Johnny One Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution
Johnny One-Eye is a cleverly written and well-crafted glimpse of some of the leading British and American characters of the American Revolution through the eyes—excuse me, eye—of young John Stocking. Stocking earns his nickname as a result of a bayonet wound while with Benedict Arnold’s American forces in Québec in 1775. Our young hero returns to the “Holy Ground” area of New York City where he pursues Clara, one of the prostitutes working under the chief madam, Gertrude. Clara and Gertrude bring Johnny in contact with Sir William Howe and George Washington, two men who are not strangers to the temptations offered by the “Holy Ground.” Johnny has enormous difficulty in his relations with both Clara and Gertrude, and his problems are not aided by General Arnold, Alexander Hamilton, or his own emotions set in permanent turmoil in questions surrounding his illegitimate birth.
Jerome Charyn is an immensely talented writer, and his abilities with language and setting combine to produce a superb historical novel.