The Good Shepherd, adapted as the film Greyhound

The Book

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A convoy of thirty-seven merchant ships is ploughing through icy, submarine-infested North Atlantic seas during the most critical days of World War II, when the German submarines had the upper hand and Allied shipping was suffering heavy losses. In charge is Commander George Krause, an untested veteran of the U.S. Navy. Hounded by a wolf pack of German U-boats, he faces 48 hours of desperate peril trapped the bridge of the ship. Exhausted beyond measure, he must make countless and terrible decisions as he leads his small fighting force against the relentless U-boats.

The Good Shepherd has been adapted into a major motion picture, Greyhound, scripted by and starring Tom Hanks.

The Author

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C. S. Forester (1899-1966) wrote several novels with military and naval themes, including The African Queen, The Barbary Pirates, The General, The Good Shepherd, The Gun, The Last Nine Days of the “Bismarck,” and Rifleman Dodd. But Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, a British naval genius of the Napoleonic era, whose exploits and adventures on the high seas Forester chronicled in a series of eleven acclaimed historical novels. Over the years Hornblower has proved to be one of the most beloved and enduring fictional heroes in English literature, his popularity rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes.

Born Cecil Louis Troughton Smith in Cairo, Egypt, Forester grew up in London. At the start of World War II he traveled on behalf of the British government to America, where he produced propaganda encouraging the United States to remain on Britain’s side. After the War, Forester remained in America and made Berkeley, California, his home.

My Thoughts

Thirty-seven ships carrying supplies to Britain in a convoy, with only two destroyers and two escorts to guard then, come upon a wolfpack of U-boats. This is the story of the captain of one of the destroyers, the son of a minister and graduate of Annapolis, who is untested in battle. It’s the account of a harrowing twenty-four hours, following the captain’s thought, even Scripture verses he’d memorized, decisions made following military training and demeanor even without meals and enough rest.

This remarkable story is the basis for the Tom Hanks movie “Greyhound.” Hanks adapted C. S. Forester’s book for the film.

7 comments

  1. Great review. Great author. I read all of the Hornblower series as a kid as well as several of his other works. Now I will have to read this one too … and see the movie!

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