Long Remember

Written by MacKinlay Kantor
Review by John R. Vallely

Long Remember was first published in 1934 and earned critical acclaim from reviewers in both prestigious and popular journals. The main character, Daniel Bale, has chosen to distance himself from both Union and Confederate allegiance in the American Civil War. He is forced to rethink his neutral stance when he is called home to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in June 1863. Young Bane becomes reluctantly involved with the wife of a childhood friend and, as he struggles with this internal crisis, is then required to reconsider his attitude towards the war and killing when Union and Confederate armies collide in the titanic three day struggle in and around the town of Gettysburg in July.

MacKinlay Kantor was able to make the American Civil War live as few other writers could (or can). The social life and customs of mid-19th century small town life are as well developed as his treatment of the historical figures and the battle itself. Bane’s uncertainty and inner turmoil in the face of a world gone mad give the work a “feel” few others have. This is not the war of Lincoln and Lee, but rather the intensely personal struggle of young soldiers and terrified civilians caught up in events far beyond their comprehension. A fine novel in 1934; an equally fine novel in 2000.