Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review: The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller

Author: Joel J. Miller
Publisher: Thomas Miller
Publication date: April 2010
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4
Source:  phenix & phenix literary publicists (Thanks Shelby!)

Synopsis: from Goodreads
"Quick in the saddle and fast out of town." Watch one of America's most remarkable heroes come alive through fast-paced prose and gripping storytelling.
The Revolutionary Paul Revere starts at a gallop and never slows down. Follow Revere's adventure-filled life from childhood through the French and Indian War; from the prerevolutionary economic disasters through the incendiary tax fights and riots; from military occupation of Boston through Revere's part in the Boston Massacre trial; from his role in the Boston Tea Party through his early service as express rider for the Massachusetts patriots; from the tragic death of his first wife through the whimsical pursuit of a new love; from his role as waterfront spy through his famous midnight ride; from his participation in the worst American naval disaster before Pearl Harbor through his eventual vindication.
Learn about Revere's life in the Freemasons and the secret political clubs of Boston. Discover his role in Massachusetts' ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Get the inside picture of his business dealings, and see how he transformed himself from poor artisan to wealthy industrialist, making everything from kettles to cannons. Revere's life story is the quintessential American story.
My thoughts:
Paul Revere, made famous in the Longfellow poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," was an early model for the struggles and triumphs of the American dream. In the book The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller, the author pulls together primary documents and other resources to show Revere as the new American -- idealistic, independent, headstrong and innovative.

Unlike some of the other prominent revolutionaries like John Adams and John Hancock, Paul Revere was a laborer, a tradesman who continued to struggle financially as the new America went through its growing pains and teen aged rebellions. Revere also continued to straddle his political views with his financial need to support his large family.

He may have conferred, planned and participated alongside the revolutionaries, but that doesn't mean that he was averse to accepting jobs from loyalists. He was practical after all, and Revere had many mouths to feed at home.

The format of this book, with the little synopses at the beginning of each chapter creates a nice flow and structure to the book. It reads as a student-friendly history book, perfect for research and sure to be enjoyed by those who like the "side story" versions of history. What I learned from this book is that although he was a rather minor player in history, Revere is an example of American gumption and creativity.

About the author:
Miller is the vice president of editorial and acquisitions for the non-fiction division of Thomas Nelson. He has been an editor for more than a decade and is the author of two other books, Bad Trip (Thomas Nelson, June 2004) and Size Matters (Thomas Nelson, January 2006).  For more information about Miller and The Revolutionary Paul Revere, please visit www.joeljmiller.com.


Jan von Harz said...

I teach Longfellow's poem each year and would love to read this. I will be emailing my school librarian and telling her about this one. Thanks!

Gwen said...

This has been on my wishlist for a bit now, will have to bump it up.


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