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Paul Revere and the World He Lived In

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  241 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
This vivid account of the life and times of Paul Revere was first published in 1942 to great acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize. An elegant storyteller and expert historian, Esther Forbes paints a memorable portrait of American colonial history and of this most legendary of revolutionary heroes -- "not merely one man riding one horse on a certain lonely night of long ago, but a ...more
Paperback, 536 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1942)
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Mary Beth
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Listen, my children, and you shall hear...
I have many 5-star books on my shelf, and this one easily joins them. Paul Revere was a remarkable man of great integrity and many talents. I didn't know, for example, that he learned how to be a foundryman from a visiting Frenchman and cast many long-tolling Boston church bells, or that he figured out how to "roll" the copper sheeting used on the USS Constitution and on the Massachusetts State House dome. He was primarily a silversmith, and yes, he did
...more
Erin
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history nerds
Shelves: pulitzer
Forbes is an excellent writer on Revolutionary times. This, I believe her 1st non-fiction book about that era, is just as captivating as the YA novels she has written. The characters come alive in a way that few other history books can make happen.

I am especially taken with her explanations of Boston-then vs. Boston-now. I like hearing specific things about the city I lived in for 10 years like "the British set sail from the corner of Boylston and Charles Streets" which of course was then under
...more
Anne London
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was an incredibly interesting and well-documented historical view of Paul Revere and others from his era. Many primary sources were used and the author was honest if they weren't.

I must admit to finding it somewhat tedious only because I felt the need to further research people, phrases, items, traditions, etc...that I had not heard of before or didn't know much about.

Did you know that Paul Revere only made it as far as Lexington and never arrived in Concord? Did you know that he gave
...more
Michele
May 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those interested in history
Esther Forbes wrote the novel "Johnny Tremaine" which used to be practically required reading in New England for decades, and was turned into a truly crap movie by Disney in the early 60s. She also wrote this Pulitzer-prize-winning history of the colonial and Revolutionary era, focusing on Paul Revere as her main subject but reaching into the back stories and biographies of many other players. A delight to read, it will not fail to stir patriotism in even the most jaded hearts.
Raymond Hwang
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful perspective of telling the story of the American Revolution and Boston and a man who was bigger than a ride into history. Esther Forbes weaves the contributions of a silversmith on the founding of the U.S. and then how he continued to make contributions to his country and to Boston. She has researched and written a wonderful book.
Kathryn
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't for everyone. Written by the author of my much-loved Johnny Tremain in 1942 (and winning a Pulitzer the same year), the vintage writing may turn some people off. I, however, adored every word. I could see, hear, and smell Boston. I got to know many familiar names beyond just Paul Revere. This is a rare book that will stay in my personal library.
Michael
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Her fiction is much better. Informative, but too much "he might have" or "he could have" for my taste. I would prefer the speculations to remain in fiction. But a good view of Boston before, during, and after the Revolution. She paints Revere as a true hero, but more importantly a good and honest and hard-working man.
Lee
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
There seems to be no doubt as to the immense amount of research Ms Forbes assimilated for this endeavor but some of the minutiae could have been omitted. I would have enjoyed a few more descriptions of the dress, furniture, and modes of entertainments but this is after all the story of Paul Revere and not a history of the time. All in all, well worth the hours spent reading and learning.
Harvest A. Rich
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auto-bio-graphy
I rarely give 5 stars! Well written. Beautiful use of language.
Leah
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-sarah
I'm having a hard time getting my thoughts together to write a review for this rather large book. I thoroughly enjoyed this journey through the Revolutionary Period in America. The book starts off with a little bit about Paul Revere's father, Apollos, who was sent to America from France at the age of 13 in 1715 and ends with Revere's death in 1818.

I learned so much from this Pulitzer prize winning biography published in 1942. I highly recommend it. One of the highlights was when I was reading a
...more
Krista
Aug 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Esther Forbes is most known for her wonderful children's book, Johnny Tremain. This book is not so much about Paul Revere, but a commentary on what life was like in his day. It was published in 1942 and it shows. Many veiled, side-long-glance references to what we now call World War II that don't resonate without explanation in 2007. Sometimes Forbes assumes knowledge about Boston or the folk who peopled the Revolution that is not common (or at least not common now, in 2007.) So, in many ways, t ...more
Marcy
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was not only about Paul Revere, but about the people who lived in Boston in the 1700's and the times in which they lived. In death people said about Paul Revere, "Seldom has the tomb closed upon a life so honourable and useful." In life people said Paul was "steady, vigorous, sensible, persevering, cool in though, and ardent in action." Paul was the best silvermaker in America, he practiced dentistry for a few years, was one of the principal lieutenants of the Sons of Liberty, a Mason, ...more
Rick
“Paul Revere and the World He Lived In” by Esther Forbes was delightful and informative reading. I liked the book, especially the treatment of “…the World He Lived In.” This tale puts you in the heart of Boston feeling the citizens’ slow-growing rancor with Britain…flashed by taxation. Almost one-third of the book (150 pages) fly by before one gets to the 1770 Boston Massacre where British troops fired on civilians.

The Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Retribution for the Tea Party, Lexing
...more
Caroline
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Paul Revere and the World he Lived in is exactly what the title implies. It is not quite a biography, although it does follow Paul from birth to death. It is not quite a history, though it does describe the era along with its famous inhabitants, its lifestyles, its politics. In the 1940s, this book won a Pulitzer Prize and it is easy to see why. This is an accessible book, easy to read, easy to understand, full of well-drawn, interesting personages, set in a fascinating era. Coming as it did in ...more
Gary Grubb
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
To all of you who rated this book highly, I apologize for my disagreement. I suppose it just wasn't my type of read. I took the challenge because a friend of mine thought it was a great book. My problem is that I'm simply not interested in American Revolutionary history... nor Civil War history. It would have taken a good amount of superb writing to overcome my lack of interest. And, for me, this book was written in an extremely uninteresting fashion. It reminded me, each time I picked it up, of ...more
Dede
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
This was a long read for me, but I'm so glad that I stuck with it. I haven't known much about Paul Revere except what he was famous for, his midnight ride. What an amazing man! I am humbled by his amazing abilities which he used to serve his country, neighbors and family. I also marvel and am inspired by his integrity, generosity, resourcefulness and humility. I highly recommend this book.

The writing is more wordy than I'd want in parts that I didn't think added much. But overall, the author did
...more
Kate
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of THE best biographies around. Paul Revere comes across as a good citizen and a pretty mensch-y guy-- someone you're glad to know about. In addition, Ms. Forbes is extremely knowledgeable about 18th-century life, and treats you to Bostonian gossip of the era, and some fascinating details about food, work, clothing, etc. The chapter that tells about dentistry and false teeth is enough to make you glad you're alive... NOW.
But seriously, this book was so engrossing that it started me o
...more
Joanne
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this biography. It gives a colorful picture of life in Boston before and after the Boston Tea Party and the first battles of the American Revolution. From letters, newspaper articles, and writings of other historians, Forbes draws an interesting picture of Paul Revere, his family life, his role in the revolution, and his life afterward. It was fun to read about certain people, their portraits, and engravings that depicted the events, and then look them up on the internet.
Renee
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book won the Pulitzer prize in 1942.

I found out there was SO MUCH more to Paul Revere than just the midnight ride - he was the leader of many groups, had 16 children and lived to be 83 years old.

I found the stories of his family and culture of the times so interesting, but some of the battle descriptions were tedious.
Josette
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-historical
It took me months to get through this book, but by this time, Paul Revere was starting to feel like an old friend and I was disappointed to finish (he died!) I knew almost nothing about this man save his immortal, historic ride, but Forbes' carefully researched book brought him to life. A generous, hard-working, loyal man's man, yet still a family man, Revere is a patriot we can be proud of.
Jessica
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Wow that took a long time to read!! The reason I gave this book 3 stars is because of it's difficulty to read at times. It didn't flow very well and I found myself re-reading sentences CONSTANTLY. BUT, the book was VERY informative and really represented Paul Revere as a kind and generous man. He really helped out people and lived a good life. Definitley an informative read.
Stephen
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it
I often commented that Paul Revere was one of those characters who seemed to have done everything but who I knew little about so for Christmas a couple of years ago my girlfriends mother bought me this book.

It goes beyond just telling the life story of Paul Revere and getrs into what Boston was like at the time.
Kate
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books-i-read
Although long, this was such a good read. I learned a ton about American history, Paul Revere and the American Revolution. She also does a great job making it more than history so that you get an idea of what John Hancock and Revere were really like as people and a great idea of the city of Boston during his time. Loved it!
Zaiga
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A well-rounded look at a man who most of us just know as the guy who rode a horse at night. I enjoyed learning about his family background, as well as the culture of 18th century Massachusetts. I know it's cheesy, but now when I go to look at his portrait at the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), I feel like I'm looking at a friend. I always feel that way after reading a good biography. :-)
Alice
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent, Esther Forbes was a gifted writer on historical themes, whether fiction or non-fiction. Her book withstands the test of time. I believe she won the National Book Award for this book in 1939 o4 1940
Michelle
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have no idea why I chose this, but I'm so glad I did! It covers Revere's entire 80-yr life, before and after his famous ride. Makes him a man and well-researched instead of just fictional speculation.
Judy
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
For history buffs, it is a good read! Gives a perspective that I was never taught (or absorbed) in my school days. Also lived the genealogy info @ the end of the book.
Adam Bulkeley
Dec 01, 2011 rated it liked it
As much a biography of the city of Boston during the revolution as it was a biography of Revere. Very good read.
Wisteria Leigh
American history,non-fiction,Pulitzer Prize,Paul Revere,statesman,silversmith,revolutionary hero,Massachussetts,Boston,biography
Al
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tre
Shelves: general-history
Very good book with no perceivable revisionist agenda. Lots of detail on colonial America and a very good biography of Paul Revere.
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Esther Forbes was born in Westboro, Massachusetts in 1891, as the youngest of five children. Her family roots can be traced back to 1600s America; one of her great-uncles was the great historical figure and leader of the Sons of Liberty, Sam Adams. Her father was a probate judge in Worcester and her mother, a writer of New England reference books. Both her parents were historical enthusiasts.

Even
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