Where's the Love?
After searching online databases, the SFU library, and the internet, I noticed that there was very little available information regarding The General. The only book I could find on the subject was a biography of Forester, by Sanford Sternlicht, which comments briefly on all his works. It includes a few pages about the The General, however, there was a lot more information about the Hornblower series, in the book and in other sources. I started to wonder why this was, but I still do not have a complete answer.
The General is a brilliant novel, which relies on the art of storytelling in order to illuminate one of the reasons why the war happened the way that it did. The characterization of Curzon is wonderful and the descriptions of battle are engaging, yet, the book does not seem to be widely regarded as an important piece of literature because it has not won any awards, and as mentioned in class, it is rarely taught in schools. I think perhaps it may partly have to do with the unwillingness of people to deal with issues surrounding World War One. Even when I was in high school, this world-changing event was quickly glossed over, leaving students a little dazed and confused. Also, there does not seem to be a specific cause, but Forester's work points a critical finger towards generals like Curzon. It contains messages that may be a little frightening or alarming to some people. For instance, Forester seems to be blaming patriotism as a detrimental feature of the war because people like Curzon did what they were told since they thought it was for the good of the country. Also, thousands of people voluntarily put themselves into the war out of a sense of duty to Britain. There seems to be a condemnation of leadership as well, which was mentioned in class very briefly. So, to some, these ideas would be disturbing, and Britain would not want to teach a book, or give it recognition if people interpreted its meaning very simplistically as "patriotism and the leaders of the country are bad." By the time World War Two rolled around, Hitler was using the book against Britain, as mentioned in a previous post, and Lord Haw Haw, a British traitor was broadcasting passages from it to the army and the rest of England (Sternlicht 32). This probably explains why it was not a popular work immediately following the second war. I am still curious what other people think regarding this topic.