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Pursuit of Happiness Paperback – October 20, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (October 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439262446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439262443
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,880,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Sheldon Greene's Pursuit of Happiness is a rousing, richly detailed piece of historical fiction set during the American Revolution. Equal parts adventure and romance, and teeming with colorful characters, the novel tells the story of Joshua Rutledge, a Philadelphia Quaker and cooper's son, and Amelia Sayre, the beautiful wife of a cruel and domineering plantation owner named Duncan. When the novel opens, both Joshua and Amelia are leading lives of protected innocence; each longs for something more but doesn't know where (or how) to seek fulfillment. Soon the American Revolution impinges on them in ways neither could imagine. A childhood friend calls upon Joshua, an ardent pacifist, to join in the American war effort. George Washington's army has dwindled to a few thousand poorly outfitted men. Resistant at first, Joshua eventually accedes to his friend's appeal and soon finds himself involved in the war as a spy. Remarkably, he obtains the information that leads to Washington's rout of the British in the Battle of Trenton, a victory that breathes new life into the revolution. The success of Joshua's reconnaissance mission leads to another assignment: to find a large shipment of French arms and escort the cache back through a British blockade of American ports. The journey takes Joshua to Haiti via the fictional island of St. Catherine's. Along the way he meets Alexander Da Costa, the mixed-blood son of a Jewish merchant, and to whom Joshua entrusts half of the arms shipment. Moreover, in St. Catherine's, he falls in love with Amelia, whom he meets immediately upon his arrival. The narrative build-up to this meeting and the passionate affair that follows is wholly enjoyable. Unlike his first spy mission, however, this second mission proves only half-successful, since only Joshua, and not Alexander, is able to return to the colonies. But within this apparent "failure" lies Joshua's way back to St. Catherine's and Amelia, this time as a marine captain determined to find Alexander and a missing arms shipment that could mean the difference between victory and defeat for American patriots. As a work of historical fiction, Greene's novel is as meticulously researched as it is conceived and executed. The writer evokes the Revolutionary period, and the people and places of that time, with an artfulness and grace that makes for easy immersion in the novel. Although events seem almost too neatly interconnected at times, Greene's impeccable sense of novelistic pacing, characterization, and plot vividly demonstrates his skill as a literary craftsman, and creates an especially entertaining and memorable read. Pursuit of Happiness is as much a story of the colonial quest for independence as it is that of a young man finding his identity and place in the world. Maude Adjarian, Clarion Reviews --Maude Adjarian, Clarion Reviews

I recommend this book to all fiction readers and some who prefer a little nonfiction thrown in for good measure. It is a real find and so enjoyable to read. Another treasure by Sheldon Greene. Mary Ligonor, Book Pleasures --Mary Lignor, Book Pleasures

Historical novels have never been at the top of my list for choices in reading material, but since I've read Pursuit of Happiness by Sheldon Greene, they have moved far up on the list. --Lisa Binion,Fiction Editor, Bellaonline,

More About the Author

Sheldon Greene is a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Greene & Allison. The firm works with over 40 credit unions on the West Coast. He is also Executive Vice President and Director of Oak Creek Energy Systems, Inc. a Southern California wind energy operator and development company that is responsible for the consummation of the largest ever wind energy power purchase agreement; 1550 MW to deliver energy to Southern California Edison. Oak Creek is a subsidiary of Marubeni, a multi-national Japanese trading company.


Graduated Magna Cum Lauda, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, Order of the Coif, Case Western Reserve University, undergraduate and law, fifth in Grand National Debate Tournament, Law Review Editor, Winner Dunmore Moot Court Competition, Contracts Prize.

Work History:

Law Clerk, Court of Common Pleas,

Warden of Insurance of the State of Ohio, attorney in first successful state challenge to increased Blue Cross insurance rates,

House Counsel to Pennsylvania Life Insurance Co.,

War Against Poverty: As Directing Attorney of the Modesto office and later General Counsel, of California Rural Legal Assistance; he successfully brought suits against the Regan administration that blocked massive cuts in medical assistance to low income and working poor, a suit requiring implementation of minimum wages for women and minors, a suit blocking importation of braceros, a suit challenging abuses of the non resident worker law among others. He drafted legislation and secured bi-partisan sponsorship of the first law in United States to penalize the knowing employment of illegal entrants in the country, which was signed into law by then California Governor Reagan.

Cultural: He was a member of the founding board of the New Israel Fund and served as its first secretary. He lived in Israel for almost two years studied Hebrew in Jerusalem, worked on the National Archeological Survey in the Negev and a Kibbutz in the Gallil and wrote a novel.

Political: He has been a member of the Nancy Pelosi initiated San Francisco based Red to Blue group since 2005 and has contributed to key House and Senate campaigns as identified by the leadership..

Obama: Greene was a member of two Obama National Policy Teams: Energy and Immigration and was active in working up both policies. He became a supporter of Barak Obama just before he announced his campaign for President.



Lost and Found, a novel, Random House,
Burnt Umber, a novel, Leap Frog Press,
Prodigal Sons, a novel, Book Surge
Pursuit of Happiness, CreateSpace

Law Review:

Promised Land: Distribution of Public Land by the United States 5 Ecology Law Quarterly 4 at 707-751 (1976) University of California, Berkeley

Public Agency Distortion of Congressional Will, 40 The George Washington Law Review #3 March 1972, pp 440-464

Immigration Law and Rural Poverty-The Problems of the Illegal Entrant, 1969 Duke Law Journal #3 pp475-494

Cause of Action and the Statute of Limitation, Koenigberg v. California, 9 Survey of Ohio Law, 10 Western Reserve Law Review

Periodicals and books

Man in the Middle, Liability of California Insurance Agents and Brokers, Underwriters Report, April 8, 1965

Wetbacks, Growers, and Poverty, The Nation, Oct 20 1969
CRLA Pest or Pesticide? California Farmer Sept 20, 1969

Somebody is Always Offended , The Nation, Dec. 14, 1970

Is Lawcare Next? The Nation, Dec. 11, 1972

Employment of Illegal Entrants Los Angeles Times, May 25 1972

Corporate Accountability and the Family Farm, in Radical Agriculture, edited by Richard Merrill, Harper Colophon 1976

Personal: Resides, Berkeley CA. Married to Judy Greene a psychotherapist. One daughter, Talia an artist, married living in Philadelphia, one grand child. He sings baritone in the Oakland Symphony Chorus, gardens, writes novels and non fiction, and plays singles tennis. He and Judy collect art, travel a lot, like good food and wine, and take in a lot of cultural events. He reads the NYTimes and the Economist for information and is a self confessed policy wonk with opinions on most everything.

Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
K. Ingerto
The author is an excellent story teller and the book is full of historical fact along with fiction to keep you interested.
M. Lignor
The author has written a riveted story intertwined with all kinds of characters, most of them real in their times.
Cy B. Hilterman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Pursuit of Happiness By Sheldon Greene is a well-told revolutionary war tale, and, as the title might lead one to believe, there's romance involved too. But the most prominent parts of the tale involve the machinations of none other than General George Washington to convince blockade runners to retrieve a desperately needed shipment of French arms from a secret location somewhere in the Caribbean islands, and the completion of that task, at a considerable risk to the particpants.

This tale is well researched as the historical bits fit nicely into place, and the fictional bits seem authentic enough that they could have happened. The author grabs the reader from page one, never letting go until the end. A nicely placed historical note reveals that a few, slight liberties were taken with certain historical events and some of the area's geography. A list of sources are provided afterwards which the historically-interested reader may wish to consult.

Recommended to readers of historical fiction and those who just love to read a book full of action, adventure and thrills... Oh yeah... the romance. For those who don't like much romance in their literature, there's not a lot here, but it does add a bit of interest to the tale at parts that might sag otherwise.

A review copy of Pursuit of Happiness By Sheldon Greene was provided to me free by the author in exchange for this review. This review has been posted on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and wherever else I may deep appropriate.
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Format: Paperback
I had read the description of the book as written by the author and expected to find myself "grabbed from the first page" but I was not so grabbed! The beginning and for quite a few pages was used to describe the books characters, surrounding nature, the description of the clothing, and in general, the times. However, after the first part of the book things got very interesting as more of the Revolutionary War and the characters of that war were introduced making the reader then "be grabbed"! The authors' descriptive writing made the story very intriguing. You will meet George Washington and many of the military and government leaders of the day.

Amelia Sayre was married to Duncan seemingly in name only. Duncan promised much but rarely followed through, such as the six-months in Europe that never materialized. Duncan also wanted no parts of children, a fact that Amelia found so wrong for a married couple. Amelia would look out to the sea waiting for ships to sail into port hoping that something new would arise from that arrival. Amelia had her friends and Rachel was probably the closest. Slavery was very much a part of the times. Some slaves were given some freedom within the family they worked for but were never totally free. They took their unbearable punishment if they did not obey to the letter of their masters.

Joshua Rutledge was a Quaker and Quakers are pacifists, or are supposed to be and Joshua strongly believed that that was the way to live during these times of war. He would not fight even though many in the government tried to talk him into helping the Americans, knowing what a leader he was. General George Washington and some of his military leaders figured they could get Joshua to help by conveying information back and forth.
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Format: Paperback
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Sheldon Greene is a historical fiction/romance set during the American Revolution.This is a well written story with intriguing characters and a suspenseful plot.The takes you on an intense,wild ride with the characters.The characters are easy to follow,will capture your heart,and are intriguing. It is filled with
facts,fiction,love,betrayal,the hardship of the military,their families,and the communities.I would encourage all historical readers to embarq upon a journey of fast paced,page turning,story of adventure.And a tale of war and conscience,love and betrayal,It is a heart wrenching tale from beginning to end. This book was received for the purpose of review from Bostick Communications and the author and details can be found at
BookSurge Publishing and My Book Addiction and More.
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Format: Paperback
Sheldon Greene is now on my list of favorite historical fiction authors! "Pursuit of Happiness" is a great novel that is filled with fact and fiction, love, betrayal and details that will keep you turning page after page all the way to the end!

In the midst of the American Revolution, Philadelphia Quaker Joshua is sent to a British Caribbean island as a spy as he is against fighting. Here Joshua falls in love with Amelia, who is the wife of a slave holder. Not only is Amelia already married, but Joshua also has a girlfriend, Peggy, back home; however, Peggy becomes involved with someone else as well, Benedict Arnold. Joshua's relationship with his father is also a piece of the story and this adds additional emotions to the story.

The characters are well-developed and become alive in the story allowing for the reader to experience this time period and gain more knowledge of this important piece of American history.

You will not be disappointed with this work!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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