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Archive for the ‘War of Independence’ Category

A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

 

Rick Beyer. Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, February 21st 2017. 224.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Reading this book made me realize that the current heated American political scene during election is nothing new, that it has had its crazy moments and its up and downs.  This book is about the animosity and competition between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr which most American remember with the duel between these two men that were involved with American politics that result in the death of one after the duel.  But rather than focus only on the duel the book looks at both men’s lives and the comparison and contrast between the two of them and how their lives culminated to that unfortunate duel.

I thought the author did a good job comparing and contrasting Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  This book is a look at not only the biographical details of both men but also how their paths cross pathed or orbited near one another over the decades. I really enjoyed learning about both men’s upbringing and also their military career during the War of Independence.  I thought it was interesting to see how both men were similar in how they were driven, talented and energetic both as officers in the Contintental Army and later in their New York law practice.  Yet there were differences between them including their deposition and also how people perceived them.

Overall in my opinion the author did an excellent job in giving us facts and attempted to be fair.  There was a sense that later in their politics the book gives you the details of both men’s concerns with the political direction of the country.  Yet their concern seem to be the reaction of coming to the opposite conclusion of their upbringing: Alexander Hamilton who grew up poor was concerned about the tyranny of the masses while Aaron Burr who grew up in an affluent household was suspicious of the few rich elites in the political process.  The book goes over the scandals of both men while also putting the over the top rhetoric of the political discourse in the context of that being how it was during their time.  Sadly with many factors being set it led us to an event where because of honor Hamilton and Burr faced each other in a duel and one would be killed.  In one of history’s dispute of what happened that day with the duel which debate linger to today, Hamilton was killed and Burr ended up being quite hated.

Fascinating read and it lead me to put current American politics in perspective and to also pray that our country’s election process would not undermine the republic.

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For this week’s “Wee-kids” Wednesdays here’s a review of a children’s book and while its not Christian its still family friendly.

 

Kyandreia Jones. Spies: James Armistead Lafayette.  Waitsfield, VT: Chooseco, May 1st 2019.  199 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

As a kid I love Choose Your Own Adventures!  Now that I’m a parent I wanted my kids to also enjoy these.  I got this book to read to my kids after I read a Christian version of Choose Your Own Adventure and I thought I read one aloud to them.  Of all the titles I picked this one since it focused on the American War of Independence and I’ve gone over the topic as a history lesson with my kids.  My girls thought it was a fun historical fiction!

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It’s the Fourth of July!  For those outside the United States that doesn’t know, today is the day Americans celebrate the founding of the United States as a country.  Here’s a review of an audiobook that’s fitting for today.

Derek W. Beck.  The War Before Independence: 1775-1776.  Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, June 1st 2016.  528 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This audiobook is a fascinating military history on the first few months of the American War of Independence.  Tantor Audio turned the written book into an audio book.  While the physical book is over five hundred pages long the book in audio format comes in at 13 hours and 49 minutes long.  The narration was good and both the reader and the content of the book captured my attention from start to finish.

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Here’s this weekend book review, a feature I try to post on Fridays because sometimes in ministry Pastors need to read other things besides theology, Bible, commentaries and apologetics.

Band of Giants The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Jack Kelly. Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, September 9th, 2014. 288 pp.

This book focuses on the military leaders during the American War of Independence.  I appreciate the author’s look at the military leaders that are not as well known today.  Previously I read a book on General Benedict Arnold so I was looking forward to reading this book to get a better idea of what the other leaders were like.  Author Jack Kelly paints a portrait of American military men with their admirable qualities but also their quirks.  It’s amazing to consider how amateur the American side were.  This was contrasted with the British Red Coats who were professional.  I love how the book gave an account towards the end of the book of how an American solider asked a British soldier what his occupation was outside of the military; this was a concept that was foreign to their British professional counterpart and one that the Brits chided the Americans.  In fact throughout the book it was clear that the Brits didn’t think too favorably of the American military leaders either.  British officers saw themselves as gentlemen and aristocrats.  It is no surprised then that the British looked down upon American military officers as craftsmen and merchants mimicking aristocratic officers.  Despite the American vast inexperience it is incredible to consider that the Americans would have won the war.  But as you read the book you also see how the leaders and generals matured.  At the same time war is beyond anyone’s control—and the hands of victory is ultimately determined by God more than generals.

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Revolutionary Summer The Birth of American Independence

 

While the book is titled “Revolutionary Summer” early in the book the author makes it clear that this is a history book on the latter half of 1776 in Colonial America and the pursuit for American Independence.  The author noted that often books on the War of Independence would focus either on the political aspect of things or the military side with the war but for the founding fathers these two were intertwined and were part of any founding father’s holistic experience.  The book covers various figures in the colonies such as George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson while also exploring important figures from the British side notably the Howe brothers and General Clinton who led the military campaign against the Continental army.  I learned quite a bit from the book such as how George Washington lost New York to the British and also how among the thirteen colonies New York probably had more British sympathizers.  I also learned how the British could have crushed the Continental Army but both Howe brothers wanted to pursue a path of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pursue a victory that is purely military.  The Howe brothers explained that the reason was to avoid unnecessary bloodshed—but it was also because of their desire to seek future political opportunities as diplomats for the British government.  It is easy to see things in hindsight but the book makes you feel the tension and uncertainty during the summer of 1776 when the colonies took the course that would change world history by seeking independence.  This book also explains the difficulties George Washington and his army faced with bad supplies and always short of soldiers.  An excellent read.

What’s In It for the Christian:

I think history is a great opportunity to see the Providence of God.  While George Washington was defeated in New York, fortunately there was a deep fog that allowed him and his army to escape New York without the British being aware which years later many in the Continental Army saw as a providence of God.  I think it is the providential working of God.  The book also reveal how it is not by might or by wit that history is shaped–that wise men can err and strong figures may not be as strong as one think.  This reminds us that we are not as in control of our paths as we may think (I like the book’s discussion of Thomas Jefferson getting upset that the Declaration of Independence was being changed by others).

 

Purchase: Amazon

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