Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Many Rides of Paul Revere

The Many Rides of Paul Revere by James Cross Giblin is a fascinating new look at a man we thought we knew through the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem. How wrong we were! Paul Revere was a Renaissance man of his time, much like Benjamin Franklin or much later, Thomas Edison.

The son of a French Huguenot immigrant, Revere overcame early poverty and minimal education to become a master silver and goldsmith, a rider for the Revolution, a skilled copper engraver, a dentist, a soldier, a bell-caster, and the father of sixteen children. He learned the art of making gunpowder and built Massachusetts’ first gunpowder mill to supply the Patriots. He was a messenger for the Revolutionary forces, making many trips in addition to his famed “midnight ride.” He built the new nation’s first copper-rolling mill. He worked with Robert Fulton, designing boilers for the new steamboats.

The award-winning Giblin has lived up to his reputation, creating an engaging and well-documented look at this famous American. The Many Rides of Paul Revere is a chronological look at Revere’s life and the text is generously accompanied by sepia-toned replicas of period paintings, engravings, and photos of primary sources, including colonial paper money engraved by Revere. Complementing the captivating biography are supplemental materials including a look at Wordsworth and the famous poem, a timeline, a list of present-day historical sites to visit, source notes and an index. Hopefully teachers will not dismiss this book for biography assignments due to its length of less than 100 pages. Suitable for 4th grade to adult.

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