Paul Revere's Ride

Front Cover
Paul Revere's midnight ride looms as an almost mythical event in American history--yet it has been largely ignored by scholars and left to patriotic writers and debunkers. Now one of the foremost American historians offers the first serious look at the events of the night of April 18, 1775--what led up to it, what really happened, and what followed--uncovering a truth far more remarkable than the myths of tradition.

In Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer fashions an exciting narrative that offers deep insight into the outbreak of revolution and the emergence of the American republic. Beginning in the years before the eruption of war, Fischer illuminates the figure of Paul Revere, a man far more complex than the simple artisan and messenger of tradition. Revere ranged widely through the complex world of Boston's revolutionary movement--from organizing local mechanics to mingling with the likes of John Hancock and Samuel Adams. When the fateful night arrived, more than sixty men and women joined him on his task of alarm--an operation Revere himself helped to organize and set in motion. Fischer recreates Revere's capture that night, showing how it had an important impact on the events that followed. He had an uncanny gift for being at the center of events, and the author follows him to Lexington Green--setting the stage for a fresh interpretation of the battle that began the war. Drawing on intensive new research, Fischer reveals a clash very different from both patriotic and iconoclastic myths. The local militia were elaborately organized and intelligently led, in a manner that had deep roots in New England. On the morning of April 19, they fought in fixed positions and close formation, twice breaking the British regulars. In the afternoon, the American officers switched tactics, forging a ring of fire around the retreating enemy which they maintained for several hours--an extraordinary feat of combat leadership. In the days that followed, Paul Revere led a new battle-- for public opinion--which proved even more decisive than the fighting itself.
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When the alarm-riders of April 18 took to the streets, they did not cry, "the British are coming," for most of them still believed they were British. Within a day, many began to think differently. For George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine, the news of Lexington was their revolutionary Rubicon. Paul Revere's Ride returns Paul Revere to center stage in these critical events, capturing both the drama and the underlying developments in a triumphant return to narrative history at its finest.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

I know little about the American Revolution so was curious about this figure of Yankee reverence. The book is about the Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775) the first armed conflict of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jarratt - LibraryThing

Excellent book! It covers those pivotal days in April 1775 in fantastic detail. This is an exceedingly well researched book that doesn't read like a textbook. I loved the easy style. It's also the ... Read full review

Contents

MAPS
11
General Gages Dilemma
30
First Strokes
44
The Powder Alarm September 1 1774
49
Mounting Tensions
65
The Mission
78
The Warning
93
The March
113
The Fight at Lexington April 19 1775
192
The Battle
202
The Fight at Concord April 19 1775
217
A Circle of Fire
233
Percy at Lexington
252
Aftermath
261
News of Lexington April 19May 10 1775
272
Epilogue
281

The British Expedition to Concord April 1819 1775
116
The Capture
129
The Middlesex Alarm April 1819 1775
146
The Muster
149
The Great Fear
165
The First Shot
184
Appendices
297
Historiography
327
Bibliography
345
Abbreviations
373
Acknowledgments
423
Copyright

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About the author (1994)


David Hackett Fischer is Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. His books include the highly acclaimed Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America and Growing Old in America.