Friday, September 17, 2010

Northwest Passage Book 1

This is the best of Kenneth Roberts that I have read thus far. The main character in this book stands on his own better than in other Roberts book. A running theme in Roberts work is that the line of greatness and evil are blurred. Benedict Arnold was at times valiant, brilliant and traitorous. Famed generals are mere political hacks and office pettiness appears in Roberts work.

Major Rogers at times appears larger than life and at others ethically challenged. He does do a cameo in Oliver Wiswell albeit as a broken man. He was somewhat of a self promoter and a visionary.

I want to return to the subject of Eastern Indians. In the current era we have a naive view that they were angelic. They were often acted as mercenaries in their own interest. There were abductions and torture, but none of this justifies their extermination and dispossession. From the perspective of the settlers these are horrific crimes. The raid of Rogers was an act of retaliation for a series of brutal raids. Roberts does not gloss over the cruelties of war and a Ranger driven mad by bloodlust over a tortured brother becoming like a rabid dog is shown.

Book 2 which is the Carver Expedition was highly criticized.

No comments: