Sunday, January 02, 2011

The proper way to read historical fiction

I am reading up on the French and Indian wars. It is hard to think of Northern NY State
as a rugged wilderness. However, the stretch between Glens Falls and Pattsburgh is still untamed and rugged. Today the area is known as Adirondack Park and it is not easy to cross with modern materials such as goretex and with insect repellent.

What makes all of this interesting is that there were plenty of people who had experience in this area in the 1750's. General Burgoyne marched through this area of swamps and thick woods for no known reason. He could easily have floated down Lake George and kept his forces in tact. Instead he decided to go over land where a few men with axes could delay armies. The colonials tore up bridges and flooded roads in places as well.

The rest is history.

1 comment:

The Pagan Temple said...

The best way to read historical fiction in most cases is to not read it. Most historical fiction writers burden the reader with characters who have modern attitudes, usually liberal ones.

I know you don't like Gore Vidal, but nobody is going to come close to equaling his "Burr" anytime soon.

There is one book you might like. I wouldn't call it serious historical fiction, its a comedic take on King David, called "God Knows". I can't think of the writer's name right off, I think its the guy that wrote "Catch-22". It's hilarious in parts, though somewhat over the top in others, such as when David complains that the statue of him by Michelangelo gives him an uncircumcised penis.