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Ashes in the Wilderness : A novel by William G. Schofield

Ashes in the Wilderness : A novel by William G. Schofield


Philadelphia : Macrae-Smith Company, 1942. First Edition. Hardcover. 317 pages ; 22 cm. $2.50 dust jacket with heavy wear along the dust jacket edges. Bookplate on flyleaf and owner name written underneath it as well. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.

SELDOM has a young country been faced with graver danger than confronted the early New England Colonists of whom William G. Schofield writes so convincingly in this memorable and absorbing story told against the dramatic and starkly realistic background of the most important of the early Indian wars—King Philip's War. Few braver or more forthright men have ever lived than Ben Church of Duxbury who was called to action by the growing terrorism of the hostile Indian tribes and who, with the assistance of Christian Painter, in love with Martina Randall whose Quaker parents disapproved of him, rallied their neighbors, townsmen and assemblies in their eventually successful campaign against the wily, murderous Meta-comet. Through Church's curious friendship with Flower Girl, a Sakonnet princess, the Colonists were able to enlist the aid of the Narragansetts, a factor of greatest significance in the determination of the war. The author portrays vividly the early set-tlements—Duxbury, Plymouth, Taunton, Middleboro, Providence, Northfield and others too numerous to mention. Much of the incident is based on authentic source material, including Church's own diary, although both Martina and Christian, with whose romance the novel is largely concerned, are wholly fictional.

This is a story that could have been written only by an American who feels deeply about his country—an America that has always been willing to make the supreme sacrifice—not for conquest—but for freedom.


There have been few dull moments in William Schofield's career since his first newspaper venture at the age of ten when he edited the Edge-wood (R. I.) News, a paper which was promptly suppressed because it featured a gossip column that dealt none too charitably with some of the town's best people. In due time he was graduated from Cranston High School and entered Brown University where he was a frequent contributor to various campus publications, College Humor and the Providence News. He left college in 1930 intending to go to France, but landed instead in New Orleans where he earned money by stevedoring, writing newspaper features, working in restaurants and even singing in anightclubb. There followed a brief jaunt to Mexico before the depression set in during which time he sold automobiles, rode freights, washed windows and worked in garages—anything and everything that would provide a square meal and a place to sleep. He came back to New England on a freighter and after working in New Bedford and Bridgeport for a business equipment firm he went to Cape Cod to help found and write for the Cape Cod Colonial. From there he went to the Providence Journal-Bulletin which he left two years later to go to the Boston Herald where he has been sticking close to the rewrite desk in addition to doing special features. He was married in 1934, has two youngsters, Elinor Jean and Michael, and makes his home in Waban, Massachusetts. As Ashes in the Wilderness was being prepared for publication, Mr. Schofield was momentarily expecting a commission in the Armed Forces.


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