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Book review: Paul Revere's Ride


Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer (1994)                       

'Paul Revere's Ride' is a superbly written historical account of the American legend Paul Revere. His life and character are explained in depth and his story is fluently blended with the general context of the revolution. Surprisingly, the actual "midnight ride" was only a small fraction of this man's contribution to the revolution. Fischer describes how Revere was an influential community leader in Boston well before his legendary ride. I was also surprised to learn that Revere was at the heart of the rebellion in New England, and was instrumental in organizing the resistance. He was notorious among the British, who viewed him as a dangerous rabble-rouser. He was also a skilled artisan as well as a devout Christian. Revere was a product of Puritan New England and it seems that he and his peers-which included Sam Adams and John Hancock-had more of a sense of divine mission than their counterparts in the south. Taken from page 175:

"For these men, the revolutionary movement was itself a new Puritanism-not precisely the same as the old, but similar in it's long memories and large purposes. Like the old Puritans who had preceded them, these new Puritans were driven by an exalted sense of mission and high moral purpose in the world. They also believed that they were doing God's work in the world, and that no earthly force could overcome them."

Some critics have questioned whether some of the information in this book is mere speculation. While I cannot say if this is true not, I can say with the utmost certainty that Paul Revere contributed much more to the American Revolution than has previously been attributed to him, and that this book is the definitive work that proves it. Highly recommended.


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