VALLEY FORGE by MacKinlay Kantor


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An irregular segment of the Revolutionary War celebrated here in set-pieces about the common troops and officers (both lobsterbacks and Colonials) and country folks during and after Washington's encampment on the Delaware. Call it regional reverie, mosaic, or what you will--the novel shows contempt for everyday narration and proceeds, fragment by ""smoaky"" fragment, as the author's heart dictates, in the words of old diaries and other lost pockets of language. One wonders what Washington would have thought of Kantor's musical ode to Salem Peach the Army fifer, or the image of himself pulling teeth one by one from his inflamed gums (he apparently crossed the Delaware with few or no teeth). Here is Mum Foyne, sixteen-year-old deserter who has been campaigning for two years, and is turned back to battle when a pretty Quaker girl induces him to fight again. Here is British Major Banastre Tarleton who loves to ride down Colonials and have his horse kick them to death (he lames Mum horribly). And Ben Franklin, and Mad Anthony Wayne, and Lafayette. But the famous battle itself is not depicted, except for a skirmish. Instead, Kantor focuses on the hideously (and symbolically) scarred Mum returned from the field--representing the country that must be healed. A commemorative--for the longstanding following.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1975
Publisher: Evans