|Author||Walter D. Edmonds|
Drums Along the Mohawk (1936) is a novel by American author Walter D. Edmonds. The story follows the lives of fictional Gil and Lana Martin, settlers in the central Mohawk Valley of the New York frontier during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Frank Bergmann wrote in 2005 that the novel, "as a best-seller and a novel perennially assigned in the state's high schools, has substantially shaped the popular view of the region's pioneer period."
The book is peopled with historical persons such as General Nicholas Herkimer, Adam Helmer, descendants of the German immigrants who were the majority residents in the central Mohawk Valley at the time, and William Caldwell. It also features such historical events as the Battle of Oriskany and the Attack on German Flatts (1778).
In 1939, the book was adapted for a Technicolor feature film of the same name directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, Edna May Oliver, Ward Bond, and John Carradine. Historian Edward Countryman has argued that, while the film incorporates characters, plot, and dialogue from the novel, it differs profoundly in its portrayal of society in the period of the American Revolution. He (Ford) made it a mythic triumph of the American cause, rather than suggesting the complexity of the times as had Edmonds. Similarly, Frank Bergmann has written, "Unfortunately the 1939 film directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert, abandons the historical complexity of the original for the mythic simplification of an all-American Western."
The Bantam Books edition had gone through no less than 48 printings between July 1936 and August 1956. The novel is still in print after eight decades.
Edmonds wrote a novel that combined hard research into the dynamics of a social crisis with a form that opened that research to a mass public. Ford made of that novel a film which pictures two forces that must conflict because their nature demands it and which argues that the triumph of the American cause obliterates all divisions, whether of race, class, or sex.
If you have any spark of feeling for the American past, or even faintly suspect that you would like a historical novel put together with patience, wit, and intelligence, this one belongs near the top of your reading list.
|This article about a historical novel of the 1930s is a stub. You can help popflock.com resource by .|
See guidelines for writing about novels. Further suggestions might be found on the article's talk page.