Lafayette and the American Revolution

Russell Freedman, Holiday House, $24.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2182-4
Newbery Medalist Freedman, biographer and historian to the young, employs his easy-to-read style in chronicling the life of Gen. Gilbert de Lafayette, an unlikely but key player in the American Revolution. Opening with Lafayette's dramatic, secretive departure from France, the author seizes readers' attention up front and holds it with a straightforward narrative that relies on quotations and anecdotes from Lafayette's unconventional life. The book's 10 chapters recount how the aristocratic Frenchman, who disdained court life and craved battlefield glory, came to the aid of the Continental Army and ended up one of George Washington's closest associates and friends. Reprints of drawings and colorful portraits break up the text and put faces to some of the myriad names. From Lafayette's mostly fatherless childhood and military career to his exile for his part in the French Revolution and his final, vindicated days, audiences receive a multidimensional view of the general, who once referred to himself as "an American, after all—just returned from a long visit to Europe." A time line, source notes, bibliography, and index complete this thorough account. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/16/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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