Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Real Soldiers of Fortune - by Richard Harding Davis

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

It is always interesting me to read something like this:

"Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916) was an American author of romantic novels and short stories and the best known war correspondent of his generation. Davis was one of the most famous and idolized men of his time."

I never heard of him and I have read a lot of military history . . . well, better late than never!

This book is Real Soldiers of Fortune. (US Edition)  (UK Edition)   It profiles six men:

AMONG the Soldiers of Fortune whose stories have been told in this book were men who are no longer living, men who, to the United States, are strangers, and men who were of interest chiefly because in what they attempted they failed.

Well they are not all obscure - we all know William Churchill.  On Churchill:

. . .there are few young men—and he is a very young man—who have met more varying fortunes, and none who has more frequently bent them to his own advancement. To him it has been indifferent whether, at the moment, the fortune seemed good or evil, in the end always it was good.

This writer died in 1916 not dreaming that whatever he imagined for Churchill, it was not enough. 

This is amusing:

Now, one can step into a brass bed at Forty-second Street and in four days at the Coast get into another brass bed, and in twelve more be spinning down the Bund of Yokohama in a rickshaw. People go to Japan for the winter months as they used to go to Cairo. 

But in 1885 it was no such light undertaking, certainly not for a young man who had been brought up in the quiet atmosphere of an inland town, where generations of his family and other families had lived and intermarried, content with their surroundings.

Ahh for the days of brass beds . . .

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