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David Churchill Barrow

Rites of Passage in Classic Literature for Boys, Part 2: Kidnapped

“The round-house was like a shambles; three were dead inside, another lay in his death agony across the threshold; and there were Alan and I victorious and unhurt.   He came up to me with open arms.  ‘Come to my arms!’ he cried, and embraced and kissed me hard upon both cheeks. ‘David,’ said he, ‘I love you like a brother.  And O, man,’ he cried in a kind of ecstasy, ‘am I no’ a bonny fighter?’  Thereupon he turned to the four enemies, passed his sword clean through each of them, and tumbled them out of doors one after the other.”

Thus ended “the siege of the round-house” onboard the brig Covenant in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, and the beginning of David Balfour’s journey from boy to man.

Is There a War on Boys in the Classroom? You Bet Your ‘Treasure Island’ There Is!

Once upon a time long ago there was a little boy in a 4th grade classroom staring out the window, not paying much attention to the teacher droning on and on like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon….  Beneath that window and upon the radiator stood a new display of books, and in that display he saw the abridged version of R.L. Stevenson’s Kidnapped (see above).   The cover illustration was the coolest depiction of a sword fight the kid had ever seen.  He just HAD to read that book.  Next came the unabridged version….  Then came Treasure Island….  The kid became hopelessly hooked on history, both fiction and non-fiction.  When he played outside at recess he was David Balfour, Jim Hawkins, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, the little drummer boy of Shiloh, and Wyatt Earp.

That kid was me….

The Remnant 100

You’ve heard of the 300 defending the “Hot Gates” (Thermopylae)? Well, with apologies to Longfellow, “Listen my children and you shall hear of the 100 men who saved all we hold dear.” You may have also heard or seen the movie Darkest Hour about Churchill, the advent of the Battle of Britain and all that, but the “darkest hour” for the Anglo-Saxon race was not May-June 1940; it was January 878….

‘…death and killing in real life isn’t like on TV or in the movies.’

An excerpt from Silver and Lead

A grandfather strives to teach his grandchildren the truth about the Old West.