Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Pursuit of Glory by John Hansen is set in 1898, where 21-year-old Jack Keller has lived his entire life in Gilmore, Idaho, a small mining town near the Montana border. He makes a spontaneous choice to join the First United States Cavalry, otherwise known as the Rough Riders, and go off to the war in Cuba. His disillusionment with the Army and killing will make readers care about every decision that he makes, which will determine his future until he returns from the war.
Apart from some violence and profanity, Pursuit of Glory is a fairly immaculate novel for the general reader, with the Spanish-American War as its background. Jack is a well-drawn protagonist, including his parents, Tom and Annabelle Keller, who lost their daughter, Lucy, in a wagon accident. Tom partly blames Jack’s departure to war as the butterfly effect that caused Lucy’s death. This further solidifies the estrangement between father and son, along with other changes of events, particularly the outcome of his one-time tryst he had with a girl of questionable reputation, Clara Bell. I felt that Jack mostly just got caught up with the dominant circumstances at the time, letting his young mind get the best of him, and still wasn’t sure what he wanted.
On the whole, Hansen has a solid grasp on both the historical and fictional aspects, making this novel an immersive read. The plot has a good pace and following Jack’s self-journey towards adulthood, his duty as a soldier, and his relationship with his family is a substantial read.