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Rise to Rebellion
A Novel of the American Revolution
By Jeff Shaara

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Rise to Rebellion

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Rise to Rebellion
Large Print Edition
A Novel of the American Revolution
By Jeff Shaara
Random House Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-375-43108-X
Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 11, 2002

Jeff Shaara has a unique knack for translating historical fact into readable fiction. In Rise to Rebellion, Shaara has composed a well-researched and riveting account of the American Revolution. Based on real events, and peopled with those who actually lived the events chronicled, Shaara has written a novel that is remarkably accurate, and has an authentic air about itself, in part because he has allowed his characters to speak in their own words whenever possible.

Rise to Rebellion is the first part in a two-part series, and it covers the period from March 1770 to the Summer of 1776. It chronicles the events, and the people who lived through them, as colonist in America moved toward and decisive break with England - which would lead to an event that has come to be referred to as the American Revolution. This novel is told from the viewpoint of some of the main players in the revolutionary movement, Benjamin Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, Lieutenant General Thomas Gage, and George Washington. From this vantage point, Shaara offers insights into the lives and feelings on both sides of the conflict, ranging from King George III, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Lord Hillsborough, Sir Charles Townsend, and Thomas Paine, to smaller players, such as the common soldiers, women, and shopkeepers. By including such a wide range of personalities, both high and low, Shaara has personalized the events described.

It is one thing to read that on March 5, 1770, British Soldiers opened fired on a mob, killing five men. This event has come down to us as the Boston Massacre. In a traditional history book, this would be presented as a cold fact. As he does with all the events described in this Rise to Rebellion, Shaara describes the Boston Massacre in a much more memorable, and meaningful way. He does this by telling the story from the viewpoint of those that lived through the events, both those in the mob and from the viewpoint of the soldiers. Shaara also describes how this, and other events, conspired to help lead the colonies to open rebellion.

Rise to Rebellion is a non-textbook approach to history. Shaara opens this book with brief biographical sketches of the main participants in this story, and he concludes with a 'what happened next' section, detailing what happened to the main participants, after the book ended. It chronicles the path toward war; moving from the Boston Massacre to the convocation of the Continental Congress to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This book also includes maps depicting various battles and skirmishes. This is an excellent book for history buffs, and it will serve to encourage more people to read history - the non-fiction type.


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