The Angel of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris Buy book: $9.89
In the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and John Grisham's Skipping Christmas…Newspaper reporter Ben Raines is a full-fledged cynic trying to bypass what he feels is the least wonderful time of the year-Christmas. But his plan to escape on a dream vacation overseas is foiled when the boss assigns him to write the annual front-page holiday story.
I'm disappointed that the author did not get the literary history right on what is a very well known story and beloved speech. Here's what the book says:
"He'd never cared for poetry, but he liked the poem Charlie Delaughter had quoted once. Charlie said it was from one of Shakespeare's plays. He had explained that it was the speech that King Henry V gave to his small army before going into battle at a place called Crispin Crispan."
Actually the place was called Agincourt. In the play, King Henry asks at one point, "What is this castle call'd that stands hard by?" and Montjoy answers, "They call it Agincourt." To this, King Henry says, "Then call we this the field of Agincourt, Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus." This brings me to the second point, that the battle was fought on Saint Crispian's Day. The Crispin Crispian referred to in the quotations above and below is the historical day, not a place. (His spelling of "Crispian" is also wrong.)
Now I suppose one could argue that the author is talking from the fictional character's point of view, that Charlie is actually giving the false information and not the author, but what purpose would that serve except, without any clarification, to propagate false information?
"He (Willie) didn't know all the speech, but part of it seemed to have burned itself into his brain:
"Crispin Crispan shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered--
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother."
It's particularly odd that the author misunderstood that Crispin Crispian refers to a day and not a place because at the end of the speech, King Henry refers to his men as those, "That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day," and in the middle of the speech refers repeatedly to the day, saying, "This day is call'd the feast of Crispian," and "To-morrow is Saint Crispian," and "These wounds I had on Crispin's day," so that by the time you get to this quote above, you should certainly realize it's not a place but a certain day. Didn't the author even read the entire speech?
I hate to sound nitpicky, but it really irks me when wrong information gets propagated like this about such a terrific piece of literature. I'm also a military officer, and as such, an amateur military history buff, and it very much colors the entire impression of a book if I find I cannot trust its accuracy.
Yes, Doris, I suppose you are right, but ultimately,isn't it the author who should take the responsibility for what comes out in print? Should the editor have to check up on all the supposedly factual material that the author puts forth? In this case, a better editor would have to be literarily educated and inclined.
I can relate to the comments on author accuracy. I checked out a book from my local library that appeared in the Business book club, "Begging for Change". It was a good book, but early on, the author quoted a Chinese proverb and referred to it as coming from the Bible. That one inaccuracy colored my whole reading of the rest of the book! It's a shame that such mistakes make it to print, since it does effect the reader's opinion of the book.