Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:
The Tin Soldier by Temple Bailey is a 1916 novel that was on the bestseller list in 1919. (Who even knew there were bestseller lists then? Thank you Wikipedia!)
The subject is WWI, and the title is inspired by Hans Christian Anderson.
“I cannot bear it,” the Tin Soldier said, standing on the shelf, “I cannot bear it. It is so melancholy here. Let me rather go to the wars and lose my arms and legs.”
HANS ANDERSEN: The Old House.
Here is a bit from near the beginning:
“I am going to knit socks next,” she told her father.
He looked up from his paper. “Did you ever stop to think what it means to a man over there when a woman says ‘I’m going to knit socks’?”
Jean nodded. That was one of the charms which her father had for her. He saw things. It was tired soldiers at this moment, marching in the cold and needing—socks.
Hilda, having no vision, remarked from the corner where she sat with her book, “There’s no sense in all this killing—I wish we’d kept out of it.”
“Wasn’t there any sense,” said little Jean from the hearth rug, “in Bunker Hill and Valley Forge?”
Hilda evaded that. “Anyhow, I’m glad they’ve stopped playing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the movies. I’m tired of standing up.”
Jean voiced her scorn. “I’d stand until I dropped, rather than miss a note of it.”
Doctor McKenzie interposed: “‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said, ‘To talk of many things, Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax— Of cabbages—and kings—'”
“Oh, Daddy,” Jean reproached him, “I should think you might be serious.”
You might think this book had a lot to do with the soldiers, but the heroines go overseas, too.
Hating the war, Drusilla yet loved the work she had to do. There was, of course, the horror of it, but there was, too, the stimulus of living in a world of realities. She wondered if she were the same girl who had burned her red candles and had served her little suppers, safe and sound and far away from the stress of fighting.
Yes, Drusilla is a heroine, not an evil step-sister!
You might wonder how I ran across this book. The TV series “Boardwalk Empire” has a WWI vet character, Jimmy Darmody, and he was reading it in a scene set in a veteran’s hospital. The show has a lot of detail and I started noticing the books the characters were reading when I started watching the series for the second time.
And in case you wondered, here are the top ten of 1919:
1. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalpse by V. Blasco Ibanez
2. The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad
3. The Desert of Wheat by Zane Grey
4. Dangerous Days by Mary Roberts Rinehart
5. The Sky Pilot in No Man’s Land by Ralph Connor
6. The Re-Creation of Brian Kent by Howard Bell Wright
7. Dawn by Gene Stratton-Porter
8. The Tin Soldier by Temple Bailey
9. Christopher and Columbus by “Elizabeth”
10. In Secret by Robert W. Chambers