HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Victory: A Novel of the Victory at Yorktown
Author: Charles Hayes
Publisher: Small Batch Sour Mash Publishing, 2017
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Said to be for ages 12 – 18; I would say 16 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hayes, Charles. Victory: A Novel of the Victory at Yorktown (Published in 2017 by Small Batch Sour Mash Publishing LLC, 318 Slate Lick Rd., London, KY 40741). It is 1780, and Daniel Bowman is a young man from North Carolina who intends to marry Sally Cathers, but first leaves with Isaac Shelby to protect his family and future at the battles of King’s Mountain and Guilford Courthouse. However, after that, rather than returning home, Dan follows Shelby and John Sevier and continues under General Nathanael Greene to fight the British through the victory at Yorktown in 1781. What kind of action does Dan see in the war? Can he escape without serious injury? And how will he find things when he finally gets back home?
Even though Dan Bowman, his family, and many of his friends are all fictional characters, the information that Dan relates in telling his story, including the descriptions of both Continental and British military leaders, is extremely accurate historically. Author Charles E. Hayes served in the United States Air Force for 24 years, then was a teacher for seven years. Today he researches and writes full time. His book Out of the Jungle is about a serviceman who experienced events in Vietnam that affected him for the next 25 plus years. Kentucky Memories is a volume of regional poetry about people and circumstances in southeastern Kentucky. He has written since he was in the fourth grade and decided to publish because he didn’t want his work dying on a computer hard drive.
Victory does have some cursing (the “d” and “h” words) and a little near-vulgarity (getting one’s “a** kicked” and “bastards”), along with references to drinking various alcoholic beverages and smoking tobacco. There is really nothing obscene, but after their wedding night, Sally asks, “You know, what we did—did I do it right?” And Dan responds, “I guess. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I did it right.” Also, mention is made of how the British soldiers at Yorktown came down with smallpox because they “had been laying with the African women.” For these reasons, I would recommend the book for younger children. But for older teens and adults, it is an interesting account of one aspect of the American Revolutionary War. And it is liberally illustrated with old black and white prints.