Book Review – Drums Along The Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
I never read Drums before. Published by Little, Brown in the nineteen thirties it is a famous book and a genre I love, but I thought I knew the story because I had seen the movie. A simpleton’s mistake. A movie I knew and should have remembered is a water-colored brushstroke and a good book a painting in oils. And Drums isn’t only good, it’s magnificent. When it was first published Hendrik Van Loon wrote about Drums, “here at last is a book which gives us what we so badly need, a foundation for a true philosophy of national life” and praise for it should only begin there. Drums is the story of America forming along a river, in wheat fields, under snow, across the wilderness and above all in front of forts with forgotten names such as, Stanwix, Eldrige, Herkimer, Ballston, Stone Arabia. It is one of those compelling books about which we have to agonize “that with stories like this as our heritage, school children are today are reading what? Learning what about themselves and how they got here?” And it’s a good read, complex characterization, amazing, and to a writer humbling, similes, sideways sliding drama and ever building suspense all in simple clear prose. A ten year old could read it and love it, be uplifted and gain immeasurable strength from it.
As did a certain sixty eight year old.