A forgotten masterpiece of the twentieth century, introduced in a new foreword by Max Hastings who considers this novel to be the best portrait of ... Show synopsis A forgotten masterpiece of the twentieth century, introduced in a new foreword by Max Hastings who considers this novel to be the best portrait of British higher command in World War One. Best known for his famous Hornblower novels, C.S Forester's 'The General' is a penetrating masterpiece: the depiction of a very ordinary British Army officer. Herbert Curzon is an honest, dutiful man of his time, and yet, from earning fortuitous distinction in the Second Boer War to his promotion as commander of a regiment on the outbreak of the Great War, his inevitable rise is shadowed by the massive, wasteful casualties under his command. Not callous or brutal, but simply unreflective, Curzon's lack of insight, like so many among the High Command, condemns his men to the horrors of guns, shells and gas of the war machine. With an advantageous marriage, his connections soon see him directing a hundred thousand soldiers to do what he sees as the best for their country. But still he prizes sheer force - more men, weapons and courage - above understanding and, ultimately, life. A searing insight into the military mind and the military machine which few writers have matched, Forrester examines what manner of man could have done as the commanders of 1914-18 did, and the calamity which dwarfed them in scale and intractability.