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David Hackett Fischer is Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. His books include the highly acclaimed Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (1989) and Growing Old in America (1978).
It is rare when a scholarly history will appeal to a general readership, but such is the case with this book. Part biography of Revere and part history of the battles of Lexington and Concord, it places the ``midnight ride'' in the broad context of American resistance to Great Britain as just one of many similar actions taken by Revere and others. Particularly good is Fischer's (history, Brandeis Univ.) description of the civilian reaction to the British march to Concord and his exploration of the ``spontaneous'' rising of the New England militia to fight the British. Fischer's ulterior motive is to return contingency to its central importance in the historical process--to restore the ``causal power of particular actions and contingent events.'' In the process he has written a meticulously researched and wonderfully evocative narrative that will be enjoyed by history lovers and scholars alike.-- David B. Mattern, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville
A work of rare historical distinction ... It is crammed with anecdote, represents a meticulous standard of research ... and offers a peerless portrait of its subject. * Boston Sunday Globe *
YA-A whole book about a minor incident? You bet, and a terrific book, at that. Fischer's exhaustive research shows that Revere played an important role in pre-Revolutionary Boston that included, but was by no means limited to, his midnight ride. The author shows how Longfellow's poem deliberately distorted the facts in order to suit the political climate of the times; the real story surrounding Revere's role and the battles of Concord and Lexington is infinitely more interesting because it involves planning, courage, danger, suspense, and national destiny. This is exciting history, and Fischer adeptly paints it in stirring tones while giving background information on Revere and General Thomas Gage. For the rest of their lives, people remembered where they were when Revere made his famous midnight ride, as readers will remember this fascinating account.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA