Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review: The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd
C. S. Forester
Naval fiction

There's a long and honorable tradition of destroyer-vs.-submarine novels. (One of the all-time great Star Trek episodes, "Balance of Terror," is for all intents and purposes the same thing.) The Good Shepherd is one of the best–and most realistic. It's written in dry, clipped, matter-of-fact prose . . . and it's hard to put down. It works as a war story, but it also works as a subtle character study.

I read The Good Shepherd in high school. I was pleased to discover that I like it just as much today.


  1. I love The Good Shepherd. I happened to pick it up at the book-swap in grad school, only knowing the author, and I sat down in the old Tasty (RIP) to read it while I ate dinner, and I didn't leave till I was done. I read it again about five years ago and found it was just as good.
    I've idly speculated that Commander Krause may be based on someone Forester knew when he was living on the American west coast during the war. Certainly he's a very believable American, a "fighting Lutheran" very unlike Forester's generally quietly free-thinking Englishmen.

    1. Yeah! One of the great things about the book is that it gives you a fully-rounded character portrait without ever breaking out of a minute-by-minute narration of the action. The whole thing is written as though we're overhearing Krause's interior monologue, including the intrusive thoughts that come at the wrong time.