Buffalo Gordon: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Nate Gordon from Louisiana Slave to Buffalo Soldier

John-Paul Lewis, Author, J. P. Sinclair Lewis, Author Forge $25.95 (526p) ISBN 978-0-312-87376-9
Western writers have long acknowledged the need for a first-class historical novel about the heroic exploits of the all-black Ninth Cavalry Regiment. Unfortunately, Lewis's unwieldy, overwritten attempt fails to do the job. Pockmarked by hackneyed types rather than characters, this account of the all-African-American frontier force that took on the Cheyenne and Comanche on the sparsely settled high plains opens with the formation of the regiment in Louisiana immediately following the Civil War. The story staggers and stumbles from the first page. Sgt. Maj. Nate Gordon, a manumitted slave who served in the Union Army, has been ordered to recruit other freed slaves for military service. Predictably, he runs into racial prejudice on almost every level and from almost everyone. Struggling to maintain military and personal dignity when confronted by corrupt white officers and surrounded by bitter and defeated Southerners, Nate--the perfect soldier--deals with insubordination and incompetence as he whips the unit into shape, then leads it into battle on the wild frontier. What follows is a series of historically grounded adventures through a clumsy, obvious narrative. The novel is burdened by inconsistencies in plot and a use of dialect that provokes squirming discomfort. Drifting points of view, narrative intrusions and plot contrivances are additional problems. Although there is evidence of cogent historical research, the book desperately needs editorial attention on almost every page and is ultimately patronizing in tone and characterization. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.