With Fire and Sword – The Battle of King’s Mountain 1780 was written by Wilma Dykeman for the National Park Service. (approx. 82 pgs.)
“Wilma Dykeman is a novelist, historian, and chronicler of the south-eastern mountain country. Among her books are The French Broad (in the Rivers of America series), The Border States, and Tennessee: A Bicentennial History, all dealing with the land and people for which the Battle of King’s Mountain was fought.” So states the foreward for this booklet, probably published as a handbook for museums located in the areas discussed throughout this compelling non-fiction story.
Dykeman, an accomplished author, begins her tale of the Battle of King’s Mountain by lulling us into a sense of serenity as she describes the lovely mid-autumn harvest time of the southern highlands, the Cumberland Gap, and the lives of the “overmountain” people. All the while, she builds an underlying tension as she discusses the characters of men who will clash, claiming a harvest of lives on both sides of the battle.
It’s about the strengths and weaknesses of both Patriot and British alike; in those character flaws that the battle will be won or lost. It is in the misguided decisions of Cornwallis, Gates and Tarleton that build the foundation for the battle to come, where lesser-known, but courageous men like Ferguson, the British soldier-prodigy, meets the fiercely independent patriot militias of Shelby, Chronicle and McDowell.
The characters discussed and the decisions they made which inexorably led to the events on King’s Mountain in the autumn of 1780 will make for riveting reading, whether you’re a writer, student, history buff, or just enjoy a good adventure story. This booklet can be found on Amazon.
I don’t know how it happened to end up in a book sale in northern New York, but I saw it on the shelf of my local library and had to have it!
My rating: 4 ½ Stars out of 5. (Why not five? It’s too short!)