'I LOVE PAUL REVERE, WHETHER HE RODE OR NOT' by Richard Shenkman

'I LOVE PAUL REVERE, WHETHER HE RODE OR NOT'

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sequel to Shenkman's best-selling Legends, Lies And Cherished Myths Of American History (1989), further debunking popularly held views of Americans and their habits. Shenkman deserves credit for covering a lot of ground in relatively few pages. Starting with a timely assessment of patriotism in its historical context, he establishes fervent flag- waving as a phenomenon barely 100 years old, prompted in part by the flood of immigrants threatening to overwhelm the hegemony of ``old-stock'' Americans. Subsequent discussion ranges widely, if briefly, through matters of religion (the Pilgrims were not Puritans), work and play as modified by the Industrial Revolution, the influence of literature and the lives of the literati, American womanhood and the relative freedom a Victorian woman possessed, and the erroneous judgments passed on about figures from Boss Tweed (who had his merits) to Tokyo Rose (who never existed, even though a woman was convicted of treason in her name). Misconceptions about the national identity are dispatched with nimble wit and efficiency, but as a grab-bag of factoids and data culled from scholarly researches it all has no ultimate guiding principle, leading among other things to a pointless distortion of the Warren Harding quotation used as the title (``I love the story of Paul Revere....''). Bright and bubbly for popular consumption and sure to be as successful as its predecessor--and as distressingly flat the morning after. (Line illustrations.)

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016346-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991