Monday 27 February 2023

Cavalry Hero Casamir Pulaski - Dorothy Adams - Portraits in Faith and Freedom

Cavalry Hero Casamir Pulaski
Portraits in Faith and Freedom
Dorothy Adams
Irena Lorentowicz (Illustrator)
Bethlehem Books
ISBN 9781932350562

This is an interesting read. And by that I do not mean to complain. It is the fourth book in this series, the other three are all either canonized of their cause is in process, or were a martyr. This case is not nearly so clear cut. This specific volume does not give much information on his faith and practice, and there appears to be much speculation he as a Free Mason later in life. And this volume does not touch upon that at all. That being said he was clearly a hero and a freedom fighter in the purest sense of the work. 

This book was the fourth I have read in the Portraits in Faith and Freedom Series. The series is broken up into 6 sets, and this volume is part of set 2:

Set 2: Polish Advocates Of Hope And Nationhood
So Young a Queen: Jadwiga of Poland - Lois Mills
Cavalry Hero: Casimir Pulaski - Dorothy Adams
The Lion of Poland: The Story of Paderewski - Ruth and Paul Hume

There are 18 volumes across the sets in the series. And I cannot but hope that Bethlehem Books will extend the series, much as Ignatius Press is now adding new volumes to the Vision Books for Young Readers series. I was asked if I had ever read and reviewed any books in this series, at the time I had not. I read Joseph the Huron by Antoinette Bosco first and loved it so much I have now read three more and now I have the rest of the series in my to be read pile. 

Several volumes in the series grabbed my attention immediately, this one rose to the top after reading about the faith and devotion of Jadwiga. I was asked by someone who had enjoyed my reviews of the Encounter the Saints books by Pauline Books and Media, and who was following now my reviews on the Vision Books for Young Readers now from Ignatius Press to read and review some books in this series. I am very thankful they did, my plan is to read about 1 a week until I have finished the 18 currently available, as mentioned I hope by then there will be more volumes in the series available. 

I will note most of these versions are available on Amazon, but most do not have Kindle eBook editions. I will state that they are very reasonable from the publisher in print or eBook editions. This volume was originally published in 1957 by P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York. This edition from Bethlehem Books is revised, it has added maps, and other additional material was released in 2016. 

The description of this volume is:

“Casimir Pulaski is most remembered as the dashing Polish cavalry officer who aids the United States’ fight for independence with daring feats of courage and strategy. As a child, already a gifted horseman, he learns from his father Joseph Pulaski, a statesman and landowner, what it means to stand for justice. The love and practical wisdom his mother shares with Casimir and his seven siblings cause him to deeply love his Catholic faith. These two influences converge in his committed enthusiasm to fight for the rights of religious and national freedom. In 1775, after ten unsuccessful years of striving to free Poland from Russia’s oppressive influence upon Polish law and culture, Casimir, falsely accused of treason against the king and exiled from his beloved homeland, travels to France. He convinces Benjamin Franklin of his sincerity in taking up America’s struggle against oppression. Serving under George Washington, Casimir achieves the near impossible feat of building a disciplined Cavalry Legion from American ragtag soldiers. In 1779, the fearless cavalryman dies from wounds after a final blazing charge at the Battle of Savannah—at the age of 32. America’s tribute to Casimir Pulaski’s sacrifice for the sake of freedom is still to be seen in the many places throughout the country that bear his name.”

The sections and chapters in this volume are:

Web Resources
Pronunciation Guide
1. At Winiary
2. Boyhood
3. The Knights
4. The Polish Confederates
5. Exile and Prison
6. The American Dream
7. Washington’s Aide
8. Winter of Disappointment
9. Pulaski’s Legion
10. Treachery at Little Egg Harbor
11. Victory at Charleston
12. The Battle of Savannah
13. A Hero’s End
About the Author
Historical Insights by Daria Sockey
List of titles in Portraits in Faith and Freedom

Those sections at the beginning of the book are excellent for helping young readers, for use in the classroom or for home schooling. The downloadable resources are top quality. And the additional information at both the beginning and end of the story are greatly beneficial for readers of all ages. There are several subjects in this series that I am familiar with a few I have read a number of books about. This was my first encounter with Casamir Pulaski. I devoured this volume over a few sittings. I just could not put it down. It is an excellent story of devotion, and service, and fighting for freedom, first in Poland and then Serving the US against Britain. This life reads like an action or adventure novel. Back and forth across Europe and then  coming to the new world to continue to fight for freedom.

The writing is engaging, and the biography is well written. It was well researched, The Historical Insights section at the end of the volume is a great starting point for young readers. This is the second volume focusing on Polish Advocates of Hope and Nationhood. It is a wonderful story of about commitment to family, to country, country, and service in the cause of freedom. In the Historical insights section, we are informed that:

“In So Young a Queen, the first book of the “Polish Advocates of Hope and Nationhood” Portraits, the story ended on a high note—the selfless sacrifice and wisdom of Queen Jadwiga resulted in a strong, prosperous, and Catholic Poland. A nation that became a center of trade, culture, education, and also a haven of tolerance for religious minorities.

But as Calvary Hero opens, nearly four centuries have passed, and Poland is dying. Surrounded by several powerful, grasping kingdoms, Poland always struggled for its existence. But a series of horrific wars in the mid-17th century, known collectively as The Deluge, had reduced Poland’s population by 1/3 and robbed much of its treasure. By the early 18th century the weakened nation was already a protectorate of Russia: independent in theory but vulnerable to Russian political intrigue and torn by many factions. Its borders to the west and the south were being nibbled away by Prussia and Austria. Shortly after the events narrated in Calvary Hero, Poland disappeared from the map as an independent nation—swallowed up by Russia, Austria, and Germany (Prussia). Its resurrection wouldn’t occur until 1918.”

This book, and series is attempting to bring back into print a volume that is a great read for tweens and teens today. It is also an important read for us older folks. The example in this story is far less about faith but it is about freedom. This volume is a great read and it leaves you desperate to read others in the set and the series. An very good read that I can easily recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books in the Portraits in Faith and Freedom Series:
Set 1: Founding Voices For Freedom In The U.S.
Charles Carroll and the American Revolution - Milton Lomask
Priest, Patriot and Leader: The Story of Archbishop Carroll - Eva K. Betz
Mathew Carey: Pamphleteer for Freedom - Jane F. Hindman

Set 2: Polish Advocates Of Hope And Nationhood
The Lion of Poland: The Story of Paderewski - Ruth and Paul Hume

Set 3: Spanish And Mexican Heroes
The Sea Tiger: The Story of Pedro Menéndez - Frank Kolars

Set 4: Women Of Faith And Courage
Star of the Mohawk: Kateri Tekakwitha - Francis MacDonald
Margaret Haughery: Bread Woman of New Orleans - Flora Strousse
The Door of Hope: The Story of Katharine Drexel - Katherine Burton

Set 5: Missionaries On The Frontier
Simon Bruté and the Western Adventure - Elizabeth Bartelme
Frontier Priest and Congressman: Father Gabriel Richard, S.S. - Brother Alois
Black Robe Peacemaker: Pierre De Smet - J. G. E. Hopkins

Set 6: New York Ambassadors Of Brotherhood
Pierre Toussaint: Pioneer in Brotherhood - Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan
John Hughes: Eagle of the Church - Doran Hurley
Alfred E. Smith: Sidewalk Statesman - William G. Schofield

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