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What They Didn't Teach You About the American Revolution Hardcover – June 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: What They Didn't Teach You
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891416684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891416685
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,776,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In previous volumes of this series, Wright presumed to enlighten us on "secrets" of the Civil War and World War II. Here, he proclaims his goal of demythologizing our founding fathers and the cause for which they fought. For serious students of history, Wright's revelations must seem pompous; little here is new, and in repeating as fact many unverifiable but oft-repeated claims, Wright helps foster new mythologies. Still, he covers the gamut of the revolutionary era with a highly readable, breezy narrative style, and some of his speculations eloquently illustrate the ironies always present in grand historical movements. For general readers, this work will inform, amuse, and occasionally provide an interesting perspective on the Revolution. Jay Freeman

More About the Author

Mike Wright (Michael Allan Wright, 1938) was born in Norfolk, Virginia, but spent his childhood years in nearby Portsmouth. From many years he worked as a radio disc jockey, local and network radio news reporter, and television reporter, anchor, and producer. For 17 years he was a producer for NBC News in Chicago, where he won several news awards, including two EMMYs. When he left television he turned to writing for print. . . and "never looked back (except on paydays)". So far, he's published six books, five of them in his "What They Didn't Teach You. . ." series. He's now working on a seventh light history as well as an eighth, a fact-based novel.
With his wife Lin, a university professor, and their Alaskan Malamute, Selkie the Wonder Pup, they live in New York City. As a friend says, "Mike's a Virginian living in New York."

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Craig on December 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author provides a contemporary read of many key events in the American Revolution. Highly readable for someone who needs a refresher in the American Revolution but doesn't want to dive into the conventional histories. It IS readable and occasionally jabs with some unexpected wit. Wright takes fresh and vivid looks at the Boston Massacre, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington that puts events in their place and reminds us of our humanity. The format does jump around in time quite a bit but the Revolution is a complex canvas. Thank him for following our revolutionary personalities to their passings, an especially moving chapter. The book is warm and honest. You get to be the judge of the legend and reality. Like a small bag of potato chips, you are left wanting more on many key events, but you get the feeling Wright did his best. We were just lousy historians while we were fighting for our independence. There are some great tidbits and pointers for those of military interest (See the description of the Battle of Cowpens). Thanks to Mr. Wright for a lively revisit to the American Revolution
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A fun read that breathes life into all the old stories and characters. Gathers information from a voluminous amount of sources, and clarifies various bits of detailed information that was only hinted at before. The book also de-bunks some of the ongoing myths about the war. The only problem I had with it, was that there were a few chronological jumps that were disorienting. All in all, an easy read for all. I couldn't put it down.
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By ebarsquared on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
The writing style here is so disjointed that what information is provided in the text is better learned from other sources. It's also a little off-putting that they text does not include any footnote citations, so it's impossible to tell what sources the author uses if you want to go to the original writing. Ok for a popular historical work, but does not strike me as a source of research.
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By william baldwin on December 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for history, you might want to try another author. Mike Wright is notorious for opinionated writing and lack of hystorical facts. I wasted my money on this book.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a series of essays on parts of history that are skipped over in the schoolbooks. He repeats the claim that only "one third" wanted to separate from Britain (p.xii). Can this ever be true then or now? I would estimate that about 3 out of 4 would be a more realistic figure (from what I read about other countries). John Adams history of the Revolution was flawed by his notoriously bad memory (p.293). Or the way he wanted to remember it?
It tells how the Stamp Act resulted in the colonies forming a Congress and asking for its repeal, a direct tax. Americans did not have the gold and silver to pay the stamp duty (p.30). They raised their own food, and bartered; they could not print paper money.
On p.60 he says there is no "Butcher's Hall" on the site of the Boston Massacre (as depicted in Paul Revere's engraving)! Isn't that a symbol for the British barracks?
On p.64 he claims that a "guinea" is a pound (it is 21 shillings), and only worth about $1.35! That's way too low! Compare the price of homes, wages, etc. to find out its worth then. Page 82 repeats this mistake in currency evaluation ("$81"). Page 101 tells of Tom Paine's suggested old age pension of "ten pounds a year"; that would make their pound worth about $1000. He also mentions a great increase in the poor before the revolution, but doesn't go into the cause.
Tradition tells of suffering, starvation, and death at Valley Forge (p.205). A National Park Service survey in the 1970s claimed differently; each month the 10,000 man army received a million pounds of flour, and a million pounds of meat and fish (3 pounds each a day). Surely the tradition is correct, and not the paper figures. But the winters in Morristown NJ were worse.
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