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Book Review: The Eve of Revolution


Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Other Books in This Series

• Servant to Abigail Adams
• Our Journey West
• Yankee Blue Or Rebel Gray?
• Escape to Freedom
• Cowboys on the Western Trail
• We Came Through Ellis Island

This book is a wonderful historical fiction covering the years just before the Revolutionary War in America.

The author's device is the book's subtitle, "The Colonial Adventures of Benjamin Wilcox." Young Benjamin, 12, has many adventures in enough different cities in America's 13 Colonies to give him (and the reader) a well-rounded view of what life was like back then and how people who lived in America viewed the British presence in America.

Particularly illuminating are Benjamin's diary entries, which make up the bulk of "extras" that accompany the narrative. More than once, the reader is reminded, through Benjamin's writings, that not all Americans wanted independence or even disliked the British. The book also does a good job of shining new light on the ideal that national pride drove many colonists to revolt: In effect, the author argues that economics and culture had as much to do with the revolution as the Sons of Liberty and the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin goes to Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston (so the author gives the reader a picture of life in the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies). He lives with his uncle on a farm and his father aboard a ship. He writes heart-felt letters to his older sister. Even their father gets in the act, writing to his children and to his brother, on more than one occasion.

Through these enlightening letters we see the events that built a revolution, culminating with the deadly and dead-on disputed events that Americans call the Boston Massacre.

This book is part of National Geographic's new I Am American series. Other books trace other parts of American history. For a good, in-depth look at life in the 13 Colonies just before war breaks out, this is a good place to start.

 

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