Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cannonball Read #34 (July 5K Book 2): Rise To Rebellion by Jeff Shaara

The field trip I picked for this book involved going to see Boston's old state house and the location where the Boston Massacre took place. I went on my way home from work one day, ignoring the summer's constantly dreary weather to visit the place my country was ostensibly born. Turns out that the marker is on a traffic island. Yes, the location where a momentous event in my nation's history took place is now in the middle of the street, and required me to hop through rush hour traffic to see it. Not sure if that's emblematic, appalling, or a little of both.

The first in a two part series on the Revolutionary War, Rise to Rebellion is relatively good, though I wouldn't put it as high on the list as Shaara's Civil War works. Rise to Rebellion is the story of the events leading up to the Declaration of Independance and the battles of the Revolutionary War. The main characters include Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and George Washington from the Colonial side and General Thomas Gage on the British side.

It was an interesting tale, as it chronicled events (i.e. Franklin's time in London and his relationship with his loyalist son) I knew very little if anything about. However, I think Shaara tried to cover too much ground in one book--the reason The Killer Angels (his father's novelization of Gettysburg) works so well is the amount of detail. Jeff Shaara can't manage that much detail while dealing with 5 years worth of history. The most disappointing thing was that the battles--including the battles of Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Concord--were not very well fleshed out. I felt as though they were a bit glossed over.

I'd definitely recommend this book, since it is a great way of learning some less talked-of U.S. history, but it's not nearly as engrossing as Shaara's Civil War efforts. However, I will be reading the sequal just because it's more good history.

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