I first read C. S. Forester’s Beat to Quarters as a teenager in the mid-1970s. I remember it as having been included in a Readers’ Digest Condensed Book, but the Wikipedia listing of these books doesn’t seem to back that up. Could the list on Wikipedia be incomplete? (Doesn’t seem likely.)

Does anybody know whether or not Beat to Quarters was ever published in a Readers’ Digest edition? Or maybe as part of some other anthology? Would have to be something published before circa 1978.

1 Answer 1


Could it have been a ‘cadet’ edition? These are listed on the Hornblower page of Wikipedia

Four "Cadet Editions" were released by Little Brown and later by Michael Joseph, each collecting two Hornblower novels and edited for younger readers: Hornblower Goes to Sea (1953, 1954), from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower; Hornblower Takes Command (1953, 1954), from Hornblower and The Atropos and Beat To Quarters; Hornblower in Captivity (1939, 1955), from A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours; and Hornblower's Triumph (1946, 1955), from Commodore Hornblower and Lord Hornblower.

Failing that, there is this edition:

Reader's Digest Best Loved Books For Young Readers: Vol. 3: Captain Horatio Hornblower; Jane Eyre; My Friend Flicka; Alone source

Per Wikipedia again

The first three novels written, The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line, and Flying Colours were collected as Captain Horatio Hornblower (1939) by Little Brown in the US

NB. Beat to Quarters is the US title for The Happy Return.

I have found an eBay listing for the RD edition, with an incomplete photograph of the copyright page, which includes

Beat to Quarters, copyright 1937, (c) 1965, by Cecil...(text runs out of image) is part of the trilogy Captain Horatio Hornblower, published at $5 by Little, Brown & Co.

transcription above

  • No - I'm sure I would have remembered if there had been other Hornblower stories in the same anthology. Thanks for pointing out the Hornblower page on wikipedia - useful for the publication history.
    – user11674
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:11
  • @user11674 I’ve added another possibility
    – Spagirl
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:28
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    I think you got it! I didn't know there was a "Young Readers" version of the Readers' Digest books. I remember reading Admiral Byrd's "Alone" at about the same time. (I discovered that this one had been published in the Spring 1964 edition, but didn't recognize any of the other books in this edition.) I'll bet I read both of these books in the Young Readers edition you suggested. Thanks!!!
    – user11674
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:44
  • @Spagirl OK, but it is an edition of a book called Captain Horatio Hornblower containing those three novels. Referring to your "Per Wikipedia again" quote.
    – shoover
    Dec 21, 2020 at 23:04
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    @spagirl (I'm "user11674" with an updated login/username) - thanks again for your help, you've solved the mystery about how I could remember reading this as part of a Readers Digest anthology, and yet not be able to find it listed there. I wasn't looking in the "Young Readers" editions!! Thanks also for the eBay link - it's the correct book, no question - I've also found several copies for sale on Amazon. Again - thanks! Dec 22, 2020 at 3:27

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