Chamberlain and triumph



To the Editor:

I was thrilled to read the Islander’s article “Matthew Cost to talk about Chamberlain novel.” I just wish that I could have attended the lecture.

Civil War hero General Joshua Chamberlain did so much in his life. A graduate of Bowdoin, he was a professor there when he left to join the military in the Civil War. He returned to Maine and served as governor for four one-year terms and then went to serve as president of Bowdoin for the next 12 years.

The article did a great job of citing the important facts and issues in Chamberlain’s life.

One important aspect of his life was not mentioned in the article, and I do not know if it is mentioned in Cost’s novel, “Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War.” Chamberlain was a person who stuttered.

In his youth, his father wanted him to follow in the family tradition of the military, while his mother wanted him to be a minister; he knew that in both of these professions, he would face stumbling blocks because of his speech.

The website of the Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org) has a biographical profile on Chamberlain.

While at Bowdoin, Chamberlain mastered nine languages besides English: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Syriac, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He worked extensively with a speech correctionist and was able to learn techniques that both controlled his stuttering and lead him to fluency.

I think that there should be extra consideration given to Joshua Chamberlain for all that he overcame in his life to distinguish himself as a Maine resident in many ways.

I was unaware of Cost’s novel until I read your article. I am definitely going to read it.

Adam Lichter

Springfield, Mass.

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