Private Yankee Doodle

Here goes nothing with the first relevant post. I don’t know how much of this should be a scholarly analysis, how much a reaction, how formal or informal I should be… and since I’m the first one to post about the readings (yeah, I looked at your blogs hoping for guidance) I’m just going to wing it.

The first thing that struck me and, possibly, drew my attention the most, was Joseph Plumb Martin’s age when he enlisted in the army. Now, I’d have to do much more reasearch than I’ve done already (to be specific, none at all) to determine how common it was for soldiers in the Revolutionary War to have been in their teens, but when I study the Civil War that’s the group I’m studying- underage soldiers, boys who fought in the war. So naturally, one of my serious interests cropping up within the first hundred words made me close my facebook and pay a little more attention. The next thing I noticed was the notation that Joseph Plum Martin’s writing is often exaggerated and should not be taken at face value. That’s another thing I’ve come across in my research- the boy who fights in a war at 16 is somewhat different from the man who writes the book about himself at 60. There exists in many cases a definite tendancy to make it the awesome story that he remembers it as… whether or not it really was an awesome story. So, he plays up the glory and the hardships and he plays down the parts that he doesn’t think are glorious, or which put him in a bad light. What all that has to do with the reading is that I then wondered about the credibility of the author as I was reading along. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that we were assigned these sections because they are considered truthful, but it also occurred to me that this is the book they keep telling us is the best, most complete, longest account of army life during the Revolutionary War. And if it’s not to be entirely trusted, how much history must we be missing?

Published in:Uncategorized |on August 31st, 2008 |3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Private Yankee Doodle”

  1. jmcclurken Says:

    Nice way to start off the reading reaction postings. We’ll be looking at several of the issues you raised here in more detail in class.

  2. bhupp Says:

    I also want to know the real truth. Is there a good source out there that dosent have any Embellishments? What really happened on the battlefield in the Revolutionary war?

  3. 3rd US Vet Says:

    Nice analysis of Pvt. Yankee Doodle. I read it some years ago and found it enjoyable and mostly historically accurate. To me, when someone paints an honest or occasionally critical protrait of a time, person, or event, that’s often his honest view. And that’s particularly true of the Revolutionary period, which people tended to view through rose-colored glasses once it was over.