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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(1 star). See all 33 reviews
on August 27, 1998
Somewhere in this huge, awkwardly written, and badly organized doorstop, there is a tremendous story just waiting to get out. If only the author had some sense of drama, pacing, or a writing style that was compelling instead of simply being an annoying novelty.
Tedious is a kind description for this very amateurish and pseudo-scholarly attempt at historical revisionism. The author is like one of those annoying phone-in radio talk show participants who are crammed so full of gossipy, half-substantiated trivia and disorganized facts that they have a hard time making any real sense.
Overhyped, overrated, overwrought, and overpriced.
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on September 5, 1999
This book lies by omission from start to finish. Selective quotation is used to calumny Washington and Adams, to exaggerate divisions among the Founding Fathers, and to sheer away the context of every quote given. For example: you would not know from the book that Washington's victories at Trenton and Princeton sent the British retreating to New York; or that James Madison co-authored the Federalist papers; that John Adams during his Presidency was trying to keep the US away from war with France; that the Jay Treaty finally secured the US its inland empire, and was a triumph of diplomacy given our weak position vis-a-vis Great Britain; or that the Republican France Bache et al. admired was a murderously revolutionary state with rhetoric (and some action) of universal export of its Revolution. I distrusted every ellipsis in these primary documents, and learned from this book how expertly you can distort history with selective quotation. The format was tedious too, but the book's main sin is to teach incorrect history. Not revisionist history - wrong history. The text-book version of the American Revolution may miss some nuance, and may hagiographize some, but it's far closer to the truth than this farrago. If you want to read a good history of the Revolution, try Benson Bobrick's _Angel in the Whirlwind._
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on November 21, 2016
The publisher admits this is revisionist history, but it gives it too much credit to even use the term "history." It is fiction. This would be a novel if the writing was up to par. This was written by an "independent scholar," which can be translated as "non-expert." It is easy for a casual reader to be mislead by this work. Don't bother buying it.
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on April 12, 1999
The story, told through newspaper articles and letters, is a wonderful picture of the early years of our country. If only the author could write or an editor had known how to edit, this could have been a great book.
In the first section. Rosenfield regurgitates Poor Richard every page and a half as if his life depended on it. Throughout the book, exclamation marks are abused for information that is no different than anything else being told.
A bigger problems, though, is the useless third person (Duane) view of the supposed author. Pretension and space wasting. The story didn't need that cloying affectation.
Finally, it's just too long. He could have cut many redundant letters, explanations and quotes. I read the same thing over and over. The book would have been much better at half to 2/3's its current length.
I usually check a book out of the library, read it, and then buy a copy if I want one in my personal library. This is one that won't get to the final step.
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