A Bee in His Bonnet

Non-Fiction - Biography
303 Pages
Reviewed on 04/06/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

A Bee in His Bonnet by Bernard J. Fleury Ed.D. is a creative biography of his maternal grandfather, Frank King (1877-1958). Born and raised an Englishman of mixed Ojibwa heritage, Frank adopted the United States as his home and served with distinction over a long career in the U.S. Army. His life provides a fascinating study of the American and European history through which he and his extended family lived.

Dr. Fleury begins with the adventurous story of the courtship and elopement of Frank’s parents from an Ojibwa village in Canada and the raising of their large family in England. The adventure continues as Frank and his numerous siblings reach adult age and pursue their own directions, some near home; some, like him, far from it. The blending of history and creative biography provides a dramatic overview of the events and societal changes that impacted Frank’s life.

A Bee in His Bonnet is the kind of book you don’t want to put down once you start reading it. The word “adventure” hardly captures the full breadth and scale of Dr. Fleury’s treatment of his grandfather’s life. The narrative and dialog keep the pace moving at a clip, while now and then there is a slight pause to remind the reader of the historical setting. I cried at the end, as I believe any reader would. This is a magnificent tribute by a grandson to his grandfather, just as Frank King’s life stands as a magnificent tribute to the caliber of man that he was.

Sefina Hawke

A Bee in His Bonnet by Bernard J. Fleury is the biography of an American soldier, Frank King, Fleury’s grandfather. This is a book that would appeal most to a mixed audience of adults and young adults who have an interest in learning more about the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and World War I through the eyes of an American soldier. Frank King came to the United States of America in the year 1898 and, shortly after, he became not only a soldier, but also a traveler who chronicled his life experiences in both soldiering and traveling.

A Bee in His Bonnet by Bernard J. Fleury is a well written biography that offers a unique perspective, both similar and different from most modern historical textbooks. Unlike a textbook, the author does not focus on just the historical importance, but instead on the experiences of Frank King during historical wars and his direct impact on them. The author uses old photos with captions and that really helped me to feel a connection with the people featured in this book. It allowed me to have a clear image in my head of what they actually looked like instead of having to rely purely on my imagination. I particularly liked learning about Frank King’s part in the capture of Faustino Ablen. As I read this book, I found myself becoming interested in learning more about some of the wars Frank King fought in so that I could truly understand more about the role that he played in them as an individual soldier.

Arya Fomonyuy

A Bee in His Bonnet by Bernard J. Fleury is an interesting biography with a lot in it for those who love history and who are keen to find out what happened in some of the wars that have shaped modern history. The book is about the life of the author’s grandfather, Frank King, who entered the US in 1898, became a soldier, and fought in many wars. In this biography, the author chronicles events in the Spanish-American War, the insurrection in the Philippines, and World War I. The reader is introduced to some of Frank's heroic acts, the battles he participated in, and his presence in historic moments, including the capture of Aguinaldo. Frank kept a journal in which he wrote profusely.

This action-packed nonfiction story pulls the reader into the climates of war and makes them experience what it felt like to be at the front line. Told from the unique perspective of the soldier, the story is filled with relevant historical references and moments, a tale of courage and bravery in the face of war. The reader is transported to different historical places to experience some of the most grueling and intensive actions in war. The author captures very interesting historical details and enables readers to understand world politics and conflict from the point of view of someone who was actively and personally involved. The writing in A Bee in His Bonnet is beautiful and Bernard J. Fleury’s literary skill and charm keep readers engaged. This is a tale of family, of war, of travel, and one man’s dedication to his country.