Kenneth Roberts in the Blogosphere: Historical Novels on “Arundel”

This morning while trolling Google for anything Kenneth Roberts related, I came across a great blog titled “Historical Novels.” According to the welcome message on the home page, the site “may interest those who enjoy historical fiction AND take the history seriously. I confess that I’m the sort who is outraged when a new historical novel or film takes liberties with known historical facts – for no good reason (sometimes there are good reasons). To that end, novels are rated on five criteria – posed as questions.”

I’ve actually been thinking lately of reading more historical fiction novels, but I’ll be honest, I’m rather hesitant to do so because I am unfamiliar with any other historical fiction writer. Hopefully, this blog can rescue me from the doldrums of ignorance.

Back in 2011, “Historical Novels” provided a favorable post for Kenneth Roberts’ Arundel, which you can read here. A link is also provided for what looks to be a very promising website: historicalnovels.info – a website that lists over 5000 historical novels.

Advertisements

K.R. in Current Works: Mark York’s “Patriot on the Kennebec”

Today via the comment section of this blog, I was introduced to Mark York and his work titled Patriot on the Kennebec: Major Reuben Colburn, Benedict Arnold and the March to Quebec, 1775 .  According to York, here is a short blurb on his book:

In late 1775, a few months after the first shots of the Revolution were fired, Benedict Arnold led more than one thousand troops into Quebec to attack the British there. Departing from Massachusetts, by the time they reached Pittston, Maine, they were in desperate need of supplies and equipment to carry them the rest of the way. Many patriotic Mainers contributed, including Major Reuben Colburn, who constructed a flotilla of bateaux for the weary troops. Despite his service in the Continental army, many blamed Colburn when several of the vessels did not withstand the harsh journey. In this narrative, the roles played by Colburn and his fellow Mainers in Arnold’s march are reexamined and revealed.

In my reply to his comment, I’d asked Mark if he could provide a short summary on how he interacts with Kenneth Roberts’ works in his own Patriot on the Kennebec.  Mark kindly responded in an email with the following:

The journals of the members of the expedition Roberts collected and compiled in March to Quebec are critical to the study, but some of Roberts’ pet peeves, chinks in his historical armor, that he reveals in the margins of March are also disproven by the journals themselves. For example, the banquet at Fort Western and Aaron Burr’s exploits. The meal happened, and yet since his relative, Edward Nason, was an enlisted man, he would have been sleeping outside in the rain and not feasting inside with the Howards, Reuben Colburn, Burr and other officers. There was also some unflattering portrayals of the guides from my neck of the woods in Arundel that are sort of insulting. Roberts was a man of privilege, but he could be unapologetic and uncaring of anyone not so lucky.

My essay in the opening of Patriot reflects these flaws while praising his efforts and making my job so much easier. Yet, I believe I’ve broken new ground in uncovering things about the expedition that other authors have miscalculated. Robert’s and I agree on the complex story of Natanis and Sabatis, though. He reveals his initial bias against my central Maine people in the dialogue of Arundel. ” I was prepared to mislike Colburn for Washington and Arnold’s fondness for bateaux, but I had wronged him.”

I find this very intriguing.  While Roberts was indeed a great writer and to be appreciated for his research and writing, he was not without his foibles and errors.  What I appreciate about Mark is that despite his appreciation for Roberts (or maybe because of ?), he is willing to critique Roberts and point out possible errors in his works.

I look forward to reading this book and I hope you get a chance to purchase this book.  You can find it via Amazon by clicking here.

K.R. in the Blogosphere: The Beak Speaks

I am trying to catch up on things for this site, on of which consists of finding blogs that reference Kenneth Roberts.  So, bear with me for any redundancy, hopefully soon I’ll be caught up!

Over at The Beak Speaks, Beakerkin (?) provides a favorable review of Rabble in Arms, my favorite of Roberts’ works.  Interestingly, the Beak has read and reviewed other works of Roberts, such as Arundel and Oliver Wiswell.  Great to see that there are some who appreciate Roberts’ works today.  Though only half a century removed from the height of his career, he is largely unknown today.  Hopefully this blog will help in getting his name out there, especially to those who want to read good historical fiction.

Any thoughts on how to make this blog better?

***Update 9/2/10*** I found another The Beak Speaks review of a K.R. book, this one on The Battle of Cowpens, probably one of the lesser known books written by Roberts.

K.R. in the Blogosphere: Summer Reading List

Kenneth Roberts recently made a summer reading list!  Oliver Wiswell was the book of choice by USA Conservative News.  Here’s the opening line when Roberts was mentioned:

The best historical novels ever written about the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 are by Kenneth Roberts, a very popular author 70 years ago that most people today have never heard of.

This statement, in my opinion, is true on several levels, unfortunately so in regards to the last part “…that most people today have never heard of.”

One Eternal Day” also suggested Oliver Wiswell for summer reading.  Jim Skaggs, the blog author, also suggests Rabble in Arms, The Lively Lady, and Captain Caution.  I like what he says about the quality of Roberts’ work: he makes John Jakes’ work look like “pulp fiction.”  It’s great to see that there are others who appreciate Roberts’ work.

Arundel made it on the reading list at the Hackley Public Library.  A rather trite review of the book, but I think it’s because the author didn’t like it too much; they only gave Arundel a 5.  Oh well, not all are fans!

%d bloggers like this: