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In 1914, while serving as an officer of the Royal Welch Fusiliers during WWI, Robert Graves was instructing his men in regimental history when he came across the name of a Sergeant Roger Lamb, who had served in the Fusiliers during the American War of Independence.  Later, while living in Princeton, NJ, he was struck by the pride residents took in the local connection to Revolutionary War history, specifically, Washington's triumph over the Hessians. The result of these two happy coincidences is this terrific historical novel.

The subtitle of the book is: "A novel of the American Revolution told in the stirring words of an enemy who was also a good soldier."  I doubt that description can be improved upon.  Drawing on actual events and characters, Graves' Sergeant Lamb narrates the Fusiliers role in events up to the British defeat and the capture of his unit at Saratoga.  Lamb is a wise and witty observer, as well as a professional soldier.  His running critique of the Colonists and the obstacles they faced, particularly the difficulties presented by the rag tag nature of the Continental Army, only serve to deepen our sense of wonder at what they accomplished.  And Lamb serves to remind us of the fundamental decency and professionalism of the British soldiers.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Robert Graves (3 books reviewed)
Robert Graves Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Robert Graves
    -REVIEW ESSAY: A Graves Goodbye to WWI (JOHN P. ROSSI, MAY 30, 2024, Religion & Liberty)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Robert Graves Trust, Archive and Society
    -Focus on Robert Graves and His Contemporaries
    -I, Claudius the film as history
    -ESSAY: Denis Donoghue: The Myths of Robert Graves (NY Review of Books)
    -'I never thought of leaving him'  Robert Graves's widow, Beryl, tells  Cassandra Jardine how she helped choose his mistresses - or muses, as he called them (Electronic Telegraph)
     -Focus on Robert Graves and His Contemporaries© The Impact of the Great War on Modern Consciousness