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review 2017-05-06 19:03
Review of Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by James McPherson
Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution - James M. McPherson,Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincol

I enjoyed this short book of academic essay by the most famous Civil War historian James McPherson.  The essays look at specific aspects of Lincoln as President including his use of metaphors, his single-minded focus on complete victory in the War, and his views on liberty.  Great read for people with a deep Civil War or Lincoln background, but probably too heavy for anyone interested in a popular history.

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review 2017-03-14 21:56
Scars of the Independence
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth - Holger Hoock

I received this book via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.


The quaint, romanticized version of the American Revolution that many have grown up with through popular history and school curriculum is not the real life story that those living during those years experienced.  In Scars of Independence, Holger Hoock looks past the good versus bad and underdog narratives so prevalent today to reveal the multifaceted struggle and very violent history of the American Revolutionary War from all its participants.


Hoock frames the American Revolution as not just a colonial rebellion, but first and foremost a civil war in which the dividing line of loyalties split family.  The Patriot-Loyalist violence, either physical or political, began long before and lasted long after the military conflict.  Once the fighting actually began, both the Americans and the British debated amongst themselves on the appropriate use of the acceptable violence connected to 18th century warfare and on the treatment of prisoners.  While both sides thought about their conduct to those in Europe, the Native Americans were another matter and the violence they were encouraged to inflict or was inflicted upon them was some of the most brutal of the war.  But through all of these treads, Hoock emphasizes one point over and over, that the American Patriots continually won the “propaganda” war not only in the press on their side of the Atlantic but also in Europe and even Great Britain.


One of the first things a reader quickly realizes is that Hoock’s descriptions of some of the events of the American Revolution remind us of “modern-day” insurgencies and playbooks of modern terrorists, completely shattering the popular view of the nation’s birth.  Hoock’s writing is gripping for those interested in popular history and his research is thought-provoking for scholars.  Another point in Hoock’s favor is his birth outside the Anglo-American historical sphere in Germany, yet his background in British history and on-off research fellowships in the United States has given him a unique perspective to bring this piece of Anglo-American history out to be consumed, debated, and thought upon.


Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth is a fascinating, intriguing, thought-provoking book on the under-reported events of the American Revolutionary War in contrast to the view of the war from popular history.  Holger Hoock gives his readers an easy, yet detailed filled book that will help change their perspective on the founding of the United States by stripping the varnish away to reveal the whole picture.

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review 2016-11-07 20:48
Nonfiction Fun!
American Revolution - Stuart Murray

I love the idea of using this book to introduce a lesson on American Revolution, as well as, integrating nonfiction text. I would use this book in upper elementary, preferably 5th or 6th grade. It would be a great review on nonfiction and introduction to American Revolution. I would have an anchor chart with the elements of nonfiction text. I would then have an anchor chart with the facts about the American Revolution.   

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review 2016-10-01 02:10
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power - Jon Meacham

The complex life and the politics of the third President of the United States in a dramatic period in history are brought to the fore in Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.  After nearly twenty years in which Jefferson’s reputation has taken a hit through both scientific revelations and new biographies of his fellow Founders, the pragmatic philosopher who still yearned to daydream comes into better light 200 years after his time in office.


Meacham approached his book as a pure biography of Jefferson not a history of the times, which meant that only events that directly affected Jefferson or his immediately family were focused upon.  Thus while Jefferson’s own story began in 1743, Meacham sets the stage with a family history that was also a history of colonial Virginia both politically and culturally.  Throughout the next 500 pages, Meacham follows Jefferson in and out of Virginia with stops in Philadelphia, Paris, New York, and finally Washington D.C., but through everything a special focus was on how he developed his political acumen to achieve the vision he had for the United States in the world.


Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings is discussed throughout the book when important moments in both their lives cross.  While Hemings is not the focus of the book, the ‘relationship’ is interwoven by Meacham into Jefferson’s complicated thoughts on slavery that is more thoroughly detailed towards the end of the book and is some of the best analysis in the book.  Yet, the focus on Jefferson’s political skill in comparison to his contemporaries and his time resulted in a fairly quick book to read (505 pages) that had extensive notes that could have added more to the body of the book and given the book more depth is the basic drawback of the book.


Over the last decade, a new round of biographies of the Founding Fathers has brought praise and more attention to the actual human beings we think of when we hear their names.  Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power is a fascinating read of a man whose words and actions are both celebrated and controversial.

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review 2016-09-21 00:00
Taverns of the American Revolution
Taverns of the American Revolution - Adrian Covert There wasn't the Net. There wasn't Twitter. Facebook didn't exist, Whatsup just an expression used by people for asking what was going on and people, mainly men, in 1634 or something if seriously wanted to meet someone else, had to go out, they had to go in a tavern during the cold winter-nights of the East Coasts of the USA. Face to face with other friends, a pint of beer close to them.

Taverns have been for a long long time the protagonists of political changes in the USA and first of all of the American Revolution.

Taverns of the American Revolution written by Adrian Covert and published by Insight Editions last June 26, will explore the taverns that largely contributed at the American Revolution. This book is a precious jewel in terms of history, passion and devotion.

Can a public place become the center of something more important than just an innocent chat?

Of course it can, and taverns the best places for speaking of policy and current events.
After all taverns were populated by merchants, business men, politicians and moods were all on the table exactly like alcohol was.

The author visited a large quantity of taverns. You will find all the 171 still existing taverns all listed in the book.

They became with the time: seventy-two restaurants or bars, forty-nine museums, thirty-six inns, twelve community buildings, and a smattering of offices and cafés.
Other 140 colonial taverns became private residences and they are not listed in the book.

But if you want to explore the USA through these 13 States for searching for these special place, this one is your book!

Covert at first started the research following the indications of a book written by Elise Lathrop, "Early American Inns and Taverns" published in 1926.

Adrian Covert worked hardly for giving a name and a location at these special places that made with the main political protagonists the history of the USA.

Most of these ex taverns are not listed on the net, and they don't have any kind of website. They have maintained where possible their own originality, serving just typical dishes and producing their own beer.

According to the author these taverns not only made the history of the USA but "These are 250 years old conversations about politics, culture, food, and life."
What it is more impressive is that when you will stop by in these places you will enter in the History, because it was in these taverns that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson created the America as Americans know that.

After a historical reconstruction of the first taverns, the problems taverns sometimes could give. Of course they weren't all the times great places, morality sent to hell, a lot of people drunk, politicians worried for youngster, lost in these places for too much time.

In particular Adams advanced these perplexities, but although taverns couldn't be the best place of this world they have been the engine of the change.

Puritans the ones who had in their hands the control of alcohol and so starting from the end of 1600 prohibited in some places of the East Coast alcohol or it had to be drunk with moderation.

These restrictions for using largest quantities of alcohol in ships and vessels.

Other fines invested also sexual behaviors of men and women and other sphere of their life as well.

It was a custom to believe that a moderate consumption of alcohol accepted, tolerated because it was good for health according to the Puritans.

The same George Washington invented his own beer.

Franklin passed at the story also for this saying: "In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria."

The 71% of tavern keepers, you think were men considering the environment, isn't it true?


Women, in particular if their beloved husband had left this world for good.
They could obtain in case they were widows a license for keeping a tavern.

It happened in Massachusetts, where the 71% of women kept a tavern. The 25% only in Boston.

At the same time close to the taverns brothels started to born vivaciously and later closed to Boston.

How much cost to a client spending some time in a tavern? Let's see. The author discovered that The Wayside Inn kept records of that old times.

Lodging 4 pence, a normal dinner 12 pence, an abundant dinner 20 pence. We are in 1748.
22 shillings per gallon on July 19 1769.

The book includes also a dictionary of words used by the clients of the taverns, recipes, many many other historical facts and every tavern visited by the author described enchantingly with so many historical facts, anecdotes, specificity. This one a superlative, historical trip in places that contributed to change the USA. The author built bridges with the present and what these places became with the time.

It is a wonderful gift for birthday, for Christmas if you know someone in love for History.
There are beautiful pictures, old illustrations, newsmagazines pages of the time.

I thank Netgalley and Insight Editions for this book.

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