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Ethan Allen: His Life and Times Hardcover – August 22, 2011
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This is the first biography of Ethan Allen in half a century, and the only one to render him a psychologically complicated, fully flawed hero of the American Revolution. (Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx)
Willard Sterne Randall has few equals as a writer. A careful and meticulous historian, and an esteemed biographer, Randall has marshaled his many talents to produce the definite biography of Ethan Allen, one of the most fascinating figures in the founding of the American nation.... a must read. (John Ferling, author of Independence)
This is the powerful story about an essential and little-understood figure in American history. Willard Randall writes with grace and insight, and Ethan Allen is an engaging biography. (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion)
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Top Customer Reviews
Bottom line: Don't be fooled by "reviews" by potential customers who are in fact reviewing Amazon's pricing policies. Give this book the chance it deserves. You will be well rewarded.
Vermont State Senator
This book is obviously the product of extensive research into the subject matter. Randall's writing style made this book impossible to put down as the chapters read like a novel rather than a biography.
I highly recommend this book -- not only because it is about an underappreciated American Hero -- but because it is a great book.
There is lack of understanding of New England geogaphy. For instance, Worcester, MA(our 2nd largest city) is not "on the Connecticut River"(page 6-hardcover) and in fact over 40 miles away. Allen couldn't "have followed the Batten Kill"(page 178 into Pownal from the South as as in fact the Batten Kill never goes into Pownal but flows 3 towns to the north. Fort William Henry is on the southern, not northern(page 103), part of Lake George. On page 253 it states that Pittsford is 20 miles from Bennnington whereas it is actually over 55 miles. On page 299, the book states that Westminter is in the "southwest" part of Vermont when according to Mapquest it is actually as far east as it can be given it is on the Connecticut River(the NH/VT border). There also seems to be very little knowledge of the way rivers/lakes flow in Vermont and Upstate NY.
Inconsistencies are also frequent. For example, on page 190 its indicates Benning Wentworth(NH) chartered 140 towns, yet on page 194 it says 127 and on page 195 its says 137. To top it off, on page 243, the book indicates 178 towns. Another inconsistency is where Ethan Allen's cousin, Remember Baker lived. On pages 177/178 it is stated stated that Baker's home was Pownal for 4 years prior to 1767 or starting in 1763/1764. Yet on pages 363/364, it is stated that Baker lived in Arlington for 12 years prior to 1775(when he was killed) which would mean he was in Arlington, not Pownal, from 1763/1764. This inconsistency also raises the whole question of Baker ever having a home in Pownal.Read more ›
The book in question, Ethan Allen: A Life did not wait long in the public eye for its value to be acknowledged. That happened quickly in more than a few noteworthy quarters. And let us not forget that the book did satisfy some standards acknowledged to be rather estimable: not bothered by minor oversights, the New York Review of Books called the same book, "A thoroughly researched and well-written study." Even before that, The Wall Street Journal characterized it as "Exhaustively researched and insightful." Then there are the comments by widely respected academic historians. Let me also point out that no major premise of the book has been challenged.
Naturally, there have also been some grumblings, the kind of thing that would once have been called "pot shots." Having enjoyed Ethan Allen: A Life even more than I expected to, I wondered why there was any fussing at all.
Curious about the cavils that a volunteer amateur reviewer inspired, I made my own comparison of that first hardcover printing of Willard Sterne Randall's book, Ethan Allen: A Life, alongside a subsequent printing, just to see whether the errors that offended History Buff were being allowed to stand. Here's what I found.
Those minor geographical errors --and there are only four in a 600-page plus book-- are already corrected in the next printing. Anyone who likes to quibble could, I suppose, discuss a question about how close to a particular town Ethan Allen came on snowshoes. That one bothered me rather little. But the energetic finger that wagged hard about the author's putative inconsistency was vexing enough to make me keep digging. It turns out that those criticisms have more to do with some hasty reading (by Mr. Buff) than with the book's writing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent read. If it wasn't for Ethan Allen I doubt Vermont would be a state today. I learned a great deal about his life during the revolutionary period in our... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting history of Ethan Allen, Vermont, and of the Revolutionary War. It is a study of those who were trying to make a new life and a new nation in a frontier land.Published 9 months ago by Marjorie Farnsworth
Willard Sterne Tandall is one of my favorite historian / biographers. Having read his biography of Benedict Arnold, it was very interesting to see Randall pivot and describe many... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lawrence E. Day
This is definitely NOT just an account of Ethan Allen's service in the American Revolution, which fills only a portion of the book (due in large part to his capture not all that... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Captain K
I was expecting something much more interesting, or perhaps a little entertaining. Stories of battle and politics and diplomacy and betrayal, or some such things. Read morePublished 14 months ago by E. B. Anderson
This book represents a sincere effort to capture a complex man within his historical context. Arguably Allen was America's greatest founding father, despite his foibles. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Christopher G. Palmer
Excellent Book About Events Surrounding Revolutionary War And How Vermont Became A State.Published 18 months ago by sally