The discovery of this manuscript of a diary kept by a U.S. soldier a century ago, during the Mexican War -- and now released...

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MY CONFESSION: Recollections of a Rogue

The discovery of this manuscript of a diary kept by a U.S. soldier a century ago, during the Mexican War -- and now released for first publication by Life through a descendant and namesake of the diarist, may well produce a fanfare that will alert an audience. These are the unblushing revelations of as sanguine and passionate a man as history can boast. Making even Cellini a mere lily-livered moppet, Sam Chamberlain tells more all than anyone since Rousseau-always with respect for the decencies and a staunch twist to the d--n. Usually in defense of a woman's honor, Sam's herculean arm slays or slashes its full share of villains and the guardhouse becomes his second home. In consumption of liquor and reckless gambling none surpass -- or nay, equal -- him. He fights with matchless valor, rides eighty miles in nine hours to deliver vital information; he encounters every hero from Zachary to Lee to Santa Anna; he is the terror and admiration of all desperadoes. Women, vying in the extremities of beauty, fling themselves before him and, although he seldom denies them the rapture they seek, his principles are inflexible. The family that clothes, feeds and restores his shattered health after he has been found ""insane"" and naked he cannot shame and, when the daughter beseeches him, ""the honor of the house of Ritter suffered not at my hands"". Certainly on this but also on other occasions of abuse and assault, Sam's willpower borders on the superhuman. His agonies in an ""old Spanish Jail in San Antonio"" seem indeed ""more terrible...than any scene in the Inferno of Dante"". He later became a Civil War General -- which has nothing to do with this breathless story.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1956

ISBN: 0876111568

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1956