- Paperback: 445 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 19, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195098315
- ISBN-13: 978-0195098310
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.2 x 6.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 337 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paul Revere's Ride Paperback – April 19, 1995
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"Fischer knows how to grip the reader as few historians do....Fischer succeeds brilliantly in re-creating the milieu of the 1770s."--The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
"This well-written, carefully researched, and interesting book dispels much of the myth and legend that has grown up around Paul Revere's famous ride and has replaced it with an exciting account of the events on those early spring days of April, 1775....A good read as well as an excellent reference."--KLIATT
"In one of the best recent books on the Revolution, Fischer takes what might be the most famous episode from the war and carefully sifts accumulating legend from a substantial body of fact heretofore little recognized about the famous 'midnight right.'"--The Virginian-Pilot and the Ledger-Star
"Fischer has provided a nice update of one of the semi-mythological events associated with the American revolutionary experience. What is most impressive about the book is the scholarly apparatus indluded. Revere is now a human figure acting out an historical role without mythology to get in the way. For contextural biography, this is a first-rate volume."--Gerald Michael Schnabel, Bemidji State University
"The action in this exciting history illuminates New England's culture--especially the ways that it differed from old England's--on the eve of the American Revolution....Fischer's details are meticulous, and provide an irresistible sense of immediacy as a slumbering countryside is wakened to war."--The New Yorker
"A work of rare historical distinction, an unputdownable narrative scraping away the tarnish of time and myth to reveal the essential metal of Paul Revere, silversmith. It is crammed with anecdote, represents a meticulous standard of research...and offers a peerless portrait of its subject."--The Boston Sunday Globe
"It is rare when a scholarly history will appeal to a general readership, but such is the case with this book....A meticulously researched and wonderfully evocative narrative that will be enjoyed by history lovers and scholars alike."--Library Journal
"A detailed account of the legendary 'midnight ride' as narrated by a professional historian with a scholar's command of the facts and a gift for storytelling."--Los Angeles Times
"Restores Paul Revere to his place in the pantheon of American heroes by clearing away the junk of myth and mockery that has grown up around him....The book tells the story of Revere's ride in great detail and the ensuing battles with all the drama they possess."--Milwaukee Journal
"A rare volume of history that has something for every reader. Readers with a general interest in American history will find it engaging and richly illuminating. Specialists will find it packed with a wealth of fine detail. And scholars will appreciate the close attention to the sources, evidenced by more than 100 pages of notes, appendices, bibliographical commentaries, and scholarly apparatus. The maps are excellent, illustrations numerous and skillfully interpreted, and the prose sprightly and polished....Educational and though-provoking without ever bogging down in pedanticism."--Richmond Times-Dispatch
"A thrilling read. Part biography, part history, this is a mesmerizing look at democracy's infancy....This is a superb examination of the whys and hows of our Revolution."--Trenton Times
"A valuable contribution to the debate over the social structure of New England as well as an exceptionally vivid picture of the outbreak of war. This is historical writing of a very high order."--Colin Bonwick, The Journal of American History
"This is the perfect book for my honors seminar--it is beautifully written, carefully researched, and carefully illustrated. The historiographical section in the appendix addresses the very issues that my students will focus on as they examine different historical and fictional accounts of major events in America's past."--Christine Compston, Western Washington University
"Students loved it! I enjoyed using it in classroom--will use it again."--Anthony Iacono, University of Central Florida
About the Author
David Hackett Fischer is Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. His books include the highly acclaimed Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America and Growing Old in America.
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The details are impressive and insightful. Besides having a great deal of new information about Revere himself, Fischer has gathered information about all the other characters that I knew only by name if at all. This is not about the big names like Sam Adams and John Hancock but about individual militia members – their lives and the background leading up to the battle. Fischer’s use of letters is superb. He brings these people to life in a way I have never seen. But, remarkably, he does the same for the British soldiers who are usually nothing but place holders in the historical myths and legends. They become real people with their own fears, loves, problems and frustrations. When Lexington-Concord occurs about 60% of the way through the text, the men killed and injured are real human beings on BOTH sides. Fischer gives us their personal histories and portrays both the British and the Americans so empathetically that the battle in some ways becomes for the reader a true tragedy. It remains a show of incredible bravery and a rallying point for American freedom but it also becomes a great example of young men’s lives being blown apart by the vagaries of war and, for the British soldiers, by misjudgment and miscommunication at the top. Fischer gives incredible images, again supported by documentation, of American householders fighting British Regulars on their doorstep and dying to protect their homes and families. He shows the ability, almost impossible to believe, of American militia leaders organizing large numbers of individuals from different villages who were never used to being organized on such a large scale and against deadly fire. Fischer clearly shows that much of what we know about Paul Revere’s Ride is embellished legend but he also shows beyond doubt that the Battle of Lexington-Concord was not just a bunch of individual marksmen behind stone walls shooting at marching British troops. The organization of the Americans, as well as the ferocity of individual skirmishes, was completely new to me. This is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand in depth the first battle of the Revolution in terms of strategy, organization, and the human cost involved.
Fischer’s actual description of Lexington-Concord is utterly gripping. Fischer writes in a fluid easy-to-read style that keeps the reader intensely interested in the flow of events. It is an excellent war novel in the last 100 pages of the book except that it really happened. I never expected this when I first saw the book. Revere’s ride was not just one but many and it was definitely not only Revere who rode. But as impressive as Revere’s dedication and courage were, it is all a preamble to the incredibly human story of Lexington-Concord that Fischer brings to life. I recommend this book in the strongest terms. It is living American history at its best.
While Fischer's unabashedly pro-American slant may trigger PTSD in certain west-coast hipsters, he presents an accurate, well-documented, informative, and extremely readable account of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Not only that, he gives an excellent sense of popular opinions of the Revolution, the daily thoughts and priorities of the average pre-American citizen, and how these two interacted... thoroughly shattering the modern pseudo-intellectual myth that the American Revolution was the pet project of a small group of wealthy colonial elites who resented the restraining influence of the British crown.
While it is very clear that the author approves of the Revolution, the work maintains a healthy sense of objectivity and does not stray in propaganda (however justified it might be if it had). The British regular forces and their officers are treated not as a faceless enemy, but as historical and personal figures who are to be understood not only in terms of their actions, but with thought and analysis given to the motivations and beliefs behind them (in fact, it is revealed that a fair number of these were decidedly pro-colonial and Whigish in their private sentiments).
While thick with historical data, and very well referenced and supported, this work nonetheless manages to be not only an easy, but a positively enjoyable, read for the layman.
I recommend it highly.
Read and have your mind opened.