THE MINUTE MEN by Major John B. Galvin


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If faint praise damns, let it be said that Major Galvin's history of the Minute Men is an adequate study. The author states his thesis in the introduction: ""Since the earliest colonial military companies under Patrick, Underhill, and Standish, the organizational and tactical concept (alarm riders, alerts, inter-town cooperation, rapid assembly of special units detached from the militia) had begun to develop."" The ""minute man concept,"" then, was hardly a new idea on Longfellow's ""nineteenth of April '75."" Major Galvin's point is artlessly proved in the boring pages that follow. His monograph is an example of historical objectivity in extremis. No humor, no life, no human comments anywhere. On page after page, the Major's heroes slaughter Indians to ""be rid of them once and for all."" No comment. ""The birth and growth of the minute man idea,"" Major Galvin says, ""is .... worth knowing in full, not only for the further understanding of the great effort these men made, but also because the problems they faced are in a great many ways analogous to our own."" Unfortunately, the author never discusses these ""great many ways."" A curious statement for an objective historian to make.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1967
Publisher: Hawthorn