THE PROUD AND THE FREE by Howard Fast

THE PROUD AND THE FREE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Mutiny in January, by Carl Van Doren, published in April of 1943, set for many, who held no pretensions to scholarship in the minutiae of the history of the American Revolution, the background of our knowledge concerning the brief rebellion of some soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line. The time was January, 1781; the place, winter encampment at Morristown, with conditions rivalling the more famous Valley Forge; the story -- the dramatic gesture as the disgruntled, half starved, half starved, half clad, unpaid rank and file accepted the leadership of a handful, set up their own Committee of Sergeants, and marched forth, defying the gentry who were represented by their officers (among the Wayne and Bulter and Stewart), and set up their own encampment in Princeton. This is history. Howard Fast has retold the story through the words of an old man, facing- in the Civil War- a new test of freedom, and looking back over the brief glory -- and the bitter disillusionment -- that was his, as the army faced the realities and went back again to the leadership they had loathed and discarded. The time was not ripe; but the seed was sown. And in the human closeup picture of the foolhardy but courageous and glorious gesture was seen the spirit that became the U.S.A. The deliberate attempt to capture the rhythms and idioms of the time slow the pace of story- and there are lags in interest. But all in all there's a sense of discovery, of history given new birth.

Publisher: Little, Brown