Thursday, December 3, 2009

Listen my children ...

I listened to another one of those blah biographies from the Library of American Lives and Times over the Thanksgiving weekend, this one was called Paul Revere and the Minutemen of the American Revolution. The author is Ryan P. Randolph. I didn't learn much here, since I recently read James Cross Giblin's much more interesting The Many Rides of Paul Revere.

Revere was a bit of a radical among radicals, and seemed to be everywhere during the probably illegal activities that went on in Boston in the years just prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence: organizing the protests against the Stamp Act, engraving the scene of the Boston Massacre, participating in the Boston Tea Party, and riding that horse from the North Shore to Concord. According to Randolph's book, he had pretty much been forgotten by American history until Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that poem in 1861. Randolph also contends that Revere was just an ordinary silversmith -- with which I think the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (and others) might disagree.

This audiobook is read by Benjamin Becker. He keeps things moving along at a brisk pace, but no amount of speedreading is going to make this anything but a chore to get through. He's too enthusiastic, almost viewing his role as that of cheerleader: Listen up kids! This guy was really important and here's why! Becker is occasionally interrupted by another voice -- who reads footnotes with appropriate gravitas. Then, we're back to the main story and its race through history.

May this Library never cross my path again ...

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