What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution
Publication Date: May 27, 2008
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KING GEORGE NEVER DID UNDERSTAND AMERICANS
“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.
Steve Sheinkin is the award-winning author of several fascinating books on American history, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction, and received three starred reviews; and Bomb, a National Book Award finalist and recipient of five starred reviews. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
For middle-graders who find Joy Hakim’s 11-volume A History of US just too daunting, historian Sheinkin offers a more digestible version of our country’s story—opening with an account of the American Revolution from the despised but not-unreasonable Stamp Act to the dramatic race to Yorktown. Beneath breezy chapter subheads like “Revere and That Other Guy” and “Party at Fort Ti,” the author expertly combines individual stories with sweeping looks at the larger picture—tucking in extracts from letters, memorable anecdotes, pithy characterizations (“…John Adams, well known lawyer, Patriot, and grump”) and famous lines with a liberal hand. Except for a few cramped maps, Robinson’s illustrations are all line-drawn cartoon portraits that echo the narrative’s informality without adding much. Still, capped with a healthy “Whatever Happened To…” section, this animates the Revolution’s times, events and people in a way that standard textbooks don’t. A second volume on the Civil War, Two Miserable Presidents (ISBN: 978-1-59643-320-5-0), is also out. (index, adult-level source lists) (Nonfiction. 10-13)