“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.”
With these enthralling words Longfellow dashes us into the colonial world of Paul Revere. The dastardly British General, Thomas Gage has plotted to raid Concord and destroy its military supplies. He has effectively sealed up Boston so no spies can reach and warn Hancock and Adams of his nefarious plans. But Paul Revere, a man of valor and grit, determines to escape and alert his leaders. In a cunning maneuver, Revere slips through the very teeth of the British navy and dashes across the countryside, informing Adams and Hancock of the danger and alerting the townsfolk of Lexington and Concord. It is a thrilling adventure and a rousing poem. If you have not read it yet, you can find it at the following web page.
But why am I recounting to you the story of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere? Because that is the same story which is told in Day of Glory. Subtitled The Guns at Lexington and Concord,this children’s book relates exactly one day of the glorious conflict between Britain and America – the day that guns were fired at Lexington. Through the narrative we follow leaders from both sides of the conflict; the British as they march large bodies of troops across country roads and through hostile villages, and the Americans as they stay one wily step ahead of the British. This book is solid history and interesting history (an important combination).
There were just a few improvements that could have been made. For example, I think that if the book had been given one main character, instead of many secondary characters, the tension and excitement of the book would have been stronger. Also, the way the book was structured was unique; each hour of the day was given one chapter. This device created the feeling that you were marching towards an inevitable ending point. Its detraction was that it made the book seem more like a report than a quickly flowing story. I think that more time could have been spent intensifying the drama of the battle/spy scenes.
My biggest complaint was that after the battle on Lexington Green, the colonists accuse the British soldiers of murdering several Minute Men. Men killed in pitched battle have not been murdered unless treachery was involved (i.e. a general purposely leading his soldiers into a trap, or positioning specific men where he knows they will be killed).
On pg. 40, Paul Revere says that he’ll get through the British line with a bit of luck. That should have been Providence. Oh, well.
On pg. 67, a war-related lie is told. For those who believe that lying is permitted to save lives, this will be fine.
Conclusion. An excellent historical read.