THE CAMERONS by Robert Crichton
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Far from Santa Vittoria but just as indomitable in its own right, this story of Pitmungo, a Scottish mining village where rising from the pits is Maggie Drum with lots of practical and obdurate spirit. She is determined to get her share -- determined to marry a man who will ""be understood in London"" (indeed these moudiewords i.e., miners, speak a very special language). And thus, although much younger, she attaches herself to Gillon Forbes Cameron, a very distant member of an old clan, a romantic, a seaman at heart. Maggie makes Gillon go ""doon"" and Gillon, to prove he is a man, learns to work ""like a beast"" to support the large dutch of children she bears him. But Gillon also reads -- Henry George and Marx -- and in time finds himself on the company ""shite"" list, and he's his own man, not just Maggie's, when he confronts Lord Fyffe after the accident which costs him his arm and his livelihood. Crichton is always in very sure command of the story he has chosen to tell with sympathetic enterprise. There's none of the vernal sentimentality of that other valley but much more resolve and drive. ""The world goes for winners."" This could easily be one of them.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1972
Publisher: Knopf