Kirkus Review of Henry Knox’s Noble Train

May 19, 2020 by

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A retelling of an iconic episode in the American Revolution. Early in the revolution, still-good-guy Benedict Arnold teamed up with Ethan Allen to take the remote British fort at Ticonderoga, where hundreds of cannons were among the booty. Not many were serviceable, and then there was the matter of getting them to George Washington’s forces outside Boston. Enter Henry Knox (1750-1806), a young bookseller who, writes popular historian Hazelgrove, “simply could not read enough about what men constructed during times of war.” Knox was gifted at logistics and was an early convert to the cause of independence, and he managed to pull together a “noble train” of oxen, horses, and sledges to haul the useable cannons over ice-covered rivers, mountain ranges, and what the author calls “unchartered wilderness.” It was a formidable undertaking, full of peril, as Hazelgrove repeats in various formulations—e.g., “hours of painstaking effort in freezing water, ice, and snow”; “so they trudged on, men fighting the cold and the terrain as they bedded down at night with tents and warmed themselves by fires, drinking whiskey and smoking pipes…”

Henry Knox Noble Train

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Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners. [read more...]

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