A Man A Woman in Early America


Revolutionary, by Alex Myers

This is an unusual book by an unusual author. Let me tell you this first: Myers is a transgender woman-to-man person, and this fact colors this first, well-crafted novel by Myers. For reasons that are rather obvious, Myers’ novel concerns the life of Deborah Samson.

This is a fictionalized account of real person Samson who, unhappy with her life in rural Massachusetts, chose to enlist in the Continental Army and fight both Loyalists and British soldiers. She took on the name Robert Shurtliff and all but escaped being exposed as a woman until her release from army duty. Clearly this book has an autobiographical component, and as Myers unwraps his story of Deborah, one is confronted with the dilemma of a woman in eighteenth century America who wants something more than the traditional female role of servitude. Too, readers will experience the plight of one such as the author, who seems a man in a woman’s body. In this sense, both Deborah and this fictional account of her life as a soldier are revolutionary.

The story is well researched and her characters are vivid and real. The dialogue at times seems stiff as Myers tries to give the characters’ language an eighteenth century feel, but the story is well executed and Deborah/Robert’s life stands tall among those of lesser character.

My rating 17 of 20 stars


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