An ambitious interpretation of an intriguing figure that should appeal to historical-fiction enthusiasts.


A novel that details the life of American revolutionary Robert Morris, from his humble beginnings to his triumphant rise and eventual ruin.

As the story opens, Morris, a wealthy merchant and a recently elected member of the Continental Congress, spends a cold winter’s night at the City Tavern in 1776 Philadelphia, discussing politics with the barmaid, Betsey. The tavern is a gathering place for the “prominent” and the “ordinary” alike to share opinions, emotions, and ideas. Morris is no stranger to so-called ordinary life, growing up uneducated in Liverpool, England, without a mother. He shares his revolutionary ideologies with Betsey just as passionately as he does with Maj. Wilhelm von Lowenstein, a doctor in the Hessian Mercenary Army, sent to the Colonies to study the “unseen battle scars” inflicted on the minds of soldiers. As the narrative progresses, Foyt (Time to Retire, 2013, etc.) explores and develops Morris’ character through these conversations, embellishing on his grand economic plans to expand his sea-merchant trading business and his hopes of freedom from the English crown. Unfortunately, as Morris’ arrogance and hunger for wealth and power grow, his impending demise becomes apparent. Foyt has written this thoroughly researched novel with great attention to detail, bringing dusty history to life with down-to-earth tales of the everyday experiences of the American Revolution, and he offers plenty of settings that will be familiar to aficionados of the era. Rather than telling a war story with tired tropes of battlefield heroism and gore, the author instead examines the inner workings of Morris’ psyche through imagined but historically rich dialogue, and he effectively shows how passion, power, and an obsession with the idea of revolution drive the Founding Father to a point of irreversible greed. As a result, watching his downfall becomes just as engrossing as his impressive rise to success—if not more so.

An ambitious interpretation of an intriguing figure that should appeal to historical-fiction enthusiasts.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-941713-23-5

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Andrew Benzie Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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