THE TIN LIZZIE TROOP by Glendon Swarthout


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A charming, comical fictionalized version of the very unpublicized unhistorical first time the U.S. Army ever went into action on wheels. The year is 1916 during the Mexican border campaign when Pershing mounted against the so-called bandit Pancho Villa, and the cars were -- naturally -- Model Ts, playthings of four blueblooded members of the Philadelphia Light Horse reporting to Lieutenant Stanley Dinkle and Patrol Post #2 for an apparently eventless month of guarding the border. Shamed by a raid during the detested Dinkle's absence, they drive off across the Rio Grande to retrieve their horses, a kidnapped girl, and their dignity -- all of which recede into the increasingly dim future as mechanical troubles strand them in Felicias, Coahulia. It's Dinkle to the rescue with the remainder of the U.S. Air Force (a single-engined ""Jenny,"" soon to be worshipped by the Mexicans), redeeming the honor of the United States and incidentally discovering that killing and war, despite the fun and games, is something that will make a man out of a boy, whether he wants it or not. A whimsical melancholy undercuts the dazzling pace and the farcical scenario.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday