Good news from the world of Frontier Partisan art: The estimable John-Seerey Lester will release a new book later this year titled Legendary Hunters and Explorers. This must land on the FP coffee table. Here’s a glimpse of its glories…
Marilyn and I have secured our tickets to see Corb Lund in Bend in April, as he tours in support of his new album Agricultural Tragic. HP from Hillbilly Highways scouted up a story from Saving Country Music about the single 90 Seconds Of Your Time:
As HP points out, the backstory is tinged with country (or maybe Western) noir. Evan Felker is the engine of the outstanding country band Turnpike Troubadours. He went off the rails hard in 2019; I’m hoping that it’s a sign of recovery that he’s spending time in the Idaho woods with Corb Lund.
Dig the song.
The screening of Breaker Morant went quite well — a large audience, deeply engaged with the questions this fine, fine film raises. We’ll be following up next month with an in-depth reading and discussion. In prep for this event, I’ve been banging around the veld a bit, and reflecting on the orders to shoot Boers wearing the khaki. Deneys Reitz, my favorite Boer, recalled proudly wearing the khaki coat and the hat badge he took as a trophy from the 17th Lancers at the Battle of Elands River. He had no idea he was wearing his death warrant.
Lucky for him, he didn’t get caught…
A couple of years ago, British SAS operators were forbidden to place the Punisher skull on their helmets. Too many comparisons to the Waffen SS. Silly, that. The skull as a badge has an old and honorable pedigree that well predates the Nazis. The Death or Glory Boys of the 17th Lancers being a prime example.
And here’s a touch of skull-and-crossbones military creepiness. Psy-ops.
Also known as “Ghost Tape Number 10” was an audio mix the US military used for psychological operations in the Vietnam War against the North Vietnamese. It played deeply on the Vietnamese belief of ancestor worship, spirits and the afterlife. The Wandering Soul was played on loudspeakers installed on helicopters, PCF boats or by infiltrating infantry ‘loudspeaker teams’ on known enemy areas usually at night deep within the jungle. It exploited the belief among many of the Vietnamese people that once a person is dead the remains must be placed in an ancestral burial ground or that person will forever wander aimlessly in space.
Meanwhile, back in South Africa… Paul McNamee scouted up a Netflix series that’s fixing to drop at the end of the month. Looks like fun.
Keith West scouted up a piece I’m going to have to acquire, courtesy of the Flintlock & Tomahawk Blog — Braddock Road Chronicles, 1755 (From the Diaries and Records of Members of the Braddock Expedition and Others Arranged in a Day by Day Chronology) – Andrew J. Wahll :
The material collected here is extracted from the records of British army regulars (including Braddock, St. Clair, Gage and others), colonial militia (Cresap, Croghan, Gist, Washington, etc.), camp followers, American colonists (Burd, Hamilton, Franklin, Dinwiddie, Delancy, etc.), French-Canadians (Contrecoeur, Dumas, Lotbinier, etc.) and newspapers. The ultimate battle is described firsthand. Short biographical sketches, a chronology and a list of sources round out this comprehensive study. These fascinating accounts are enhanced with informative annotations. Maps and illustrations are included.
Ace novelist and fellow Mex Rev aficionado Craig McDonald scouted up this piece of news:
Disney-owned production company Buena Vista Original Productions has announced a new series inspired by the life of legendary Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, titled “Centauro del Norte” (Centaur of the North).
A fictionalized version of Villa’s life story, the series will begin with the historical figure, real name Doroteo Arango, as a young bandit during his adolescence in the Mexican pueblo of Durango, and tracks his rise and eventual establishment as the most influential player in the Mexican Revolution before his eventual death, resulting from an ambush.
The 10-hour series, produced with Mexico’s BTF, will film on location across Mexico, in many places made famous through Villa’s exploits.
Looking to shed a light on lesser-known parts of Villa’s life, the series will take a multi-layered look at his historical legacy, his interpersonal contradictions and his life before becoming a revolutionary. Described in a press release as: “cruel, a womanizer, charismatic and ideological,” Villa is reviled by some and revered by many.
Narcos: Mexico — Season 2, is now running on Netflix.
I’ve been revisiting the Revolutionary War series TURN in the evenings of late. Over a scene depicting the discomfiture of the Ranger Robert Rogers, there plays an auld Scottish Border Ballad, Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow. This version is haunting…
The portrayal of Rogers in TURN is heavily fictionalized, played with scenery-chewing relish and mad-bad-and-dangerous-to-know abandon by Angus Macfadyen. Yet Rogers was a player — for a time — in covert ops in during the Revolution. He offered his services to George Washington, who sent him packing because he didn’t trust him in the least. Rogers confirmed Washington’s judgment, going over to the British service, where he was instrumental in capturing the American spy Nathan Hale and raised the Queen’s Rangers to fight as an irregular unit in the British Army. But by this time, Rogers had been completely ensnared by the bottle and was barely functional at best and a sot at worst. He was essentially out of the war in 1777, and spent the remaining 18 years of his life in England as a rather pathetic alcoholic.
There’s a recent book by Michael A. Eggleston titled One Man’s Traitor Is Another’s Patriot: George Washington and Robert Rogers that tackles Rogers’ hard fall from glory.
George Washington started the French and Indian War when he attacked the French in the Ohio River Valley while Robert Rogers ended it when he accepted the surrender of the French at Detroit. This book tells the story of the conflict between the two explaining why one ended as the Father of his Country while the other died a traitor.
I may have to pick it up…