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Thursday, June 27, 2019


Originally published in 1961.

Howard Fast (1914-2003) was a prolific writer (more than 60 novels, plus scores of short stories, plays, articles and histories). He is most famous Spartacus, the novel that inspired the iconic movie by Stanley Kubrick.

This is my second Howard Fast novel and if you throw in Spartacus you see a trend in Howard Fast's books - he likes to tell the story of the underdog who fights back.

In this novel, the underdogs are the colonists of Massachusetts. The April morning in the title is the day that the British army moved on the stores of gunpowder in Concord, Massachusetts. This is when Paul Revere makes his famous ride. This action is now known as The Battles of Lexington and Concord. The book takes place in and around Lexington.

Adam Cooper is a fifteen year old boy in 1775 and the troubles of Boston with the British Redcoats seems a world away. His father is deeply involved with the committees that try to workout a common response to the British government. When the British army marches towards Concord with nearly 1,000 trained regulars, the local militia forms up to confront them. The militia musters only 77 men, many with small hunting weapons.

15 year old Adam Cooper is in that militia...

This was a truly great novel. As I previously noted, this is only my second Howard Fast novel, but it won't be my last. He had a real knack for making the characters seem real and believable. His characterization of 15 year old Adam is perfect.

The book does not glorify war in any way. It can be graphic. The fighting has real-life consequences. Some of the passages were quite touching. 

Others passages were cleverly observant. I liked this line on page 88: "Blame the devil, Reverend, but I tell you that three-quarters of the misery of mankind is the result of plain damned foolishness."

I rate this novel 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: April Morning: A Novel.

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