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Paul Revere's Ride

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,871 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Paul Revere's midnight ride is a legendary 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 study of this event - what led to it, what really happened, what followed - uncovering a truth more remarkable than the many myths it has inspire ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 19th 1995 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 31st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lora Innes
I wish that David Hackett Fisher wrote a book about every subject I was interested in. He writes the way my mind works--following every rabbit down its hole and yet finds a way of not loosing track of what he's talking about in the midst of all that exploration. He flushes out his subjects and events so completely that you can see them from angles you've never looked at them before, which makes his approach holistic in a way very few history books are.

Paul Revere's Ride is no exception to this a
Elizabeth K.
Jul 31, 2009 Elizabeth K. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Melissa
Shelves: 2008-new-reads
I love it when a book is well-organized. This one started with some brief background on Paul Revere and General Gage, and then went through an extremely detailed (yet not at all tiresome) play-by-play of the ride of April 18, 1775. Then, an interlude for some information about the state of the militias at that time, followed by another extensive outline, this time of the Lexington and Concord battles, and retreat to Boston on April 19. You get a great sense of Paul Revere's personality: the man ...more
David Hackett Fischer strips myth from history in Paul Revere's Ride. All sorts of fables, poems, and stories have been written about the event, which has become embedded in American culture. Any school child can tell at least something of the midnight ride and the lanterns. Fischer's book is the first scholarly treatment in two hundred years. He has discovered all sorts of information that make Revere a much more seminal participant in the Revolution than had previously been suspected.

One reaso
Mark Mortensen
This book provides a rock solid biography of Paul Revere focused around his famous “Midnight Ride” that set the stage for America’s Revolutionary War. Author David Hackett Fischer provides a vivid historical account that deviates from simplistic popular myth and his story grasps ones attention just as much. Revere did not possess the power of Santa Claus to touch every home and community northwest of Boston in areas such as Carlisle, Acton and Wayland. Rather the heroic messenger for freedom had ...more
David Nichols
This is a thoughtful, lavishly detailed, and very deeply researched book that performs several functions. It's a halfway-decent biography of Revere himself, and of his principal adversary, Thomas Gage. More importantly, the author maps out the network of Revolutionary societies to which Revere belonged, and which helped sustain the imperial resistance movement in Boston. Fischer also describes the system of communications and alarms which connected the rebels in occupied Boston to the rebel-cont ...more
Bliss Tew
I read this book at a time that I had time to enjoy it as I was home on doctor's orders in 1999. This is a scholarly work that delves into the opinions, thinking, historical documents, actions, etc. of the American people and leaders during the build up towards war with Great Britain, what became a war for independence. The book isn't just a stiring account of Paul Revere's ride, but so much more. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking better understanding of the forces and heroic people ...more
Jul 21, 2008 Damon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History and Revolutionary War fans
I am a huge fan of American Revolutionary War history and particularly Boston's role. Maybe I am a little biased living in Lexington and having lived in Boston and all. :) This book does a good job of setting the record straight about a lot of the events that led up to the revolution. I had no idea that Lexington and Concord almost happened a few months early in Marblehead and Salem. I never truly understood why Paul Revere was so celebrated even though he never alerted Concord of the Regulars. ...more
I read this book in graduate school quite some time ago, but I still remember it as being one that I was fascinated with. It is amazing how little we actually know about Paul Revere. His importance to the Revolution goes far beyond the Midnight Ride. He was a major player in the Boston rebellion and one of the great organizers of the Committees of Correspondence. This book details Revere's life and also goes into the specifics of the Midnight Ride and the entire events around Lexington and Conco ...more
Jennifer Iacopelli
Perhaps the best nonfiction I've read in a very, very long time. Thoroughly engaging, covering the well-tread topic of pre-war Boston, without telling the same story I've read over and over again. Ingenious to follow the journeys of both Revere and Gage. Excellent read.
The real skinny on what happened on the night of April 18, 1975 when Paul Revere alerted his countrymen. This non-fiction book provides the results of many hours of research to give the reader a well-rounded view from historical documents of what happened that night and the following days in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The book includes the most thorough account of all the parties involved in the start of the revolutionary war, along with pictures and artifacts, sketches, ancestries, a ...more
Mike Carey
I recently took a trip to New England and spent a day at the North Bridge in Concord and the Battle Road historical park. To be honest I wasn't even aware of the battle that raged all day long on April 19, 1775 as the British expedition tried to retreat to the safety of Boston. This visit made me hungry for more accurate information about the battle, the events immediately leading up to it and it's aftermath. This book, while specifically about Revere touches on all those subjects and is extreme ...more
Growing up in the area I knew about the famous story but had no idea how big of an impact revere had in the early days of the revolution. A must read if you want to learn about the revolution
This is the kind of book that I would write, and that's both good and bad. The first third of the book was a biographical sketch of Paul Revere, which I really enjoyed (5 stars). The problem was that I was expecting the entire book to be about Revere, and I found myself bored by the rest of the book, which is essentially a blow-by-blow replay of the events of Lexington and Concord (2 stars).

Fischer isn't retelling the story of Lexington and Concord merely for the sake of doing so, though. He goe
Before David Hackett Fischer wrote his Pulitzer Prize winging book Washington's Crossing he authored this historical masterpiece. Paul Revere's Ride takes readers through the early stages of the revolution at a point when conflict is all but inevitable. The book frames these early moments through Paul Revere's life but is really an overview of the people and the times that afflicted the country in the weeks and months before Lexington and Concord. Fischer breaks down the myth of the lone rider a ...more
I am beginning to think that I should read everything written by David Hackett Fischer. He makes history look so easy to write. This book, like his Pulitzer winning Washington's Crossing is an engaging, thoughtful and grander viewing of a small event in a particular time. What makes Fischer's work so great is his ability to show the reader the backdrop of historical events, while at the same time creating a compelling narrative that makes for an enjoyable read. The strange thing is, is that one ...more
The book itself is fast-paced, engaging, and written in an almost novelesque form. Even if you are one of those people who don't like nonfiction, you'll still find something to enjoy in this book.

The main reason I liked the book so thoroughly is that it enlightened me about a time and place in American history that I am now realizing I was almost completely ignorant about prior to reading this book. I was taught in school the general reasons for the revolution, as everyone most likely is, but I
Jacqui N
Extensively researched and very readable. The author set out to dispel myths about the Paul Revere legend and cites sources to back up his arguments. Paul Revere was the networker extraordinaire of his time. I enjoyed reading the Appendix as much as the book itself, which took up a good third of the book. Fischer spared nothing in his quest for the most accurate presentation of Paul Revere and his role as a patriot. Subjects covered included positions of the moon on the night of April 18th when ...more
Jemas Thamos
Revere's Ride reads more like an adventure novel, as opposed to what it really is; an historically accurate, densely footnoted textbook designed to resurrect truths regarding the American Revolution. Dozens of people were involved in the Midnight Ride. The story centers on General Gage and Paul Revere--individuals who were polarized in every way imaginable. Gage being the military lifer and Revere being a native of Boston from a solid French pedigree (who also smelted silver for a living). The s ...more
Likeke many people, I thought I knew Paul Revere and his story. this book, which focuses on his ride April 18th/April 19th, is full of details and examinations about Revere, that are fascinating.

It is scholarly in the sense that there is a lot of research and the appendices have further info, but it also is highly accessible and straight forward.

The setup and poaching work well, the chapter breakdowns are good, and the history is two sided, showing us how General Gage felt and what motivated h
Douglas Audirsch
I first heard about this book after attending a rifle training camp that also teaches this portion of American Colonial history. Project Appleseed ( uses this book as a way of demonstrating the huge impact that American marksmanship had in the history of our nation. After hearing the retelling of some of the events of Revere's ride at an Appleseed event, I bought the book and had three of my children read it with me a chapter at a time. We would discuss each day's reading o ...more
This book is really great because it provides legitimate, scholarly research presented in a way that is accessible to everyone. It also incorporates many different kinds of sources, including primary source writings, music, historiographical background, and an entire section of the appendix dedicated to the legendary myths that have been orally passed from generation to generation.
Mary Pellecchia
Nov 04, 2007 Mary Pellecchia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks they know the history behind Patriots' Day
I really liked this book and thought it did a superb job of explaining just what happened before, on the night of, and after Paul Revere's ride. It gives you a much broader perspective than you would have if you just relied on Longfellow's poem and folk beliefs. (Revere never shouted, "The British are coming!" He thought of himself as British, although the awareness of the possibility of independence was growing.) The actual truth is much more complex and just as compelling. You get almost an ho ...more
Kiki Hughes
I did not learn a lot of new facts about Revere, most I had read before. But he clearly depicts the events leading up to the famous night and then discusses that night. This is not boring history and for many it will be the first time they have heard what really happened that night. I enjoyed this book and will use some bits and pieces to enhance my notes. Example, the story about his dog I have to include mad I love the last charter where the author tells what happened to the key players. Very ...more
An excellent book by Fischer where he helps dispel the myths of Paul Revere’s ride that have been made into myth by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Despite breaking the myth Fischer highlights the many unknown contributions that Revere made to the Revolution and the American fight for Independence. He also highlights the positives and negative of General Thomas Gage Britain’s head military man in America at the start of the Revolutionary War.

This is a well written, thoroughly researched, definitive history of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the role that Paul Revere played in them. Paul Revere was not the only midnight rider galloping thru the countryside on that historic night. But he is largely responsible for alerting the citizens of New England that they would soon have company. I can't wait to read it again. :)
Philip Boling
I am glad to have read the book. There are some mental images associated with the folk lore of Paul Revere which the book helped correct for me. "The British are coming" as it turns out is a meaningless expression for that era and was probably never expressed.

Based on this tale I might also pass on reading a biography of John Hancock, certainly it has dropped low on my list.

General Gage and Lord Percy (Loyalists) were both favorably depicted in the telling of this story which I appreciated; I a
A wonderful read, full of compelling detail and a gripping well-paced narrative.
This is what history is all about -- the art of writing history, that is.
After reading it I promptly bought a handful of copies for relatives -- it was that good.
Joan Porte
I enjoyed this book - especially the stories of the individuals - I never like "battle stories" but I love learning of the people, their life and how they face the changing world. And yes, I had a feeling he never said, "The British are coming." :)
I read this in college and loved it! You learn a lot more about Paul Revere than you thought there was to know. Let's face it, when we were kids, all we heard was "The Red Coats are Coming, The Red Coats are Coming!" You learn that he was definitely not alone in that feat, and that it was not just a spontaneous thing he did, but something he planned and organized with numerous people, including women. You also learn that that was not exactly what they said! Furthermore, he argues that many of th ...more
This book was abolutely painful to read. Not that I minded the subject so much, I think I would have enjoyed reading it quite a bit if the author didn't speculate so much on feeling. It was great to go so 'in depth' in to the night of the ride, but i was incredibly annoyed by the author constantly repeating 'Paul Revere must have felt glorious' or 'He must have been terrified.' or 'Paul Revere would have laughed at that'. This books purpose was to give informaton, and the author virtually wound ...more
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David Hackett Fischer is University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. His major works have tackled everything from large macroeconomic and cultural trends (Albion's Seed, The Great Wave) to narrative histories of significant events (Paul Revere's Ride, Washington's Crossing) to explorations of historiography (Historians' Fallacies, in which he coined the term H ...more
More about David Hackett Fischer...
Washington's Crossing Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: A Cultural History, Vol. I) Champlain's Dream Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History

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