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The Court-Martial of Paul Revere: A Son of…

The Court-Martial of Paul Revere: A Son of Liberty and America's Forgotten…

by Michael M. Greenburg

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I've been aware of the ill-fated Massachusetts expedition to what is now Maine since I was a teenage military history nerd, and that Paul Revere was involved in the debacle, but this blow-by-blow examination of Revere's part in the failure is quite enlightening. Dealing just with Revere one is left with the picture of a man who, while competent in most things in his life, had no real talent as a military officer and lacked the self-insight to admit this reality to himself; though as an ambitious individual he appears well-aware that the real prestige would accrue to those who had borne military rank in the war. As it was Revere was fortunate to survive the debacle in terms of social status, as while he added to his reputation as a difficult man, higher placed officers (particularly Continental naval commander Dudley Saltonstall) received most of the blame. The author has a nice touch in terms of giving you the flavor of the times without trying too hard to read the minds of his subjects; a complaint I have about a lot of popular history. ( )
  Shrike58 | Sep 18, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Thought I had reviewed this months ago... sorry for the delay. My comments really mirror those of torrey23, below. This book added a great deal of detail to my knowledge of Paul Revere, even though I've read quite a bit about him. Thanks to the author for that. This is a fine example of bringing to public a new look at an otherwise overlooked aspect of the American Revolution. I'm sure there are others. I hope there are more of these types of well-researched and well written books available in the future. ( )
  smithwil | Apr 11, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am an avid student of the Revolutionary War. As such, I typically know at least a little bit about any event of the war. I was completely unaware of the Penobscot Expedition, and I was clueless about Paul Revere's military career. I knew him from the events leading up to, and through, Lexington and Concord. After that, he had no real connection to the war; or so I thought. This book is a great account of a little-known military expedition, and a great look at the unknown life of a famous American. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to learn more about America's founding.
This book is easy to read, engaging, and understandable. Greenburg does an excellent job of telling a story vividly, explaining the important facts of the story, and not getting bogged down in the minutiae that has been the downfall of many an, otherwise, excellent history. ( )
  torrey23 | Mar 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I guess if you grew up taking Massachusetts or Maine History classes in high school, you might have heard of the Penobscot Expedition, but otherwise, it’s probably nothing that hit your radar. In short, it was a disastrous foray of Americans from Massachusetts into the Penobscot Bay in Maine, the purpose of which was to forcibly remove a British garrison that had established itself on the Majabigwaduce peninsula and had begun building a fort.

The Massachusetts men comprised both an army and a navy and the officer in charge of the artillery was none other than American hero and Son of Liberty, Paul Revere. Despite outnumbering the Redcoats, the Expedition ended in an all-out rout of the Americans and the destruction of the entire Expeditionary Fleet. After the troops’ ignominious return to Boston, the blame game began and many fingers were pointing at Paul Revere, accusing him of disobeying orders, being generally lazy, and being a coward.

Author Michael M. Greenburg has created an altogether readable book on the entire affair beginning with Revere’s famous ride, its aftermath, his part in the Penobscot Expedition, and the court-martial that followed. The book is obviously well-researched but it doesn’t end up reading like a textbook. Instead, it is a gripping account of the doomed siege and its players and paints Revere in a different light than what you might have been brought up to believe.

I enjoyed Revere's story, but I also liked this book because it’s been a long time since I’ve read any history on the Revolutionary War. Greenburg does a really fine job in describing the general events that led to war and then placing the particulars of the Penobscot Expedition in context.

If I could change one thing about this book, I wish there was a good map of the area around Majabigwaduce. Greenburg includes some hand-drawn maps contemporary with the Expedition, but a larger, more readable map would have helped me better place the action he describes.

A well-done history book! Highly recommended! ( )
  spounds | Jan 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a great history book about Colonial America (with specific focus on Massachusetts), although I do think the title is a little misleading. The first half of the book was more a biography of Paul Revere leading up to the Penobscot Expedition, and the second half detailed the expedition and the aftermath; only the very end specifically concerned Revere's court martial. Regardless, it was wonderful getting insight into Revere's life and his military career. Greenburg writes well and provides connections between aspects of Revere's life that made him the man he was, and I particularly enjoyed learning about a confrontation during the Revolution that I had never heard of before.
The different players during the Penobscot Expedition were interesting in their own right, but they were introduced so sporadically that at times it became hard to keep everyone straight. I also found myself wanting more portraits of those men - probably to help keep them organized in my mind. But the personal battles between all those men was fascinating (and maddening). It reminded me of aspects of the Civil War concerning General McClellan, which I knew more about.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Colonial America, the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere, or military expeditions. ( )
  Movielizard | Jan 20, 2015 |
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