THE GENERAL'S BOOTS by Neta Lohnes Frazier


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By the author of Five Roads to the Pacific (1964) and a number of other books about pioneering in the West, this story deals with a boy who, in 1859 when he was 12 years old, was left with the responsibilities of managing his family's newly cleared fruit farm in Washington state. The boots turn out to be simply of gadgetary value to the story. Charlie Kirk's Pa had left Vermont to go West with General Fremont's exploring party and had been rewarded with a pair of the General's own boots, which came with the warning that no one who wore them would rest until they were worn out. Whenever Mr. Kirk had put on the boots he had been afflicted with wanderlust, moving westward with a lost goldmine as the ultimate aim. When Pa dies, just after setting up the farm, Charlie is left with the boots as well as all the responsibilities for Ma, a baby sister, and the homestead. For the balance of the book, the boots hang in abeyance as the boy tends to his work. The book is strongest in its historical background, although this is a little confused by the mixture of material about Fremont's party and Charlie's efforts in Washington. The fictionalization is minor and not very compelling, the conversation generally banal. An introduction indicates that the research done on the period is solid and thorough.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1965
Publisher: McKay