cover image Everybody's Revolution:  A New Look at the People Who Won America's Freedom

Everybody's Revolution: A New Look at the People Who Won America's Freedom

Thomas Fleming, . . Scholastic Nonfiction, $19.99 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-439-63404-5

Historian Fleming (Liberty! The American Revolution , companion to the PBS documentary) reminds readers in this inviting, expansive text that the American Revolution was not just "a struggle between two groups of Englishmen who happened to live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean." To make his point, he fills five chapters with stories of often little-known players in this quest for independence. The conversational narrative briskly introduces history-makers with interesting facts and anecdotes ("What does the American Revolution have to do with me?" begins his introduction). Each chapter focuses on a different segment of the population: colonists with European ties, African-Americans, Native Americans, women and youth. While Fleming includes tales of well-known patriots such as Paul Revere, more typical are obscure stories such as that of a woman known only as Mammy Kate. For "rescu[ing] her master from his British captors" (she smuggled him out of a fort in a laundry basket), her master freed her and gave her a plot of land. Readers may be surprised to discover that Native American tribes fought on both sides of the conflict, and many women supported (and sometimes saw battle for) liberty, including a captured female spy, Agent 13, whose identity has never been revealed. A handsome layout incorporates numerous period paintings, photographs of wartime artifacts and primary sources such as handbills. Side borders in rich jewel tones edge the pages (a different color for each chapter), and a colorful use of typeface adds to the lively presentation. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)