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While most Americans learned in school about the famous nightrider messenger of the American Revolution, Paul Revere, few really know about the day to day struggles of Paul Revere and others like him in Colonial Massachusetts. Nor do they know about what a creative, genius as a copperplate engraver and later on a commercial entrepreneur. Religion was a powerful vehicle shaping this colony but it was also a divided colony between conservative and liberal viewpoints, both arising from the Puritan faith and also arousing deep enmity and social condemnation depending on one's choice. Paul Revere showed his tendency toward fairness and justice very early on in his admiration for a certain minister, a choice that earned him fatherly displeasure for sure.
This books reads like a fascinating novel as one gets a glimpse into how individuals were shaped by disease that killed mercilessly and without favor and constantly fluctuating financial circumstances. One could be a pauper one day and amazingly rich the next, with the application of disciplined work and the vicissitudes of fortune. But few realize how early commerce in the colonies was conducted more on trade by goods rather than money.
One then feels as well as reads about the rational and emotional response to taxes, taxes and more taxes. Parliament was controlling all through the governors and military keeping very tight reins on these families, like that of Paul Revere, who could do nothing but evolve from being loyal British subjects to becoming outraged, suffering believers in freedom and revolution.
In reading more about how under-prepared the original fighters of the Revolution were, one begins to appreciate even more than before how much guts and united determination can and did accomplish. The drama and mystery of every step pervades every page, making this a well-told tale of real people in both real and unreal circumstances.
Joel J. Miller has done an EXCEPTIONAL job in taking us into the mind, feelings, words and deeds of this very famous, ordinary but so extraordinary man.
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on May 19, 2010