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Author: Webb Garrison

Fifty-three fascinating tales introduce readers to the people, places, and events that shaped a nation and changed the world. Indexed and illustrated.

Author: Benjamin Franklin

Famous as a scientist, statesman, philosopher, businessman, and civic leader, Benjamin Franklin was also one of the most powerful and controversial American writers of his time, and has been a subject of intense debate ever since: to Matthew Arnold, he exemplified "victorious good sense"; to D.H. Lawrence, he was "the first dummy American." Franklin's classic Autobiography is his last word on his greatest literary creation—his own invented persona, the original incarnation of the American success story.

Franklin’s Autobiography is one of the most famous works in American literature. He started it as a private collection of anecdotes for his son, but soon it was transformed into a work of history, both personal and national, revealing Franklin as the man who, as Herman Melville said, possessed “deep worldly wisdom and polished Italian tact, gleaming under an air of Arcadian unaffectedness.

Author: Milton Meltzer

A humble shoemaker hears the bells ringing at Lexington and responds to a call to battle. An aide to George Washington recounts his feelings as he crosses the Delaware. A young surgeon describes in his diary the horror of an army camp, where the spread of smallpox, frostbite, and starvation are deadlier than any sword. These are the voices of the American Revolutionaries.

Most of us know about the American Revolution only from secondhand accounts of the fighting or from documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. But listen closely and you can hear the voices-those that tell the truest stories -- of men, women, and children of all races who experienced the Revolution firsthand, who planted the seeds of liberty and passionately struggled to give birth to the United States of America that we know today.

Once again Meltzer employs primary source material to make an era come alive. Here, he depicts the American Revolution from the point of view of its participants: its soldiers, its leaders, those who waited at home. Included are excerpts from letters, journals, reports, and official documents, all placed in context by Meltzer's concise and well written introductions which, in themselves, constitute a clear overview of American history from the 1750s to the 1780s. Through his choice of selections, Meltzer demonstrates the central point of view of the rebels, that they could not truly fulfill the promise of their immigration until they governed themselves. Included are writings from participants in the French and Indian War, Lexington and Concord, and the winter at Valley Forge; the framers of the Constitution; and so forth. Familiar names such as Washington, Adams (John and Abigail), and Franklin are included--Franklin delightfully so, but the bulk of the papers come from the common people, and these are the words that give texture to the history and make it stick in the memory: an old woman's memory of the surrendering British general at Yorktown with tears rolling down his cheeks, for example. These give a vivid sense of the struggles and brutalities of the times. Readers need to keep in mind that the purpose of this book is to give the rebel point of view. Balanced accounts exist elsewhere. This tells why one third of the colonies stood up to rebel, and it does so unforgettably.

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