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Jack Absolute: A Novel
Jack Absolute: A Novel
by C. C. Humphreys
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.28
64 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Novels on the Rev War, February 6, 2014
This review is from: Jack Absolute: A Novel (Paperback)
This is one of the best novels I've read on the Rev War. Humphreys is right on the mark when he describes hand to hand combat, and hair breadth escapes. I found no historical inaccuracies in this book, which shows that he did his research. Burgoyne's Campaign of 1777 makes a good setting for this exciting story. Excellent work. I highly recommend this novel.


Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
by Avi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.19
65 used & new from $2.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The teacher guide helps, November 26, 2013
One of the better YA novels about teens in the Rev War. As with The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi, female readers will especially enjoy reading a teenage girl’s first person account of how war impacts civilians in personal ways. Some male readers, though, will prefer a novel that has at least one boy in it, and a battle or two.
Avi does well in having the girl show the tension in British occupied New York in 1776, and the palpable risk of giving away her political identity when conversing with officers and others. Also, the danger of her mission when, in 1780, she ventures out of the city alone. Her desperate attempt to try to stop Benedict Arnold from defecting to the British army is vivid storytelling.
I found several historical mistakes, but they do not detract from the story. For example, Avi refers to General William Howe as Lord Howe (his older brother Richard, the admiral, was Lord Howe).
I read the 2012 hard cover edition of Sophia’s War, which did NOT include a teacher guide. But the 2013 paperback edition DOES have one at the back of the book. More authors should write teacher guides for their YA novels! Teachers/parents looking for others can go online. Search for “teacher guide for [title] by [author name]” to find websites providing helpful guides for the following YA novels:
The Fighting Ground, by Avi; Daniel at the Siege of Boston, by Laurie Calkhoven; My Brother Sam is Dead, by Christopher Collier; Patriots, and Gone to Meet the British, by Gregory Edgar; Give Me Liberty, by L.M. Elliott; April Morning, by Howard Fast; Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes; The Winter of Red Snow, by Kristiana Gregory; The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, by Dorothea Jensen; Woods Runner, by Gary Paulsen; The Fifth of March, by Ann Rinaldi; and George Washington’s Socks, by Elvira Woodruff


Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid storytelling, May 10, 2013
I have read many books on the events and people involved in the first year of the Revolutionary War in Massachusetts. This one was perhaps the best of them all.
Though readers have to get through one hundred pages of buildup before they even reach the Lexington-Concord event, and another hundred before the Bunker Hill battle, it is worth the wait both times. Philbrick's account of the action during that first day of the war, in particular, is the best I've read.
He delivers a stirring account of the running house-to-house retreat of the British regulars from Concord, particularly through Menotomy (modern Arlington), where the fighting was fiercest. His thorough research allows him to make the action vivid for the reader. Such as his description of how the slight westerly breeze that day made the patriots' gunsmoke drift into the faces of the British column's rear guard, forcing them to fire blindly into the smoke, hoping their musket balls would hit some of their tormentors. And, as the retreat neared its end in the early evening's darkening sky, American Captain Timothy Pickering's spectacles reflecting the distant flashes of gunfire - the final action that he chose not to lead his fresh militia into. The reader is left to wonder what would have happened if Pickering's three companies had marched into the fray and cut off the British escape that evening. Would the total victory and capture of the sizable British force been enough to persuade the British Parliament to redress our grievances without the necessity of a long, bitter war?
I highly recommend this new addition to the literature of our War of Independence. - Gregory Edgar, author of Reluctant Break with Britain: From Stamp Act to Bunker Hill, and Patriots: A Story of Bunker Hill for Young Adults


The Riddle of Penncroft Farm
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm
by Dorothea Jensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.26
157 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate depiction of 1777 action near Philadelphia, December 23, 2012
As an author of 6 books on the Rev War, including 2 for young adults, I was very pleased to find that this book by Dorothea Jensen did not have any historical inaccuracies. So many best selling YA authors' novels are full of inaccuracies. Her descriptions of scenes/action/feelings in 1777, as related in conversation between the ghost Geordie and the main character Lars, were detailed, vivid and entertaining. I highly recommend this book for middle school students. The glossary at the back was helpful, and again, accurate. I would have preferred to have all sentences spoke by the ghost in italics, instead of only those that appeared in the final two thirds of the novel, to be consistent. - Gregory Edgar


With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution
With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution
by James L. Nelson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.24
83 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent piece of writing, March 26, 2011
I congratulate Mr. Nelson on another excellent job bringing the revolutionary war to life for his readers. I am used to reading about naval engagements and privateers, but this one, focusing on what led up to the first major land battle of the war, is another worthy effort.
Starting the book with the battle of Long Island and the British general's decision after it to NOT assault our earthworks at Brooklyn Heights because of his memories of his costly assault on our Breed's Hill position was a nice way of introducing the reader to the importance of the battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill. It wasn't the biggest battle, but it was very influential on the British generals' mindset for the rest of the war.
Mr. Nelson adds to his narrative nicely with quotes from the soldiers, such as the one in chapter 16 about the British dead on the beach laying "as thick as sheep in a fold" - these quotes bring the event to life. In fact, it is nice to see that, unlike some other authors, Mr. Nelson included the beach attack in his presentation.
I recommend this book. - Gregory Edgar, author of Reluctant Break with Britain From Stamp Act to Bunker Hill, and Patriots A Story of Bunker Hill


Boys of Wartime: Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1776
Boys of Wartime: Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1776
by Laurie Calkhoven
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.31
99 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new one for my recommended list, February 11, 2011
Ms. Calkhoven's book about the 12/13 year-old Daniel shows what it must have been like for a boy in British occupied Boston in 1775-1776.
As an author of middle school novels about youths in the Revolutionary War, I am always interested to check out my competition. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Daniel at the Siege of Boston was not only a good read, but also very accurate. Gary Paulsen and other novelists who write about different time periods make mistakes because they don't specialize in a single time period; Ms. Calkhoven apparently has done her research.
I especially was pleased that one of her early chapters explained that the Patriots, in 1775, were not interested in independence; this is an important point that many authors overlook or perhaps are not aware of.
The chapters on the battle of Bunker Hill were accurate, except for mention of a British ship in the Mystic River. The ship actually did not get that close, because the admiral was remiss in not taking depth soundings beforehand, and therefore refused the general's request to move a ship into such a position to send flanking fire against the Patriots who were on that side of the hill. Otherwise, we would not have been able to stand our ground so long at the rail fence, below the fort.
The book also has some good appendix material at the end. Some illustrations would have helped, though.
I am going to add this book to my list of Recommended Revolutionary War Novels for Grades 5-8, a handout that I give to teachers when I do my school presentation. I also recommend The Fifth of March, by Ann Rinaldi. For teachers/parents looking for a middle school novel about war that is not too graphic/violent, this is a good one. For readers capable of handling stories that focus in more detail on the reality of being a soldier in the Revolutionary War, I recommend they look up my books on Amazon, Patriots and Gone to Meet the British. - Gregory Edgar
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2013 3:05 PM PST


Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory
Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory
by Newt Gingrich
Edition: Hardcover
195 used & new from $0.01

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but worth reading anyway, December 3, 2010
I enjoyed reading the prequel, To Try Men's Souls, very much, so I've been looking forward to reading this new novel. As I expected, it follows two brothers - one in each opposing army - who were also in the first book.
Almost from the start, though, I was disappointed by historical inaccuracies, such as a couple about Arnold and Burgoyne on page 23. Apparently, the authors did not ask an expert on the Revolution to read their manuscript.
But I kept reading anyway, and am glad I did. It's a story worth telling.
The book could have been shorter if the authors stuck to the "show it, don't tell it" rule of writing historical fiction. They tend to get a bit wordy in their descriptive passages, and drive home points they made in earlier passages, in an effort to educate their readers. It reminds me of how President Carter fell into the same habit in his novel, Hornet's Nest.
Gingrich and Forstchen do very well, though, when they use dialogue to allow their characters to SHOW, rather than tell, how the war impacted soldiers and civilians during that winter of 1777-1778.
- Gregory Edgar, author of Gone to Meet the British
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 6:32 PM PST


The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence (Library of America)
The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence (Library of America)
by John H. Rhodehamel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.50
152 used & new from $4.06

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point to get hooked on the Rev War, November 2, 2010
There are so many personal accounts, it is difficult to choose the ones to put in, and the ones to leave out. The editor did an excellent job and limited the accounts to only about 800 pages. This book will get a lot of casual readers hooked on the subject. They will do well to look at other compilations, such as Commager and Morris's The Spirit of Seventy Six, as well as Scheer and Rankin's Rebels and Redcoats, two books that offer brief editorial introductions before many of the personal accounts - something that is missing in this book.
Overall, though, a definite good choice for a starting point on the Revolutionary War. I would have liked to have seen at least one account of the Battle of Bennington, a lesser known but critically important event in 1777 that led to the surrender of a British army at Saratoga.
I recommend this book, but just as a starting point.
- Gregory Edgar, author of Gone to Meet the British


The War Man: The True Story of a Citizen-Soldier Who Fought from Quebec to Yorktown
The War Man: The True Story of a Citizen-Soldier Who Fought from Quebec to Yorktown
by Robert A. Mayers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.10
24 used & new from $7.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of a Continental Soldier, September 22, 2010
I expected The War Man to be similar to Wade and Lively's book published in the 1970s about two soldiers from Ipswich, Mass. However, I found The War Man to be a much better read. The author's style of writing is informative without being too dry. The illustrations were a bonus, and the maps excellent.
I especially like his description of the New York soldiers' heroic defense in 1777 when the British attacked Forts Clinton and Montgomery, above the Hudson River, one of the lesser known, though important, events of our war for independence. When one considers how we fled in the face of British bayonet attacks in other battles, it is just amazing how these outnumbered patriots stood their ground that day.
Another pleasant surprise for me was seeing how the author emphasized the daily life and the hardships of not only campaigning but also camp life, and life on the march for our Continental soldiers. Excellent work. I highly recommend this book. - Gregory Edgar, author of Gone to Meet the British


Patriots: A story of Bunker Hill
Patriots: A story of Bunker Hill
by Gregory T Edgar
Edition: Unknown Binding

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars older edition, April 14, 2010
This review is from: Patriots: A story of Bunker Hill
This is an older, locally printed edition. The new edition, published by Bluewater Press, LLC in August 2009, is available on amazon. It has a cover showing a boy kneeling and holding a musket, behind a stone wall. An optional free teacher guide is also available by writing to the author in Somers, CT.


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