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Part of a dual selection of the B.O.M. for March, and therefore likely to get off to a good start. Frankly, it seems to me a slim little piece, one of these parentally popular character , in a story of a bombastic retired army officer whose whole pattern of life goes on along military lines of thought and expression. But he sees in old age his chance to speak his mind without fear or favor, and returns to his childhood home there to fight his lone battle against the forces of autocracy in local politics. To this end, he worms his way into the inner circles of journalism by persuading a local editor to take him on as a military commentator -- gratis. He has on the paper a young and unimportant reporter, a cousin, who tries to dodge the issue and embarrassment of the relationship, and at the same time protect the old man, but falls. The column provokes dismay among the old-line politicians; pet schemes are exposed in their true light; a small measure of citizen indignation is aroused. At the end, the old soldier loses his last battle, modern politics win out, and he stands on the side lines, watching his cousin and others of the militia march off to fight democracy's battle on other fronts. There's a thin thread of romance -- there are long dissertations on battles of the past (he dips deep into a profound and intimate knowledge of history of the past for his opposition and much of it is fascinating as live material) -- but the whole emerges as somewhat a tour de force, occasionally strained -- and, yes, we must confess, occasionally dull. We can't see this as a big seller.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1943
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce