Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Women Heroes of the American Revolution

Many people can name George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere as important figures in the American Revolution. But who were Betty Zane, Phillis Wheatley, Lydia Darragh, and Esther Reed? What role did these women play in the American Revolution, and why do we not immediately know who they are? Some had roles as spies, nurses, fundraisers, and soldiers. They played important roles in the war, yet their names are not ones we immediately connect with the American Revolution. Here are the stories of twenty women who had important roles in the outcome of the war, and whose names deserve to be remembered with George Washington and Paul Revere.

I had been looking forward to reading this book, and was pleased when I saw it on display at my local library. July 4th had just passed, and it seemed a good time to read about women heroes of the American Revolution. I found it engaging and was pleased to read about a couple women I had heard about previously, but was even more surprised by how many of these women I had never heard of. I enjoyed learning about these women and how important they were to the success of the American Revolution.

The book is set up by sections, so if you are interested in women who filled certain roles such as spy or soldier you can easily find their stories. Each woman has about 5-10 pages about them with a helpful section at the end of their story where you can learn more about them. I thought this was an excellent way to introduce each woman and her contribution without overwhelming the reader. There are quite a few women I am looking forward to learning more about.

I think a few of my favourite stories were: Esther Reed and Sarah Franklin Bache who raised funds for the soldiers and argued with George Washington about the best way to help the soldiers with the money. Lydia Darragh who spied on British soldiers and reported the information to the Americans. Dicey Langston who was also a spy, but would help whoever was in need. She generally provided information to the Americans, but when hearing some Americans were planning on stealing a loyalist's horse (terrible because people depended so much on their horses) she informed the loyalist so they could save their horse. And Deborah Sampson Gannett signed up as a soldier while pretending to be a man. These are just four stories. I found all of them to be interesting and was intrigued to see how many different ways women contributed to the war effort.

I was very pleased with this book. It was a quick read, but very informative. A must read if you are interested in stories about women in history or the American Revolution. I highly recommend reading this book.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Apache Wars

The Apache Wars is the story of the longest war in American history. It all starts with the kidnapping of Mickey Free. Both Apaches and white settlers blamed him for starting the conflict. Mickey Free moved in both worlds but was never fully trusted by either side. As the details of the two decade war are presented, we learn about many Apache leaders such as: Geronimo, Cochise, Victorio, and Mangas Coloradas and how they tried to make a stand against a never ending wave of soldiers and settlers invading their land. 

As soon as I heard about this book it went on my "to read list". Hutton covers an interesting period in American history, which I actually knew very little about. I had heard of Geronimo and Kit Carson, but did not know very much about them before I read this book.  It was fascinating to learn so much about this period in history as well as famous historical figures.

I liked the background information and how it was presented. It really helped me understand who some of these great leaders were, and helped me comprehend their actions a little better. I found it to be the right amount of detail to help put everything in context, without bogging down the flow of events.

I also appreciated how Hutton seemed to give an honest portrayal of the Apaches, Americans, and Mexicans. None were painted as all good or bad. Each action was shown for what it was, and when known, the motivation or words that were said are given to help us understand why this war lasted so long. And why each side was behaving the way they were.

I thought choosing to tell the history of this war while focusing on the life of the kidnapped boy that was the final push into such a long war was an excellent way to introduce people to this period in history. It showed how events affected people on a personal level and really helped the reader understand the tragedies of this war.

This was an engaging history and I came away from this book with a much better understanding of this part of history. I highly recommend reading this book.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review."**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not read as soon or heard about otherwise.