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Northwest Passage Hardcover – 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 709 pages
  • Publisher: Madison Park Press (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582882665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582882666
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read.
James B. Smith
Although this story is historical fiction, the events mentioned (and many of the characters) are real.
Nicholas M. Zallas
As it is I have the book and have enjoyed reading and rereading it over the many years.
Istvan Nemes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Charles Reilly on April 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Kenneth Roberts' "Northwest Passage" is one of the great novels of the 1930's. Little remembered now, it is the story of Major Robert Rogers and the early Rangers of the French and Indian War. Most of the book is an accurate description of what occured during that time period, and one gets an incredible feel for the hardships and calamities that befall these men. The book is written in the first person as the narrator is one of the Major's trusted associates; the story involves both men and their lives together in the wilderness and much later when their paths cross once again near the end of the 18th Century. Rogers himself commanded the first real "commando" unit and he is the father of all subsequent outfits like the Green Berets, the Navy Seals etc. Kenneth Roberts was one of the great historical fiction writers of his day and anyone who is interested in this time period would be wise to read this book. It is truly a classic.
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110 of 115 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Kenneth Roberts was one of America's finest writers of historical fiction- mainly because he actually really knew the history into which he placed his fictional characters.
"Northwest Passage" is arguably his most popular work, and its Book I was made into a pretty good 1940 movie with Robert Young as the fictional Langdon Towne and Spencer Tracy as the legendary Robert Rogers. (I must admit that everytime I read Rogers' dialogue in "Northwest Passage" I hear the voice of Spencer Tracy.) Anyway "Northwest Passage," the novel, is actually made up of two very different books.
Book I is one of the finest pieces of historical fiction that I have ever read. It's the story of Rogers' Rangers attack on the Abenaki Indian village of St. Francis during the French and Indian War. The story revolves around a fictional character, Langdon Towne, an upper middle class lad who wants to become a great artist by painting "true life" subjects such as Indians. Fleeing a dispute with local crooked politicians, Towne joins Major Rogers and his Rangers on the eve of their departure for St. Francis. What happens next is a thrilling story. Roberts' descriptions of the northern New England terrain, the agony of fatigue and starvation, and the gruesome depiction of the barbaric nature of war are stunning to read. Also amazing is the depiction of Major Rogers as seen through the worshipful eyes of Towne. The reader will finish Book I with a heroic image of Rogers as an indefatigable, courageous, clever tactician and born leader.
Book II, though, is a disappointment. Of course, it is very understandable that Book II is a let down, since Book I can hardly be topped as a historical adventure. Roberts' spends most of Book II tearing down the heroic image of Rogers that he built-up in Book I.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By AyaK on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Kenneth Roberts was one of America's best-known nonfiction magazine writers back during the heyday of the Saturday Evening Post. One of his best-known articles was a profile of Hitler following the Beer Hall Putsch, which became a book in its own right at a time when no one in America knew who Hitler was.
Beginning in the mid-1930s, Roberts wrote a series of brilliant but erratic historical novels about America in the late 1700s, set in his beloved Maine or in neighboring Boston and Portsmouth, NH. "Northwest Passage" (which was serialized by the Post) was his masterpiece and the most popular book in America for two years during the 1930s, although it's barely remembered today (or, if remembered, known only as the source for a mediocre Spencer Tracy movie of the same name).
The book is the story of a real person, Major Robert Rogers, a miltary leader from pre-Revolutionary America whose unit, Rogers' Rangers, was America's first to fight "Indian-style" (in other words, to fight battles the way we fight them today). Rogers' great success in warfare led to him becoming one of the colonies' first published authors, a star in London, and later the royal governor of Michilimackinac (the fort at the tip of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan ... and the land westward), but his unwillingness to join with pluderers who wanted to loot the British and colonial treasuries in the name of the Crown led to his arrest and unwarranted disgrace ... and to his ultimate decision to side with the British during the American Revolution, like Roberts' other main hero, Benedict Arnold ("Arundel" and "Rabble in Arms").
This novel is made up of two very different but intricately-plotted books.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Donald A Wheat on June 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first discovered Northwest Passage at a library while I was still in high school, and ever since then I have been a confirmed Kenneth Roberts fan. His ability to bring the frontier and its characters alive is uncanny and unmatched by any other author I've ever read. His research into the foods, weapons, country and historical events he writes about is unparalleled, and each character in all of of his novels seems so real it sometimes becomes diffcult to determine if they were real or not. Mingling real-life historical figures such as George Washington, Benedict Arnold and others, with fictional characters such as Steven Nason, Cap Huff, and other truly unforgettable creations, lends them a credibility that results in history coming alive. One's understanding of historical events and people that have become blase' over the years is competely turned upside down and inside out as you gain new insight and understanding of what happened, why it happened and what it meant through Roberts' masterful writing backed up by exhaustive research into his subjects and events. The characters not only are drawn larger than life in all their strengths and weaknesses, but as they move through several of Roberts' novels and are observed and encountered differently when viewed from different perspectives, we begin to realize that history is not static but is dynamic and alive. Example: RABBLE IN ARMS and OLIVER WISWELL are both books about the American Revolution, but written from diametrically opposite viewpoints !Read more ›
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