Best 1912 Adventures (8)
January 29, 2017
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1912 adventure novels. Happy 105th anniversary!
Louis Pergaud’s YA adventure La Guerre des boutons (The War of the Buttons).
Two gangs of adolescent boys, from rival villages (Longeverne and Velrans) in France’s Franche-Comté region, wage war against one another. The goal is to capture as many buttons as possible from the opposing side by cutting them off shirts and pants; the battles are fought with fists, sticks and stones — without mercy. Longeverne’s army is led by Lebrac, and Velrans’s army is led by Aztec de Gués. The losing side in each battle also faces beatings, from their parents, once they arrive home button-less. Though the Velrans army is a superior fighting force, Lebrac is a brilliant tactician — ultimately leading his troops into battle naked, to prevent damage to their clothes.
Fun facts: The author got his inspiration from the village of Landresse, where he taught for two years. The book has been adapted as a French movie several times — including a 1962 version directed by Yves Robert; it has also been adapted as an Irish movie.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1912 adventures that you particularly admire.