Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride

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Description

Paul Revere's midnight ride is a legendary event in American history - yet it has been largely ignored by scholars, and left to patriotic writers and debunkers. Now one of the foremost American historians offers the first serious study of this event - what led to it, what really happened, what followed - uncovering a truth more remarkable than the many myths it has inspired. In Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer has created an exciting narrative that offers new insight into the coming of the American Revolution. From research in British and American archives, the author unravels a plot that no novelist would dare invent - a true story of high drama and deep suspense, of old-fashioned heroes and unvarnished villains, of a beautiful American spy who betrayed her aristocratic British husband, of violent mobs and marching armies, of brave men dying on their doorsteps, of high courage, desperate fear, and the destiny of nations. The narrative is constructed around two thematic lines. One story centers on the American patriot Paul Revere; the other, on British General Thomas Gage. Both were men of high principle who played larger roles than recent historiography has recognized. Thomas Gage was not the Tory tyrant of patriot legend, but an English Whig who believed in liberty and the rule of law. In 1774 and 1775, General Gage's advice shaped the fatal choices of British leaders, and his actions guided the course of American events. Paul Revere was more than a "simple artizan, " as his most recent biographer described him fifty years ago. The author presents new evidence that revolutionary Boston was a world of many circles - more complex than we have known. Paul Revere and his friendJoseph Warren ranged more widely through those circles than any other leaders. They became the linchpins of the Whig movement. On April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere played that role in a manner that has never been told before. He and William Dawes were not the only midnight riders to cashow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 463 pages
  • 162.8 x 242.8 x 32.3mm | 798.34g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones, maps, bibliography
  • 0195088476
  • 9780195088472

About David Hackett Fischer

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.show more

Review quote

"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, September 1995"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 Yorkershow more

Review Text

Those who dare to try something new often fail. Not Fischer (History/Brandeis). This biography of Paul Revere is a welcome detour from the path of his five-volume cultural history that began with Albion's Seed (not reviewed), and it successfully overcomes the risk of perceived triteness. After all, all schoolchildren think they know the story of Paul Revere's midnight ride in 1775. How could any scholar take such child's play seriously for more than 400 pages? Fischer takes it seriously because he wants future generations to separate the fact from the fiction that has come to surround the ride. "The story has been told so many different ways," Fischer says, "that when Americans repeat it to their children, they are not certain which parts of the tale are true, or if any part of it actually happened." It did happen. It happened because Revere was at the center of events during the American Revolution. Fischer's research places Revere as a member of five of the seven Boston-area groups instrumental in planning a revolution. Not even the better-known Samuel Adams, John Adams, and John Hancock could claim membership in as many groups. To spur his story along, Fischer focuses on British General Thomas Gage as a narrative foil to Revere. The result: history made personal and understandable. The writing is lively, the research (as documented in appendixes, bibliography, and endnotes) thorough. Best of all, the thinking is fresh and clear. Fischer has avoided the traps he warned against nearly 25 years ago in his volume Historians' Fallacies (1970). (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

3,006 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,281)
4 33% (1,007)
3 19% (559)
2 4% (107)
1 2% (52)
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