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When Henry Houghton and his son, Jonathan, set off for the First Continental Congress in 1774 they began a journey that would take the Houghton family of Delaware through many of the American Revolution's most vivid moments. In the following seven years, they encounter the colorful figures of the time--George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Benedict Arnold among them-- and they observe or participate in most of the period's extraordinary events. But, like all Americans of the revolutionary years, they find that nothing is simple--not politics, not moral certainty, not love, not the brittle bonds of family. As their new country strives to make and then survive its own independence, each of the Houghtons toils for a more personal independence from the dangers of a primitive landscape and the oppressions of social convention and family expectation. This wisp of time changed everything-and it changed all of them as well. Henry Houghton is a fourth-generation American farmer, proud of the land he and his forbears have nurtured and proud of his English heritage. But when elected to represent his colony in the Continental Congress, he is quickly caught up in the political turmoil of the time. Henry wants nothing more than for his oldest son, Nathaniel, to follow in the tradition of Houghton men: successful farmers and local civic leaders. But that feels like a prison sentence to the artistic Nathaniel, and he escapes the bonds of farm life by traveling to London. There he apprentices with one of the leading portrait painters of the time and finds himself in the salons and offices of Britain's political leaders as they plot the submission of their rogue colonies. Henry's younger son, Jonathan, comes to the attention of Colonel Washington on a remarkable night in Philadelphia and later joins him as an aide during the long war that passes through Bunker Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Valley Forge, Saratoga, and Yorktown. With the men in the family engaged elsewhere, responsibility for the Delaware farm falls to Patience, Henry's wife, and their daughter Savannah. For Patience it's an unendurable burden and she sinks slowly into a dark depression that consumes her. Savannah, though, is invigorated by this release from the stifling constraints of her gender and the rare opportunity to live a life unconfined by her father, her older brother or Marinus Marshall, scion of the county's leading family, who seeks to marry her. The Houghton family experiences the political debates and bloody trials of the American revolution at ground level, never knowing what will come next. It is a time of uncertainty and fierce disagreement, of torment, tragedy and great exhilaration, a time when years of separation and frustration and persistence yield moments of radiant triumph. INDEPENDENCE is their story; but the passions, the suffering, and the pride they experience at the fragile dawn of a new America are our story as more

Product details

  • Paperback | 552 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 358.34g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1514189682
  • 9781514189689

About Cal MacKenzie

Cal Mackenzie is a writer, teacher and photographer. INDEPENDENCE is his 20th book, but his first of historical fiction. A childhood in Massachusetts provided rich early exposure to the stories and legends that weave through this book. A lifetime of reading and travel fired his enthusiasm for telling them here through the eyes and experiences of the Houghton family. Mackenzie is a graduate of Bowdoin College and has a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard. He is currently the Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of Government at Colby College where he has taught since 1978. He was the John Adams Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies at the University of London in 1999-2000. In 2005, he was a Fulbright Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China. One of the last generation of American conscripts, Mackenzie was drafted into the Army in 1969 and served with the First Cavalry Division in Viet Nam in 1970 and 1971, earning two Bronze Stars and three Army Commendation Medals. He returned to Viet Nam in 2012 as a Fulbright Professor in Ha Noi. An earlier book, The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s, written with historian Robert Weisbrot and published by Penguin in 2008, was one of two finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in more

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