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Paul Revere's Ride

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,324 Ratings  ·  194 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 1994)
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Joshua Sander I read this book this semester for one of my university classes. It's been a couple months since I finished it, so I can't remember everything in it…moreI read this book this semester for one of my university classes. It's been a couple months since I finished it, so I can't remember everything in it (in other words, forgive me if I miss something in my assessment), but I don't remember much in particular as being inappropriate. I believe at one point it mentions that 1/3 of young women in New England at the time were pregnant on their wedding day, but it's a passing remark, and it doesn't go into detail on what that means. The only other thing I would note is that it mentions the injuries sustained by some, including a British soldier who was mauled/hatcheted by American militiamen. In addition, there might be some mild swearing here and there in the quotes from people at the time, but (if there was any) there wasn't enough that I took notice of it. But on the merits of the book, I would say that it is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in the American Revolution or in Paul Revere. If you choose to read it to him, I think he'll enjoy it, and I know he'll learn a lot from it. I hope this helps!(less)

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Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Fischer describes how ordinary citizens rose up against the British army to begin the American Revolution. Paul Revere, a Boston silversmith, was one of many who served as messengers to warn the people of the royal army’s movement enabling the colonists to secure their weapons and organize resistance. General Thomas Gage, the British forces Commander in Chief and Royal Governor of Massachusetts, wanted to avoid conflict, but could not tolerate the defiance of his authority. He recognized many of ...more
Lora Innes
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Elizabeth K.
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
David Nichols
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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-controlled t ...more
Bliss Tew
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good, short overview of the lead up to the battles of Lexington and Concord, the battles themselves, and their significance in beginning the war of revolution against British rule. For a person like me whose knowledge of The Revolution is poor, this book serves as a decent primer.

As to Paul Revere's role in all of this: I had heard a lot of revisionist history lately about how Paul Revere never made his famous ride. But as this book makes clear, this bit of revisionism is only partially true,
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
David Hacket Fischer has sometimes been described as the "smart man's David McCullough", a term that I don't particularly care for. While Fischer writes in a more traditional academic style than McCullough, both are fantastic story tellers. Fischer tells the story of Paul Revere and the events of April 18-19, 1775 as part of larger chain of events that was unfolding across both North America and Europe. He paints men and women who have choice and who are acting as reasonable people, who are livi ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, 1776
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
Mark Singer
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From beginning to end, this is one of the better history books that I have ever read. Fischer explained in the introduction that most tales about Paul Revere and his famous ride tend to be either ones of idolatry or debunking. The truth is even stranger: Revere did make the ride, he was not alone, he was an important member of the colonial resistance, and he had made other important rides in the years leading up to the famous one of 1775. Fischer also gives a sympathetic portrait of the British ...more
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
David Hackett Fischer is one of my favorite authors, and he does not disappoint here.

Most people know about Paul Revere and the events surrounding the British attack on Lexington and Concord through the famous Longfellow poem. Fischer takes you into those events with Revere as the central figure.

With a riveting writing style Fischer does what very few can do...make a book on American history a real page turner...

An excellent look at a Revolutionary more famous later than at the time, but who
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
This is fine history, detailed and scholarly but lively and exciting. I know the Boston area a bit and the places are familiar even as the culture of those days is very different from our own. These folks are not like us; they are better.

Nicely illustrated and printed, this book is a worthy piece of Americana. Try a little patriotism, why doncha?
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellently written and researched book on Paul Revere.
Makes you rethink what we always thought we knew about the man and his fabled lone ride.
He was much more involved and an integral part of why the Americans were as prepared as they were for the British.
If you like History you will love this book.
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.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
I'd seriously disliked another history book by Fischer, so I started this one with a few reservations, and it didn't help that on the second page of the intro, the author started complaining about how "multiculturalism and political correctness" were negatively affecting American history scholarship, ending with this oh-so charming sentence:

"As this volume goes to press the only creature less fashionable in academe than the stereotypical 'dead white male,' is a dead white male on horseback."

I al
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, own, revolution
This is a great example of microhistory taking one event and analyzing the crap out of it.

Fischer is simply the best at this, not only because of his comfortable, conversational writing, but because of the way he offers extensive notes and appendices. He even offers a historiography along with the bibliography and index.

His Washington's Crossing holds up better as a dramatic retelling of a critical moment in American history, but the strength of this book is really in describing Boston and the R
Frank Theising
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book contains so much more than is implied by the title. It is a fairly comprehensive account of the events leading up to the outbreak of the American Revolution in Massachusetts. In addition to a biographical sketch of Paul Revere, details of the intricate intelligence and post network of which he was a central figure, and the story of the midnight ride, it covers everything from General Gage’s overall strategy to tactical actions of the Minutemen in action at Lexington and Concord. The bo ...more
Greg Bailey
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
In Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer peels away layers of legend that have collected around the famous Colonial Patriot Paul Revere and his late-night ride to warn the inhabitants of Lexington and Concord, Mass., that British troops were marching from Boston to seize their gunpowder and weapons. In doing so, Fischer manages not to reduce Revere but to enhance him, and the entire Patriot cause with him.

Following the method he used to such wonderful effect in his excellent Washington's Cr
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a recommendation from my uncle who loves history. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this read. I really appreciated the lack of bias opinions towards the New Englanders, and how they instead told the story as it was, with both sides having respectable and brash men. This was easy to read, unlike many historical books I've read, and covers the stories of more than just Revere, extending to the British General Gage and other Regular commanders, to the statistic ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Having read this on the tails of finishing Esther Forbes' biography of Revere, I was a little bored at first. i quickly became taken by the details Fischer includes about British General Gage, his (probably) spy wife, and the perspective of the British soldiers. This was less a biography to me and more Revolutionary War history with aspects of Revere's life events dispersed through the narrative, but I greatly enjoyed it. It is a short, easy read (about a third of the book is appendices and inde ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another outstanding monograph from Dr. Fischer. Shorter than Albion's Seed, by far, but you already know that. Fischer does well in transporting one to the time period in question, enriching one's understanding through detailed, yet sprightly descriptions, observations, and regalia throughout the narrative. This particular book is eye opening, since it expands one's understanding of Revere's mythical ride, while shedding some additional insight into the other side's cast of characters, interests ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago, but two things have stuck: 1) music sends a message and 2) the message one wants to deliver will be listened to if the messenger is a joiner. Before Lexington and Concord a British soldier was punished for selling his uniform. He was paraded through the streets to a fife tune that alerted the public of his crime.// Paul Revere was known throughout Boston because he joined up several different committees and was a tradesman. The other guy who rode (Dawes?) was a member ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
An outstanding work of historical scholarship. Every part of this book was extraordinarily well done, from the historiographical description of the approach of researching and presenting the account, to its reading as a novel, to the extensive citing of sources. It was enjoyable to read--not easy to do with historical nonfiction. An especially unique touch was a title of the topic of each facing pages.
Thomas Achord
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Fast-paced, gripping, riveting. Jam-packed with historical facts and yet funny. The lead up to the War for Independence was a country folk network of cooperation, resistance, excitement. The British themselves were more principled, judicious, and yet severe than is often told. This book is simply fantastic.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just having started reading a tall pile of Revolutionary War books, read Washington's Crossing, so had to follow it up with another book by Hackett Fischer. Very easy to follow and a fascinating read about Paul Revere and his colleagues and the battles at Lexington and Concord.
Warren Bradley
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book and one which every American should read. Thank you David Hackett Fischer.
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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
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“New England farmers did not think of war as a game, or a feudal ritual, or an instrument of state power, or a bloodsport for bored country gentlemen. They did not regard the pursuit of arms as a noble profession. In 1775, many men of Massachusetts had been to war. They knew its horrors from personal experience. With a few exceptions, they thought of fighting as a dirty business that had to be done from time to time if good men were to survive in a world of evil. The New England colonies were among the first states in the world to recognize the right of conscientous objection to military service, and among the few to respect that right even in moments of mortal peril. But most New Englanders were not pacifists themselves. Once committed to what they regarded as a just and necessary war, these sons of Puritans hardened their hearts and became the most implacable of foes. Their many enemies who lived by a warrior-ethic always underestimated them, as a long parade of Indian braves, French aristocrats, British Regulars, Southern planters, German fascists, Japanese militarists, Marxist ideologues, and Arab adventurers have invariably discovered to their heavy cost.” 4 likes
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