A Pawn Among Kings dustjacket

C.S. Forester
A Bibliography

Mark Wilden
Last updated June 26, 2011

Introduction  What's new?  Checklist  Bibliography  Catalog  Title index


C.S. Forester was a mid-20th century novelist who is most famous for the Hornblower series. Forester also wrote The African Queen.

The purpose of these pages is to provide a checklist for C.S. Forester readers, a bibliography containing first edition information for C.S. Forester collectors, and a catalog of my own collection (which is for sale). All important editions of C.S. Forester's books are identified and numbered. Omnibuses are cross-referenced to and from their contents. Contributions to books by other authors are identified. Adaptations published during Forester's lifetime (i.e., the Cadet series) are identified. A complete title index is provided.


Abbreviations for sources used to reference descriptions of copies are indicated in bold.

In addition, there is much interesting bibliographical information at the C.S. Forester Society website; especially in Reflections, its journal.


C.S. Forester bibliography begins with William Orobko (now Willow Arune), who compiled a complete list of British and U.S. editions of Forester's work for his compilation Hornblower—One More Time (1976). Orobko included some issue points, but did not indicate British and U.S. publishing priority.

The dean of C.S. Forester catalogists is surely George M. Barringer. Barringer was the primary contributor to Quill & Brush's C.S. Forester Author Price Guide (1995). Barringer prepared the catalog of the Georgetown University exhibit in 1999 which is quite similar to the APG catalog. He also contributed to the Firsts series on C.S. Forester in 2004.

The information on this website was generated by a bibliographical database program that I designed and wrote. This is the only software I know of that accounts for editions, issues, binding variants, and states in a structured manner.

The canonical title of a book, used in links and cross-references, is its first edition title, whether American or British.

Personal notes

I began compiling this list in 1995, during an extended campervan tour of Europe. The front matter of Hornblower books I'd read referred to other C.S. Forester books about Poo-Poo, dragons, marionettes, Brown's views on the moral quality of resolution, and the mysterious 97th U. At first I simply wanted to find and read copies of all of these books, most of which were out of print, but could be found in Britain's many used bookshops.

I wasn't a collector and had no interest in first editions. However, I quickly upgraded my quest to find "nice" hardbound copies of all the Hornblowers. By the time I reached Hay-on-Wye, a hundred bookshops later, I was ready to become seriously hooked, and having an entire town brimming with (to me) unknown Foresters was all it took.

After deciding to collect C.S. Forester, I spent way too much time on him instead of having fun in Britain with my family. I was able to get a reader's card for the British Library, where I uncovered some interesting trivia, and examined copies of the few books I hadn't found during my troll through the bookshops of the British Isles. I met other serious Forester collectors and dealers. I startled the warden of the Crystal Palace campsite when he found me surrounded by index cards in the laundry room—tapping Forester notes into the laptop I had bought. But after nine months in Britain, I finally shipped home dozens of boxes of books and crossed the Channel to resume the life of a tourist.

Over the years, my collection evolved into a representative if not superlative catalog of C.S. Forester's work. There are only three of his books I haven't owned (U 97, Nurse Cavell and Two-and-Twenty), and I have examined copies of these in the British Library. I've long been interested in the semi-scholarship of listing of book descriptions—that is, bibliography—so I figured if anyone was going to prepare an authoritative C.S. Forester bibliography, it really should be me.