Nathaniel reads of the gallant deeds of Horatio Hornblower in C. S. Forester's Hornblower During the Crisis.
From the NLS Minibibliography website:
"In 1927, C.S. Forester purchased three volumes of The Naval Chronicle from 1790 to 1820. For the Chronicle, officers of the Royal Navy wrote articles on strategy, seamanship, gunnery, and other professional topics of interest to their colleagues. The Chronicle for those years covered the wars with Napoleon. Reading these volumes and traveling by freighter from California to Central America allowed the germination of the character Horatio Hornblower as a member of the Royal Navy in the late eighteenth century." Read the complete article here: http://www.loc.gov/nls/bibliographies/minibibs/horatio.html