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King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution

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"Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. This isn't one of them." What it is, instead, is utterly interesting, antedotes (John Hancock fixates on salmon), from the inside out (at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, hundreds of soldiers plunged into battle "naked as they were born") close-up narrative filled with little-known details, lots of quotes that capture the spirit and voices of the principals ("If need be, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston" -- George Washington), and action, It's the story of the birth of our nation, complete with soldiers, spies, salmon sandwiches, and real facts you can't help but want to tell to everyone you know.
King George: What Was His Problem? is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published December 1, 2005

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About the author

Steve Sheinkin

36 books553 followers
From: http://stevesheinkin.com/about/

I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and my family lived in Mississippi and Colorado before moving back to New York and settling in the suburbs north of New York City. As a kid my favorite books were action stories and outdoor adventures: sea stories, searches for buried treasure, sharks eating people… that kind of thing. Probably my all-time favorite was a book called Mutiny on the Bounty, a novel based on the true story of a famous mutiny aboard a British ship in the late 1700s.

I went to Syracuse University and studied communications and international relations. The highlight of those years was a summer I spent in Central America, where I worked on a documentary on the streets of Nicaragua.

After college I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for an environmental group called the National Audubon Society. Then, when my brother Ari graduated from college a few years later, we decided to move to Austin, Texas, and make movies together. We lived like paupers in a house with a hole in the floor where bugs crawled in. We wrote some screenplays, and in 1995 made our own feature film, a comedy called A More Perfect Union (filing pictured below), about four young guys who decide to secede from the Union and declare their rented house to be an independent nation. We were sure it was going to be a huge hit; actually we ended up deep in debt.

After that I moved to Brooklyn and decided to find some way to make a living as a writer. I wrote short stories, screenplays, and worked on a comic called The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey. In 2006, after literally hundreds of rejections, my first Rabbi Harvey graphic novel was finally published.

Meanwhile, I started working for an educational publishing company, just for the money. We’d hire people to write history textbooks, and they’d send in their writing, and it was my job to check facts and make little edits to clarify the text. Once in a while I was given the chance to write little pieces of textbooks, like one-page biographies or skills lessons. “Understanding Bar Graphs” was one of my early works. The editors noticed that my writing was pretty good. They started giving me less editing to do, and more writing. Gradually, I began writing chapters for textbooks, and that turned into my full-time job. All the while, I kept working on my own writing projects.

In 2008 I wrote my last textbook. I walked away, and shall never return. My first non-textbook history book was King George: What Was His Problem? – full of all the stories about the American Revolution that I was never allowed to put into textbooks. But looking back, I actually feel pretty lucky to have spent all those years writing textbooks. It forced me to write every day, which is great practice. And I collected hundreds of stories that I can’t wait to tell.

These days, I live with my wife, Rachel, and our two young kids in Saratoga Springs, New York. We’re right down the road from the Saratoga National Historical Park, the site of Benedict Arnold’s greatest – and last – victory in an American uniform. But that’s not why I moved here. Honestly.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 252 reviews
Profile Image for Lucy.
455 reviews87 followers
September 21, 2022
What a fun way to read about the American Revolution! Sprinkled with humor and fun facts, Sheinkin makes learning about history interesting and engaging. This is a great way for middle-grade students to learn about history.

The book ends with a summary of the key characters, and what happened to them after the war.
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,835 followers
July 28, 2008
Children are taught history. They turn into teenagers and find out that much of what they learned was prettified or their textbooks left out huge chunks of morally ambiguous grey matter. They go to college (some of them) and view with extreme skepticism any history, knowing as they do now that every historical text was written by someone with an agenda. And then sometimes, once in a great while, they return to the historical moments they learned about in their youth and try to figure out, really figure out, what happened all those centuries ago. In this case, author Steve Sheinkin's journey took a slightly different route. He was a writer of historical textbooks and to his chagrin he watched as the most interesting aspects of his recaps and historical pieces were thrown on the cutting room floor (so to speak) while the dull, rote, standard "facts" got left in. The solution? Write his own hilarious encapsulation of the American Revolution with every loony detail and fascinating fact intact and present. And if he happened to make the entire war more interesting and understandable in the process, so be it. Paired with illustrator Tim Robinson, Sheinkin isn't adverse to a little skimming himself, but for the most part this is probably the most interesting book on the revolution for kids you're going to find this side of Jean Fritz.

We all know about the American Revolution, right? There was this tea party and... uh.. Paul Revere rode around on a horse. And there was this crazy king who ruled us and "don't fire before you see the whites of their eyes" and... yeah. That stuff. A little foggy on the details? Well in King George: What Was His Problem? author Steve Sheinkin brings the 18th century into focus like no one else. With section headings like "Revere and That Other Guy" and "How to Start a Revolution", kids will learn just as much about George Washington's atrocious love poetry as they will the details of "General Burgoyne's Pretty Good Plan". The term "history comes alive" is trite, but if it weren't I'd definitely employ it when describing this book. Illustrations by Tim Robinson complement the action and back matter includes a "Whatever Happened To...?" section that talks about the rest of the major players' lives, heavily researched and beautifully presented Source Notes, and Quotation Notes.

What's nice about this title is that unlike a textbook it doesn't indulge in the notion that history is a series of unambiguous facts. History is a slippery eel here, and different accounts often receive equal attention. And be aware that even though Sheinkin likes to pepper his book with the mildly ridiculous, he never descends into rumor or hearsay. So basically if you're looking for some corroboration to that rumor you heard that George Washington had a particularly large tuchis, seek thee elsewhere. And just look at all the stuff that adults like myself never learned in school! Elements like the fact that British official John Malcolm ripped the tar and feathers (and skin) off his body to send in a box to the British government. Mind you, for the sake of time and space the author has had to pare down much of the information about this time period. Mostly this works but there are some simplifications that get a touch too simple. "No taxation without representation" is explained as meaning basically "We're not paying!" which isn't precisely true.

In terms of the morally grey areas studiously avoided by our fifth grade history teachers, Sheinkin does pretty well. For example, there will probably be a fair amount of kids who view the terrorizing of taxman Andrew Oliver for the violent mob behavior it was. What's so nice, though, is that Sheinkin tries to avoid telling child readers what to think. He just lays out the facts and lets them speak for themselves. Plus I like that he would stand up for the British soldiers too. "Did the soldiers deserve such hatred? Maybe not. Most were seventeen - and eighteen-year-old boys from poor families. This was the only job they could get . . ." And when it comes to first person accounts you sometimes run into sentences like "British and American witnesses tell different versions of the story. You'll have to listen to some of the evidence and come to your own conclusions." Heaven.

That said there is the question of the slaves and African Americans to consider here. Teaching kids about the Colonial Days in school always sort of skims over this stuff. We are taught that the American Revolution was a good thing. Yet how often are we taught that part of the reason some of the colonists rebelled was to hold onto their slaves? Remember, the British had abolished slavery in England by this point. How much longer before they attempted to do the same in America? Sheinkin to his credit makes note of the African-American and their contributions to the American cause whenever it is possible and appropriate to do so. And he does mention that the British opposed slavery and the American didn't. Yet he never attempts to explain or solve one of the biggest mysteries connection with the slaves; Why on earth did some of them help the American cause? Seriously! If the British winning might mean a potential end to slavery why did people like Prince Estabrook, John Glover's black and white regiment, and especially James Armistead (who remained enslaved until 1787) help the colonists? Did they not know the English were opposed? Sheinkin couldn't hope to cover every aspect of the war, but if he's writing a book that discusses the things we're never taught in school, I'd think that this would be the number one mystery to confront head on (or at least touch on at more length than is found here). A brief "the story of our country is not a fairy tale" is better than most books, but I still wish for more.

Illustrator Tim Robinson has done a fine job providing pictures of the major players and important maps from the time period. The major players are recognizable and pop up on the sides of pages unexpected. Robinson does, however, have this very odd habit of giving all his men long eyelashes. Benedict Arnold, for example, appears to have more in common with Flower from "Bambi" than as our favorite traitor. The effect of these lashes is a kind of Boy Georgeification of our Founding Fathers and their British opponents. I happen to find it kind of awesome, but there's no denying that it's an odd way to go about things. The design of the book itself is particularly good with the words integrated with images in fun ways. The eye moves about each page easily, but the pictures and sidebars are never so prolific as to prove distracting or overwhelming.

In the back of this book you will find a section of titles called a "Collection of quotes, memoirs, and other primary sources by Revolution participants," that is prefaced by a section explaining why first person accounts are fabulous. This book goes beyond merely teaching kids about the American Revolution. It goes so far as to turn some of them into history buffs cold. And while I wish some aspects had been covered a little more, that's my own agenda talking. Essentially this may be the ideal thing to hand to a kid who is required to read some kind of book about the Revolution. Who knows? They may end up enjoying history. Good stuff.

Ages 9 and up.
Profile Image for Ed Erwin.
959 reviews98 followers
July 6, 2019
Yes, an adult can really learn history from a kid's book! I knew bits and pieces of this from other places, but putting the whole revolutionary war together into a short book helps to integrate it all together in my mind despite my short attention span.

The author is good at finding weird little details that may not be necessary to know, but which keep things entertaining. Like, wives would often go to war with their husbands, especially if they were high-ranking. One of the British generals brought his wife and three young daughters with him. When Ben Franklin finally got an audience with the king of France, he hired the best wig-maker. But the wig-maker made a wig that was too small for his big head, so he had to go in bald, which was utterly shocking. Meanwhile, the British suspected Franklin was in France in order to build an electrical doomsday machine to destroy Britain.

In addition to this, I'd also recommend the book about Nathan Hale, by a man named Nathan Hale called One Dead Spy. The original Nathan Hale didn't really do very much, so other stories from the war are added in the book, including very interesting material about Knox getting cannons across an icy river.
Profile Image for Michelle Hernandez.
127 reviews5 followers
February 9, 2023
Reread 2023: Still so good. Love how he makes history come to life. I'm reading along with my middle school students and they keep saying how much they enjoy reading this book!

This is my second book by Steve Sheinkin and it did not disappoint. I love that he writes non-fiction in a way that makes historic people seem like real people. I laughed at some of the crazy things that happened and couldn't stop reading. I can't wait to read more of his books and incorporate them into my classes.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,820 reviews418 followers
August 31, 2017
Effectively entertains and enlightens. And, with index, bibliography, and notes, should count as a real source for fifth-grade & up research papers. And is good for adult readers who still feel inadequately educated. I kinda knew most of the stuff here, but the anecdotes are organized into a coherent narrative and I feel that I have a much better understanding of the topic.

Recommended. And I will def. seek more by the author.
Profile Image for Jessica.
15 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2017
My main problem with this book is the misleading title. I was under the impression that the book would be about King George and his perspective of the American Revolution. While the book is informative, it is most certainly NOT about King George. He is mentioned, but not enough to give him the title. I really would have liked to see the war from the side of the English, not the same stories we’ve all heard many times from the viewpoint of the American.
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,760 reviews125 followers
November 27, 2013
Steve Sheinkin has evolved into such a brilliant writer of narrative nonfiction that when I read his earlier books I'm a bit let down because I am expecting more fictional elements. Which isn't really fair of me as a reader. Even his straightforward nonfiction texts are well-done and interesting. I just don't gobble them up like I have his most recent books. After reading "Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales" graphic novel series, this book helped fill in the blanks as to the timeline of famous people in history giving an excellent overview of the American Revolution and key players in a grisly war.

Historians cannot cover everything. They must pick and choose and many times I find myself thinking that I would like to explore something more in depth that is touched upon in whatever I am reading. Obviously Sheinkin had the same idea because he mentions Benedict Arnold in this book and goes off to write another book solely on him and his traitorous deed. I'd like to know more about King George. I didn't know he was only 22 years old when he became King. I've heard about his madness and didn't know it was from porphyia, an inherited disorder. Sheinkin shows how the stubborn young king made mistakes when dealing with the Americas. He also puts in other crazy facts and details that keep the reader chucking through each page. Take the British official, John Macolm, who tried to collect taxes from the Colonists. He was tarred and feathered and mailed a box to the British government that still had bits of his skin attached to the feathered tar. Gotta love those details. The short chapters make it easy to digest the facts and the famous quotes color the text.

Characters don't take on the shape that they do in Sheinkin's narrative nonfiction and that is what I miss the most when reading his books from almost a decade ago. They are full of interesting facts but he doesn't describe characters in depth as found in more recent books. Don't get me wrong. He does describe colorful figures, but he is covering too many people over too long a time to be conducive to a narrative nonfiction story that follows a few characters. In the back, he elaborates on 22 of the major players in the American Revolution titled, "Whatever Happened to... " That was my shot in the arm.

A strength of the story is that Sheinkin lays out the facts and keeps his bias out of the picture. He mentions the fact that the British thought the Declaration of Independence as hypocritical due to the phrase "all men are created equal" that was written by many men who had slaves. Good point. He also states that many of the British soldiers were young boys who needed money. The text gives a good overall picture of the why's and how's of the war flavored with the bizarre to make for good pacing. For instance, the part on Benjamin Franklin gives funny, ridiculous information about how John Adams and Benjamin Franklin had to share a bed and argued over keeping the window open or closed to showing that Adams didn't understand how Franklin's full social calendar was providing critical support from the French government needed for the Americans to win the war. He mentions African-American's contributions to the war and women doing brave things. A well-rounded, nonjudgmental look at the American Revolution.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,092 reviews8 followers
August 26, 2008
Hands down, this is the best -and funniest!- book about the American Revolution I have ever read. It's aimed at kids, but it never talks down to them. You would be hard pressed to find an adult who doesn't learn something from this book. The writing is simple, clear and concise.

The author is a text book writer who got tired of having to leave all the funny and really interesting historical bits out of the text books, so he decided to write a book with all those bits left in!

I love the way this book is organized- key players and events are highlighted systematically (That sounds very dry, but trust me, it's not). There are quotes galore, from people you've definitely heard of, to people you never knew existed. He even has a section called "What ever happened to...?" at the end. And like any good text book writer, the source notes go on for pages.

The author has also writen a book about the Civil War, which sadly, no public library in the state of Georgia owns. I'm headed to Amazon right now, and I can only hope that the author is planning books about World War I, World War II, Vietnam, etc.
Profile Image for Beth Anne.
1,227 reviews99 followers
July 25, 2020
Read aloud with my kids. They loved it and I thought it was pretty solid. I appreciated this overview of the Revolutionary War as an accessible starting point for kids. It had more depth than many picture books, brought up some issues that have been addressed more recently (slavery among the founding fathers, role of women in early government, and native Americans). The end also had a look at each main character and what they did after the war. There are many actual quotes throughout the book, which made things a little slower as I read, but also was good for primary sources.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
867 reviews14 followers
February 25, 2020
I love history, and this book was a fun overview of the people and events leading up to and through the American Revolution. I have recommended it to my daughter who is about to take AP US History as a great refresher before she begins. Easy and enjoyable read.
32 reviews
January 5, 2018
Steve sheinkin is the best writer of his generation. A must read
Profile Image for Kimberly Alberta.
73 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2020
I now have such a better understanding of both the facts and the ambiguities surrounding the American Revolution. This book makes history fun, memorable, and accessible - “Let’s pick up the action in 1750. Britain, France, & Spain had carved up North America into massive empires... you’d think they’d be satisfied, right?” I read much of this book with my Hamilton loving kids and there was some nice overlap.
Profile Image for Mickey.
220 reviews43 followers
July 4, 2021
I’ve read all three of the books in this series, and I have to say that this one is my favorite. They’re all informative and fun, but I think what I appreciate most about this particular book is the way in which the author emphasizes the how and why of events over the usual when and where. For instance, Sheinkin takes a moment to explain the rationale behind issuing a declaration of independence:

“By the middle of June, a majority of the members of Congress were finally ready to declare independence…almost. You can’t just wake up one day and say, “Okay, now we’re independent.” You really need some kind of official declaration. You know, a written document that explains your reasons for becoming independent. What you need is a Declaration of Independence.” (pg 82)

Later on…

The Declaration of Independence basically says three things in this order:
1. People are born with certain rights.
2. King George has taken those rights from us.
3. So we’re forming our own country.
(pg 85)

You might be able to argue that this summary lacks the elegant and complex melodies of the original, but it does manage to hit the important notes. Moreover, it focuses more on the content than simple rote memorization of facts, and this is precisely what history for elementary school kids should focus on.

From the subtitle: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution”, I was worried about this being a book filled with zany anecdotes and absurd little stories (and there are some), but there is also enough solid information in here to be educational as well. I think sometimes we adults forget that children are often learning these stories for the first time, and they don’t need all the embellishments, variations, or subversions that would pique the interest of an adult audience who have already absorbed the basic information and are looking for some behind-the-scenes tell-all. This current generation does not need a debunking of the George Washington and the cherry tree myth because they never heard it. Hell, my generation only heard it as a debunking.

The historical characters in this tale are treated with a breezy familiarity. John Adams is introduced as “well-known lawyer, Patriot, and grump” (pg 16), which is a fair characterization. Another historical person of whom we were given a full picture is America’s first traitor: Benedict Arnold. Sheinkin gives us a picture of a man who was courageous but also vainglorious and resentful.

The one characterization I thought was skewed was George Washington’s. In the limited space of this book in which important battles are given a page or two, we are treated to what might be every instance during the war of George Washington losing his temper with subordinates. Although these outbursts are often prefaced as being “out of character”, if nearly every chapter features Washington swearing at or clubbing people, it’s likely that readers will get the wrong impression about what he was like. (It’s a lot like in Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”, Marc Antony gives a speech at Caesar’s funeral in which he says repeatedly that the conspirators were honorable men yet also describes in detail their dishonorable acts. During the speech, the crowd famously turns on the conspirators and starts calling for their deaths because the stories held more weight than the statements). I felt the need after reading several of these stories with a student to interject that Washington was known for his self-control and fairness. I don’t doubt that these incidents happened, but I do think that giving all of them space creates a false impression. I think that Sheinkin was probably trying to humanize Washington by including moments of high emotion, but Washington, as a whole, was known for his reserved and proper behavior. I don’t think that came across.

Sheinkin’s emphasis on the absurd and his liberal use of modern slang make his work the kid’s version of Sara Vowell’s books. Both write smart, irreverent, informative and fascinating histories that are too fun to miss.

Tutor’s Note: This book is particularly suitable for bright upper-elementary school kids who have trouble with summarizing. Each little section can be summed up with a quick “Who? What? Where? When? Why? And How?” It’s usually not complicated and gives them a lot of practice in learning to distinguish the main points from details.
Profile Image for Becky.
5,422 reviews122 followers
October 16, 2017
Sheinkin, Steve. 2008. King George What Was His Problem: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution.

Enjoyable. That is what King George What Was His Problem is. Enjoyable. Fun. Interesting. Informative. Entertaining. Everything a textbook isn't in most cases. The tone of this one is conversational. (Almost reminiscent of Kathleen Krull in my opinion.)

Product description from the publisher's site:

“Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. This isn’t one of them.” What it is, instead, is utterly interesting, antedotes (John Hancock fixates on salmon), from the inside out (at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, hundreds of soldiers plunged into battle “naked as they were born”) close-up narrative filled with little-known details, lots of quotes that capture the spirit and voices of the principals (“If need be, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston” -- George Washington), and action, It’s the story of the birth of our nation, complete with soldiers, spies, salmon sandwiches, and real facts you can’t help but want to tell to everyone you know.

Full of I-didn't-know-that facts, this nonfiction book proved almost unputdownable. It held my interest throughout and was quite simply an enjoyable read. Much more entertaining than I was expecting. But just because it's entertaining doesn't mean the research was lazy. It is well-researched and the bibliography (and source notes) are thorough.
Profile Image for Samantha.
2,886 reviews9 followers
July 10, 2009
I picked up this book thinking that it would be like the Horrible Histories series, but for American history instead. It's not. It's worse. It's disjointed. I felt that the writing style was really choppy. There is a foreword where the author says that he was a former textbook author and there were all these stories that he had to leave out. Well, I felt like he took those stories, put them in chronological order, and BAM! We have this book. I stopped reading shortly after Sheinkin starts discussing the American Revolution, because there was a section where he said something along the lines of, "Our country's history isn't a fairy tale, every body makes mistakes, not every gets a happy ending, but hey, at least it's interesting, right?" This comes after he discusses Abigail Adams' attempt to get her husband to "remember the ladies" and the British commenting that "those who yelp loudest for liberty" and equality of man own slaves themselves. To me, he seemed to implying that, hey our country has this awful background, but at least it makes it interesting! Or is he implying that perhaps our country would have a boring history if we didn't have racist and sexist undertones? Maybe I am overreacting, but it definitely was the last straw for a book I was already frustrated with.
Profile Image for Ruthie Jones.
1,017 reviews48 followers
November 29, 2016
Steve Sheinkin's non-text book take on the American Revolution is a delightful recap or reminder of events leading up to and following the United States's independence from Great Britain. While this quick read is not meant to replace traditional history learning, it can serve as a fun way to glimpse high-level details as well as some lesser known tidbits and minor characters.

I especially like the "What Ever Happened To. . .?" section at the end because we don't always know what these people did after the Revolution finally ended (except for George Washington, of course). I mean, what did Paul Revere and Benedict Arnold do after serving and betraying their country, respectively?

While some unpleasant aspects of the time period are glossed over, other aspects are highlighted in great detail, such as the astonishingly ill-prepared ragtag American army's lack of provisions and training. So many died simply because they were starving and/or freezing.

The illustrations are an amusing and clever addition!
Profile Image for katsok.
572 reviews129 followers
July 4, 2011
I received my Bachelor's degree in History, specifically American History concentrated around the Civil War. And while I love history, it is not usually something kids enjoy reading. I think they would love this book. Sheinkin is entertaining as he weaves his way through the American Revolution. I love that he didn't gloss over some of the parts where we look bad. I enjoyed the omniscient narrator giving me tidbits throughout the book. Thank you go Jeff Anderson for recommending this one.
Profile Image for Pamela.
254 reviews18 followers
March 8, 2016
This is aimed at the late elementary age but as an adult I enjoyed reading this too. Well-researched with tantalizing nuggets that really helps you get the revolutionary war. I recommend this to anyone who thinks the war a boring collection of facts they had to memorize. Here is the story of the adventure of starting a nation.
Profile Image for Emily.
46 reviews
July 28, 2016
This is a must-read for lovers of American history and/or Hamilton. I laughed out loud several times and learned more "fun facts" about the Revolution than I have in 3 years of teaching it to 4th graders.
Profile Image for Elizabeth☮ .
1,572 reviews11 followers
July 26, 2015
A fun way to learn history. This book focuses on the American Revolution and I enjoyed reading it aloud with my daughter. I learned a lot that I didn't get while in school.
83 reviews
June 16, 2021
A very good book on the American revolution I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more on the subject. The book is explained really well.
Profile Image for Micki U.
32 reviews7 followers
January 1, 2023
Make the Revolutionary War approachable for your students with facts, humor, and direct quotes from primary sources!
Profile Image for Keith.
835 reviews61 followers
August 5, 2023
An engrossing little read. It consists of a chronological series of vignettes about famous and not famous people. I found it so fascinating that I read it in less than 24 hours.
Profile Image for Caroline.
44 reviews5 followers
August 20, 2020
Inspired by a good book sale and having recently watched Hamilton where King George was pretty close to being my favorite character, I got this book..."for my son". Ok, it's his now, I just had to read it first.
This book is a lightly cartoon-style illustrationed book retelling the history of the American Revolution in a light-hearted, kid friendly way. My kids already love the Youtube channel "Oversimplied" and it's versions of history. This fits right in with those videos, only even more kid friendly. This book out right says that it can't use the words some of the historical figures said because then they can't print the book. It does let a minor cuss word through because George Washington said it when he was really up set with another general and it was the only time any of his soldiers heard him swear. I guess we get to be his soldiers, too.
I am slightly disappointed a few of my favorite Revolutionary anecdotes are missing. Like the young woman who rode farther and longer than Paul Revere and William Dawes. Or how the revolution was won because of "a card game, 3 mistresses, and a retarded kid" I know, that's not nice. I'm just quoting. Also, said "retarded kid" was considered sacred by the Native Americans, which is a way awesome take on conditions a person has no control over AND how the Americans manipulated the situation to keep the Natives from fighting with the British and is why I'm disappointed he's not in the book. Or the Native American participation in any way actually. It's not in this book. He kinda covers the mistresses by talking about the women who travelled with the armies. And I liked his take that the British armies got slowed down not by having the women and their stuff needed to be carted everywhere, but that the extra stuff was the General's stuff he couldn't live without, even in the middle of nowhere in a war. But he didn't cover the card game that saved Washington's hide where a spy caught instructions about movements of the Americans, gave it to the British general who had a really good hand in the card game he was actively playing, general slides it into his pocket without looking, gets ambushed only to find after his embarrassing moment is over that he had details in his pocket which could have avoided the whole thing. That's not in this book, and I'm slightly miffed. But not enough to lower the rating on this book. It's really good otherwise. Engaging. Kids who claim they hate history will like it. Even his bibliography is entertaining.
PS, he doesn't actually say much about Hamilton but he does have one story about him that isn't in the play that is hilarious and I wish LMM could have included it in an already packed with awesomeness play.
Profile Image for Austin.
17 reviews
March 3, 2020
OK seriously, this was an EXTREMELY funny book. Like hilarious. Like comical. Like very entertaining. Like uproarious (I feel no need to add any more words from the thesaurus). Steve Sheinkin's title is true to it's word: the Whole Hilarious Story of the American Revolution.
This book takes a totally new approach to the American Revolution. Many people misunderstand the concept, where King George is always the bad guy. Yes, he had his faults, but he was just trying to expand his country. Still, I am on the side of the Americans.
King George's taxes were a little over the line. Or maybe over the line. Or maybe so over the line that he had to start a WHOLE ENTIRE WAR! I know he was trying to get some extra money, but he didn't have to put so many nonnegotiable rules on all the colonists. Who should have to pay for their tea? Or stamps? Totally absurd.
Another thing I really liked about this book is that it is expresses the characters very well. He does this with very well-illustrated pictures and his own self-constructed dialog. This expresses the thoughts of the characters, while also being historically accurate. He has probably done a lot of research, because his facts are all pretty accurate.
In summary, this was a very humorous book that portrays the American Revolution very well. The facts are accurate, and the dialogue between the historical figures is slightly influenced by modern language, but also includes some quotes. I would recommend this book to who like the following authors: Jorge ChamJorge Cham, Jimmy O. Yang, and John Kennedy Toole.
1 review
November 3, 2021
I went into this book thinking that it was going to be about King George as the title of the book is King George What Was His Problem. Only to then read it and be a little disappointed that there wasn’t too much in the book about him. On the other hand though there were a lot of stories about other events, and just random facts in general that give you a little more knowledge about the people and stories you're reading about. It also adds new characters that many have never heard of like a young man named Joseph Plumb Martin. Who helped in the Continental Army's escape from Long Island, NY and also wrote a book that gives us a really good look into the life of a revolutionary soldier. Here’s another fact about someone we do know about, during the revolution Benjamin Franklin went over to France to arrange a peace treaty there. But the British thought that Franklin was there to create an electrical machine capable of destroying Britain.

I also like this book because at the end it has a section of all the characters and what happened to them in the future. Like when the war ended and Franklin came home he was celebrated like a hero and he also convinced leaders to sign the constitution. The images in the book don’t feel out of place and help to visualize the person or place you're reading about. The maps help to know how something is going to be done or just to know where something is. It’s all around a great book even if it’s lacking in the amount of information about King George, and it also does a great job at showing off how both sides felt during the war. I give this book 4 stars
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133 reviews
January 6, 2023
I’ve read several Steve Sheinkin books now and I must say that I’ve enjoyed them all. I like to think of him as the David McCullough for youth. Both these authors can turn history into a novel type rendition that I find to be really engaging.

I listened to this one with my kiddos on the way back from Arizona. It was well done and engaging for all their ages (16, 14, 10).

Favorite things we talked about:

People on both sides of war do some pretty crumby things. It’s not always as simple as there is a good guy and a bad guy.

Every day people can do some amazing things as they use what talents and passions they have to help and lift those around them.

We talked a lot about how to reconcile our admiration and appreciation for the founding fathers and the fact that some of them were slave owners.

We discussed how a cause that we care about doesn’t unfold in all the ways that we might wish for or anticipate. The war took seven years to unfold, and then it took plenty of time after that to get the country up and running.

A final convo was that just because we are retreating does not mean failure. There are often dark days before victory comes.
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