My American Revolution
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|Format:||Hardback, 259 pages|
|Published In: ||United States, 04 September 2012|
Americans tend to think of the Revolution as a Massachusetts-based event orchestrated by Virginians, but in fact the war took place mostly in the Middle Colonies--in New York and New Jersey and the parts of Pennsylvania that on a clear day you can almost see from the Empire State Building. In "My American Revolution," Robert Sullivan delves into this first Middle America, digging for a glorious, heroic part of the past in the urban, suburban, and sometimes even rural landscape of today. And there are great adventures along the way: Sullivan investigates the true history of the crossing of the Delaware, its down-home reenactment each year for the past half a century, and--toward the end of a personal odyssey that involves camping in New Jersey backyards, hiking through lost "mountains," and eventually some physical therapy--he evacuates illegally from Brooklyn to Manhattan by handmade boat. He recounts a Brooklyn historian's failed attempt to memorialize a colonial Maryland regiment; a tattoo artist's more successful use of a colonial submarine, which resulted in his 2007 arrest by the New York City police and the FBI; and the life of Philip Freneau, the first (and not great) poet of American independence, who died in a swamp in the snow. Last but not least, along New York harbor, Sullivan re-creates an ancient signal beacon.
Like an almanac, "My American Revolution "moves through the calendar of American independence, considering the weather and the tides, the harbor and the estuary and the yearly return of the stars as salient factors in the war for independence. In this fiercely individual and often hilarious journey to make our revolution his, he shows us how alive our own history is, right under our noses.
About the Author
Robert Sullivan is the author of "Rats," "The Meadowlands," "A Whale Hunt," and most recently, "The Thoreau You Don't Know." His writing has appeared in "The New Yorker," "The New York Times," "New York," "A Public Space" and "Vogue," where he is a contributing editor. He was born in Manhattan and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise for "My American Revolution"
"Imagine Herodotus on steroids, not rambling in a roughly straight line from Cyrus to Xerxes, but diverging onto untrodden paths that transmogrify into fluvial streams of consciousness. That sort of detour through history pretty much sums up the quixotic scenic route Robert Sullivan travels in his winsome book "My American Revolution." Following up on the captivating volumes about the New Jersey Meadowlands, rats and cross-country excursions, Sullivan has written a provocative Baedeker for a landscape of loss . . . We may never learn for certain what Sullivan himself is revolting against, but it's a good bet that convention and linearity are among his targets. He approaches them with gusto, not only chronicling reenactments of 'Washington Crossing the Delaware, ' but embarking on his own 33-mile march to Morristown, NJ . . . "My American Revolution" gives geography and meteorology overdue recognition as historical catalysts, pointing out, for example, that strategically placed 18th-century signal points metamorphosed into cold war missile sites and finally into 9/11 memorials, in a trajectory that suggests a continuum. A revolution, after all, is something that orbits, or comes full circle, which Sullivan eventually does in a world 'before straight lines ruled the day.' The reader more or less returns to the starting point, but with a brand-new perspective. What a trip!" --Sam Roberts, "The New York Times Book Review"
"A nostalgic, witty, and always informative topographic retrospective of the sites pertinent to the American Revolution takes Vogue contributing editor and journalist Sullivan to the action seen by the middle colonies especially--New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey . . . Sullivan's historic anecdotes form a loose-limbed, irreverent, surprising take on American history." --"Publishers Weekly"
"Engaging, humorous, and often surprising . . . Sullivan combines solid historical knowledge, sensitivity to the ph
|Publisher: ||Farrar Straus Giroux|
|Dimensions: ||23.0 x 16.0 x 2.0 centimeters (0.48 kg)|