"Enough Good Men"
by Charles Mercer
[published by G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1960]
Enough Good Men follows the lives of a half-dozen
people from the Philadelphia area through the decade leading up to the outbreak of the
Revolution. The cast ranges from a young, American-born, British-educated lawyer who looks
upon Pennsylvania as the ultimate backwater but is drawn into the rebel army by his radical
Whig politics, to a teenaged indentured girl who was brought to Philadelphia from deep in the
western wilderness, to a rich Philadelphia merchant whose political allegiance follows the
compass of profit.
The book is well researched and well written, stuffed full of details
about the time period it portrays, but it is definitely an "idea"
book. For all its large cast, the story isn't really about the people, it's
about the events which shape their lives: civil unrest that pits neighbor
against neighbor, the abstract philosophical ideals of "liberty" and
the grim realities of the war that sweeps over them. Although it isn't a big
novel, it has an "epic" feel to it because it covers so much
time and so many changes. Since I read books for the people more than the
plot, this makes it a somewhat dull read for me, but that's simply a matter of
As Tarleton trivia, it gets a mention only in the cause of completism. One
segment of the story takes place in Philadelphia during the winter of the
British occupation, and various historical figures, including Banastre and
make token appearances as set dressing. The half-dozen
mentions of them are historically accurate -- or at least plausible -- but