LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Against the wishes of father, family and nation, 19-year-old Gilbert de Lafayette bought a ship, escaped France and became the youngest general in the Continental Army, a teenager leaving a young wife and a huge personal fortune to pursue military glory. Freedman knows how to distill a lively and focused story from a swamp of information on a much-studied subject, writing with an acute eye for fascinating detail and significant facts. The volume opens with a mysterious stranger, a fearsome beast, musketeers and a humiliating episode with Marie Antoinette, and later the spotlight remains expertly trained on Lafayette as he fights at the Battle of Brandywine Creek, winters at Valley Forge, meets with the Iroquois Confederacy and corners Cornwallis at Yorktown. Lafayette’s subsequent involvement in the French Revolution and his call for freeing American slaves demonstrate how he outgrew the “teenager in pursuit of military glory” to become a passionate spokesman for human rights. An interesting and useful commentary on selected sources rounds out another superb volume by a master of his craft. (Biography. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2182-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, REVOLUTIONARY

Over 200 years after his death in a duel with former Vice President Aaron Burr, founding father Alexander Hamilton’s story is a major player in popular culture.

Brockenbrough begins her narrative with a list of the contradictions of Hamilton’s life and then sets out to describe many of them in detail. Hamilton’s wretched childhood and struggles for survival and an education set a tone that depicts him as the consummate self-made man whose flaws damaged both his political career and personal life. Hamilton’s courtship and marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, a daughter of one of the country’s most influential families, is a key part, along with prominent figures from American history. Sometimes the intricacies of Revolutionary War strategy and Constitutional Convention maneuvering slow things down, making the pace uneven. However, tidbits about Hamilton’s role in the episode with Benedict Arnold and his close relationships with fellow soldier John Laurens and his sister-in-law Angelica Church are intriguing. The story is targeted to an older audience than Teri Kanefield’s Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America (2017), so the sex scandal that derailed Hamilton’s political career is part of the story, as is, of course, the duel that ended his life. After the epilogue, the volume includes information on 18th-century medicine, attire, and warfare among other contextualizing topics ; the volume will be illustrated with archival material (not seen).

With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-12319-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A remarkable biography.

THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH

The story of a flawed, complicated man.

The son of a distant Minnesota congressman and a demanding, well-educated mother, young Charles Lindbergh grew up shuttling among the family farm, his grandfather’s Detroit home, and Washington, D.C. Intelligent but uninterested in school, he began flying at age 19, getting involved in barnstorming and becoming an Air Service Reserve Corps officer. He used a combination of mechanical aptitude and moxie to successfully cross the Atlantic in a 1927 solo nonstop flight and was instantly propelled into worldwide celebrity. Success came at tremendous cost, however, when his infant son was kidnapped and murdered. Lindbergh was also his own enemy: His infatuation with eugenics led him into overt racism, open admiration for Hitler, and public denunciation of Jews. Fallen from grace, he nonetheless flew 50 clandestine combat missions in the South Pacific. He became an advocate for animal conservation but also had three secret families in addition to his acknowledged one. Fleming (Eleanor Roosevelt's in My Garage!, 2018, etc.) expertly sources and clearly details a comprehensive picture of a well-known, controversial man. Her frequent use of diaries allows much of the story to come through in Charles’ and his wife Anne’s own words. The man who emerges is hateable, pitiable, and admirable all at the same time, and this volume measures up to the best Lindbergh biographies for any audience.

A remarkable biography. (bibliography, source notes, picture credits, index) (Biography. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64654-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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