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 Midnight Rider

  Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer would be an achievement just for bringing all the information that it does into one book. However, it also turns out to be a really great read.

  When I was in school, the tide of popular culture had turned against Paul Revere. Everybody was busy debunking our American mythology, and Paul Revere’s midnight ride was a prime target. This book does something extraordinary; it not only debunks the old myths, it debunks the debunkers and tells a story more amazing than any you have heard before. Fischer delivers the color and passionate flavor of life in 1775 New England while deftly explaining the workings of both Boston society and the life of a British Soldier. While reading, you discover why Revere was important then and now.  You learn why his alarm work was so successful while others were not. You see both sides of the conflict and just how Lexington became a powder keg waiting for a spark. This book would make a great cable miniseries (are you listening HBO?). There are a few instances where the information becomes so dense that it can slow you down, but at other times you feel like you are reading an action adventure screenplay. Throughout, you will learn fascinating facts and read riveting stories in this excellent exploration of an event that shaped our country.

  My one complaint (hey, this is a critical review) is that Fischer seems to completely absolve British Major John Pitcairn of all blame. Pitcairn was thought of by the citizens of Boston as one of the more reasonable officers in the occupying forces, but his own journals and letters bear him out to be less so. Granted, this is just my opinion; I was not there on April 19, 1775. Pitcairn himself was killed at Breed’s Hill less than two months later. In a bit of irony he is buried at the Old North Church in Boston.

  Pick this one up. Paul Revere’s Ride is available in soft cover from Oxford University Press.




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