Revolution Song: The Story of America's Founding in Six Remarkable Lives


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.3 X 1.6 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Russell Shorto is the best-selling author of The Island at the Center of the World, Amsterdam, and Revolution Song, and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Cumberland, Maryland.


Russell Shorto's engaging new book appears at a moment when basic concepts of rights and equality are routinely disparaged. As if in response to our troubled political culture, he invites readers to return to the American Revolution to understand better how an 18th-century commitment to freedom took root and became a fundamental, unifying value in our nation's history.--T. H. Breen
Shorto has taken the lives of six very different figures, ranging from a high British official to an African slave, and woven them seamlessly together into an engaging, readable, and surprisingly complete account of the American Revolution. A tour de force.--Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
We as Native Americans tend to relay our history in story form. The people become real in our minds and the stories vivid and compelling. Shorto has succeeded in telling this tale as a master Native storyteller would. He weaves the complex strands of time together wonderfully as if I were hearing them in the warm firelight of a bark longhouse.--Michael Galban, curator, Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site
Timely and engaging.... [Shorto] explores the philosophical currents of the revolutionary era through an unusual assemblage of life stories.... Their experiences make for a compelling narrative, rich in unexpected twists, turns, and parallels, that allows Shorto to explore how engagement with revolutionary ideals reflected social and economic class, gender, region, race, culture, and political allegiance.
[Shorto's] attention to everyday detail anchors his portraits and helps reveal the precariousness of freedom in an unequal, rapidly changing society.
How did the teenaged daughter of a British officer view the American Revolution, from behind enemy lines in New York? What did that contest mean to a shrewd, contemplative Iroquois warrior? Russell Shorto has emerged from the archives with a bold, largely neglected cast. He has set them free in a rich, prismatic narrative, as intensely vivid as it is seamlessly constructed.--Stacy Schiff, author of the #1 national bestsellers Cleopatra and The Witches: Salem, 1692
With symphonic sweep, cinematic detail, and compelling, superbly researched real-life characters--including an iron-willed slave, a war-weary Iroquois statesman, and an ambitious planter named George Washington--Shorto shows how our struggle for freedom began and why it remains so sadly unfinished. If Spielberg wrote history, this is how it would read.--Howard Fineman, NBC News analyst, HuffPost editor at large, and author of The Thirteen American Arguments