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The Mind of a Patriot: Patrick Henry and the…

The Mind of a Patriot: Patrick Henry and the World of Ideas

by Kevin J. Hayes

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While not an extremely lengthy book, The Mind of a Patriot is concise and most likely complete, in its assessment and supposition of Patrick Henry's reading proclivities. This book is less about his politics or solely interested in his reading habits; rather, it fuses the two interests. Kevin Hayes attempts to understand the man and identify which books of the time shaped and helped culminate Henry's philosophy, world view and shrewd political acumen.

Mr. Hayes makes no attempt to hide two major events in Henry's time to obscure concrete evidence of his bibliophilia. First, a fire destroyed his first library, and careless cataloging of Patrick Henry's estate is the second event which shrouds Henry's book collection in mystery. This book documents observations by those who knew Henry and his biographers, as well as his own references to popular law and classic literature in his speeches.

Patrick Henry allowed the personae of a "backwoods" bumpkin to veil his knowledge base; those who knew him assumed he became so successful by way of luck or pluck. It is clear he was more learned than he let on or others actually knew. ( )
1 vote HistReader | Mar 4, 2012 |
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This title presents an intellectual life of a major figure who has traditionally been seen as an anti-intellectual 'child of nature'. Individual chapters of this book examine Henry's education, his legal career, his use of books to improve his speaking style, his relationship to the antislavery movement, and much more.… (more)

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