroism comparable to that in this book and perhaps they had something to be proud of.

There are four classic novels of World War II at sea: "H.M.S. Ulysses" by Alastair MacLean, "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Montsarrat, "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk, and "The Ship" by C.S. Forester. In my opinion, "The Ship" is the best of the four.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British light cruisers vs Italian battleships in the Medd, 20 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ship (Paperback)
This Forester book was written during World War II and could have been published by the Royal Navy or the British government (it wasn't). Aside from the sometimes bombastic patriotism that occassionally creeps into the story (brave British jacktars face down Italian bully boys), the book is an excellent and detailed description of a British light cruiser fighting overwhelming odds under difficult conditions. Forester takes you through the ship, from the captain on the bridge to the lowest engine room rating oiling the shaft bearings in the bowels of the ship. If you like Forester, you will enjoy The Ship.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Still has it's power, 1 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
I read this more than forty years ago for 'O-Level' Literature. Was fascinated by it then and again this time around. A very brutal but honest story of the Royal Navy in the med Med in WWII a piece of pure craftsmanship.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of a fighting ship, 28 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
This is a fascinating account of what it was like to have taken part in a major World War II sea battle. CS Forester, best known for his Hornblower novels portraying an earlier time at sea, goes into meticulous detail to work up a picture of a crew, and a machine, coping with war.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Ship., 17 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Paperback)
This is the first C.S.Forester book I have read and I was most impressed.His portrayal of the crew members is excellent and his description of the battle faultless.

I am now looking forward to reading HMS Ulysses.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The Ship, 13 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
I think some of the writers books have been better very confusing in parts although I enjoyed it I would have to check if the rest of his books are the same.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The Ship, 30 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
The book describes life on a light Cruiser in the Med and the battle that takes part in. I enjoyed reading it but it doesn't match up to Alistair Macleans HMS Ulysses. Don't let that put you off reading it though as HMS Ulysses is a hard book to follow on this subject
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Re-read after many years, 27 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
First read these many years ago, I am a fan of hornblower and decided to re-read these.
Well written and give a good insight to some of the practicalities of war
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 27 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
A book where the story surrounds segments of the whole crew rather than one or two designated heros as is the norm.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Ship
The Ship by C.S. Forester (Paperback - 1 Sept. 2011)
£6.86
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews