Reluctant Rebel

Written by Don E. Phelps
Review by John Manhold

In this coming-of-age tale of a youngster involved in the burgeoning interpersonal conflicts among the politically-divided Mohawk Valley inhabitants and a solider in the American Revolution, Daniel Sullivan, raised as a farmer by his widowed father, is also taught to read, write, and cipher. The valley’s residents include both Whigs and Tories, and trouble erupts with the independence movement. Daniel’s father refuses to take sides.

To mitigate problems, Daniel joins the Liberty Boys, who harass the Tories. Led by a natural bully, they hang a young Tory, rape his wife, and when Daniel reacts, his life is threatened. He joins the Continental Army, works largely as a general’s scribe, but eventually becomes involved in two turning-point battles of the Revolution.

The book is an interesting tale about a chaotic period in American History, credibly written with knowledge of the terrain, the politics, the military maneuverings, and the role of some of the important persons involved. The protagonist exhibits a number of interesting and perhaps somewhat startling flaws as he develops. A caveat for more sensitive readers: details of battle action/wounds are somewhat graphically provided.