Most of the founding fathers are surrounded by so much literature that it is hard to know where to start and who to trust. Unfortunately, Joseph Warre...moreMost of the founding fathers are surrounded by so much literature that it is hard to know where to start and who to trust. Unfortunately, Joseph Warren has been all but forgotten by modern Americans--and, sadder yet, even most history books only mention him nominally. As a result, researching Warren is a frustrating task unless you live in or near Boston and have direct access to their historical records.
For those of us who know about and value Dr. Joseph Warren's contributions to the American Revolution, Dr. Forman's book is a sigh of relief.
This biography is the book I wish had been written when I started my own research on Warren years ago. Dr. Warren was a complex and enigmatic figure. He also needs to be understood in many different roles: doctor, patriot, writer, free mason, politician, soldier, as well as in the context of his family, that writing about him can become difficult.
This biography manages to shed light on every aspect of Dr. Warren's life, which helps him emerge in three dimensions for the first time. Forman approaches his subject topically in order to fully address each area. For instance, Forman devotes an entire chapter to Warren as doctor, but doesn't simply talk about his medical training or his patients tended to. He also covers 18th Century medicine as a whole, in order to understand Warren's approach to medicine in the context of his times, and how he fit the standards and expectations of his day, and how he broke apart from them.
You can expect the same treatment from every chapter.
From someone who researched Warren extensively (as an amateur) it was obvious to me how much first hand research Forman did for this biography. This is *not* a regurgitation of information you can find in other sources. Forman dug deep in the primary records not just pertaining to Warren, but also those around him. As a result, every chapter is full of brand new discoveries which helped me understand Joseph Warren less as a martyr-patriot hero, but as a real man, with real motives. This is the first book to truly bring him to life for me.
You'll be surprised to find the information uncovered here which definitively answers the question of how Warren died (a 236 year old mystery solved!) as well as his ambitious workings behind the scenes to gain influence and power as a freemason, and some juicy insights into his love life!
Any student of the Revolution needs to read this book, and get to know this forgotten, but essential Founder.(less)
In all fairness I've only read this first volume. I was so bored and disengaged that I never picked up the second. I hear from plenty of people that t...moreIn all fairness I've only read this first volume. I was so bored and disengaged that I never picked up the second. I hear from plenty of people that the series is amazing if you stick with it, and that the characters get really developed but it's a slow build.
I don't mind slow build stories at all, in fact, I kind of love them, but I think there should be small payoffs along the way to keep a reader engaged. Nothing about this book made me care about the characters or want to read more.
Everyone could be right and the rest of the series might be amazing, so if you enjoyed this one, I hear it's worth reading the rest!(less)
Now that that is out of the way, it was an entertaining read, and it brought to light the plight of the Contine...moreFirst: This book is Historical Fiction.
Now that that is out of the way, it was an entertaining read, and it brought to light the plight of the Continental Army during their first winter at Valley Forge.
If you're interested in history but just cannot make your way through a real non-fiction history book, I recommend it. If you're interested in history and need a break from all your real non-fiction history books, I also recommend it.
That being said, it was overly sentimental. I got bored with all of the men being overcome with emotion and choking back tears every other chapter. The only character in the British Army who is sympathetic is an American Loyalist who never really fits in with his chosen side, and, predictably, comes to realize the Americans are the noble pure and true fighting force, and that he should have enlisted with them.
I also found the long, drawn out conversations on liberty and freedom to be heavy handed. Most men fighting would not and could not have articulated these things. They were fighting for much less lofty reasons. Thomas Paine put into words they could not, which was the magic of his writing and why it connected with the common man.
That being said, the book makes Valley Forge vivid. His caricatures of famous men we know and love are lively and fun. So read it and enjoy.(less)
Sometimes the way that Christians talk in their own language that outsiders can't understand (and act like no one else is listening in) is really frus...moreSometimes the way that Christians talk in their own language that outsiders can't understand (and act like no one else is listening in) is really frustrating to me. Equally frustrating is how liberal secularists demonize Evangelicals and fear them, really. Bravo to Kevin Roose for crossing over the divide between the groups and deciding to spend a semester living with Far Right Conservatives to see if they were really as horrible as their stereotype. This is an honest, but gracious account of his time at Liberty University. The end result is kind but complex in a way that I think most people would be if they actually spent some time with their "enemies" and found out they were more than 2 dimensional villains, with a depth and layers just like everyone else.(less)
I love the way that Elizabeth Gilbert writes: It is honest, intelligent and funny. But I had the same problem with this book that I did with Julie &...moreI love the way that Elizabeth Gilbert writes: It is honest, intelligent and funny. But I had the same problem with this book that I did with Julie & Julia however, and it might not be a fair critique, given that they are memoirs, but both were so entirely "me" focused that they felt shallow. Both are recounts of a self-journey that the author goes on. I just don't think they make it very far. Gilbert sets out to "find herself" (whatever that means) or find peace with all the mayhem she's wrecked on her fellow members of the human race. But she never gets beyond herself to a higher purpose that involves living to serve other people. The book ends on the "love" segment where Gilbert finds a man who realizes it really is all about her. He's an older man who has lived his life to the fullest and now just wants to expend all of his attention and energy on her. Even the pray segments are not revelations about who God is, they're revelations about who she is. I learned very little about God in this book, though from the get go she sets out to find him.
I don't know Gilbert personally, and it is hard to review a memoir without critiquing the person, which I don't want to do. But that if I talk about Gilbert as a character in her book, this was the impression I got and the ending felt hollow.
It is a fun read because she is an exceptional writer. And there were a lot of great insights in there. But all in all we have two very different takes on the world, so I spent a lot of the book disagreeing with her.(less)
I'm going to give this book four starts just because the man wrote a book about Dr. Joseph Warren, America's forgotten patriot and my favorite.
That be...moreI'm going to give this book four starts just because the man wrote a book about Dr. Joseph Warren, America's forgotten patriot and my favorite.
That being said, I can't imagine someone not interested in Warren or at least the times reading more than the first few pages of this. The author does a good job filling in the missing information from Warren's life, but I found myself frustrated wondering if he had access to more research than me or if he had been inventing a lot of details. (It turns out it is the later.) Read and enjoy, but know that fiction is stuck in the holes where fact is missing.
I also thought that John Warren, a man full of personality, really lacked any kind of a voice as a narrator, aside from blind admiration for his big brother. The real John Warren is a lot more colorful and emotional than this little book would have you believe.
All that being said, there isn't much in the way of Joseph Warren related material out there to chose from. This is the shortest and quickest to read. I hope you do pick it up! If for no other reason than to support the effort the author is making.(less)
This book was fun in the way that Jane Austen books are fun. But the author was "influenced" so heavily from Austen that after I finished I had no ide...moreThis book was fun in the way that Jane Austen books are fun. But the author was "influenced" so heavily from Austen that after I finished I had no idea what another book by her would read like. There was no evidence of her own style, she just a copied Austen's style completely. It read like it was well researched but lacked Austen's authenticity. The supernatural element to the story was a fun twist, so if you want a quick, easy, escapist weekend read I recommend it. If you're looking for innovation and depth, I'd pass.(less)
This book really surprised me. Because it was Young Adult literature, I anticipated a story about a girl who decides to fight the system, and rallies...moreThis book really surprised me. Because it was Young Adult literature, I anticipated a story about a girl who decides to fight the system, and rallies the other members of the Hunger Games to join her cause. Instead, I got an almost dark piece of literature exploring themes that I've only seen explored in books like Dawn and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier--surely not young adult fiction! The entire series covers the effects of a girl used as a pawn in a civil war--as she's used and exploited by one side or the other, the whole time fighting to protect the people she loves and ultimately losing herself in the process.
I was reading holocaust survivors's testimonies when I was a young adult, so I suppose the subject matter isn't inappropriate. It was just utterly unexpected. We could use more thought provoking novels like this for teens, and less books just about the inevitable drama of being in high school. I highly recommend the entire series--whether you like young adult literature or not. It covered a lot of honest themes about war that I think history lovers would connect with as well.(less)
This book was pleasant. The characters were warm and lovable. You rooted for the protagonist and fell for all of her friends. The bulk of the story ta...moreThis book was pleasant. The characters were warm and lovable. You rooted for the protagonist and fell for all of her friends. The bulk of the story takes place in Savannah, a magical place that brings an otherworldliness to the tale. However, I will say that the book suffered from over description and an excessive use of hyperbole. I found the descriptions got distracting as they were often too picturesque and illustrative. This book was enjoyable, but not profound.(less)
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Last Night in Twisted River, but it also predated it by about twenty years. It's obvious the author's skill has mu...moreI didn't enjoy this book as much as Last Night in Twisted River, but it also predated it by about twenty years. It's obvious the author's skill has much improved. All the characters in this book were phenomenal, but the foreshadowing was so heavily played that by the time the final scene came around, it felt anti-climactic. The bulk of the book had me enthralled, though, so I can't complain too much. :)(less)
Not since John Steinbeck's East of Eden have I been this haunted by a cast of characters. The book cover tries to inject a clear plot into the book, a...moreNot since John Steinbeck's East of Eden have I been this haunted by a cast of characters. The book cover tries to inject a clear plot into the book, and I wish I hadn't read it. I spent the first half of the book waiting for an exciting chase but the family just moves cities to get away from danger and lives there for about twenty years. So it's not the exciting thriller I thought it would be when I picked it up. If it had been, I probably would have read it, enjoyed it, then forgotten about it. Instead I was surprised by a rich family of characters--likable but flawed, and so human in that. You can tell this is a book written at the peak of the author's career: the characters age and deal with loss in a way that a young writer could never capture. I finished the book feeling like I had lost real people I knew. Cookie and Ketchum and Daniel haunted me for weeks afterwards. And I think that is the best, but rarest, way to finish a book. (less)