Friday, September 9, 2022

Review of "Tom Slade With the Boys Over There," by Percy Keese Fitzhugh

 Review of

Tom Slade With the Boys Over There, by Percy Keese Fitzhugh

Four out of five stars

YA adventure with early scouts

 The American Boy Scout organization was started in 1910, so the scout depicted in this book published in 1918, was a very early participant. His name is Tom Slade, and he was the featured character in a series of 19 books. In this one, he is with his friend Archer, and they recently escaped from the Germans in the province of Alsace.

 The story has the two young men moving through the German-controlled territory where their goal is to get to neutral Switzerland where they can then travel back to Allied lines and rejoin the fight. Since they are in the province of Alsace that has been in German hands since 1871, there is still some strong French sympathy, so the two men receive assistance from some of the local people.

 Tom uses his skills acquired in his scouting experience to find wild food, escape from danger and plot a path to the Swiss border. The adventure is very early twentieth century YA and there is a great deal of anti-German and anti-Kaiser jingoistic rhetoric that sounds absurd to modern readers. Yet, it is fairly typical of the propaganda that passed for literature in that timeframe.

 A look back at the form and structure of the YA adventure stories of the early twentieth century, this book must be read with a mindset of acceptance of how such literature was written at that time.

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