Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goodreads Review: Glory, Passion, and Principle etc etc

Glory, Passion, and Principle: The Story of Eight Remarkable Women at the Core of the American RevolutionGlory, Passion, and Principle: The Story of Eight Remarkable Women at the Core of the American Revolution by Melissa Lukeman Bohrer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is an interesting introduction to the untold story of women in the Revolutionary War, solid enough to give the reader perspective and (hopefully) the desire to find out more. However, it is not without its flaws. The author chose to dramatize select scenes from each woman's story in a manner that sometimes results in the worst of both worlds: the fiction segments can be clumsy and amateurish, and the interpolation of facts in the middle of these scenes comes off as badly integrated info-dumping rather than informative nonfiction. If the author was going to attempt narrative, why didn't a fiction editor go over the manuscript?

Another unfortunate side effect of this vehicle is that the author often starts with a dramatic moment and then works backwards to fill in the history. This tendency expands to the rest of each entry, such that I often had to stop and reread pages to decipher the actual chronology.

Probably the best and most cohesive section is the last, discussing the life of Nancy Ward - a figure whose existence was unknown to me. (Though she is the only one here I hadn't at least heard of.) However, I also highly enjoyed the discussion of Molly Pitcher, and thought the expanded social history - the place of women on the fringes of the army; the idea that one legend stood for other unsung acts of bravery - was well handled.

Overall, a thoughtful history book much marred by its execution.

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