I first read this book when I was in fifth grade and enjoyed it more when I reread it decades later. I still consider it one of the best books of historical fiction ever written. Johnny Tremain is an apprentice to a silversmith in Boston as the ferments of revolution are beginning to boil. American leaders are beginning to believe that the only course of action open to them is an open rebellion against the British crown. Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere are three of the Boston-area leaders that Johnny encounters. When is hand is maimed in an accident, Johnny is forced out of his apprenticeship and forced to live on the streets. Fortunately, after a spot of bad luck he becomes associated with kindly people who let him work with a horse and then use it to deliver newspapers. These people are strongly sympathetic to the revolution and Johnny is caught up in it. The most striking aspect of the book is the way the British troops are portrayed. They are described as being kindly, doing what they can to avoid conflict with the population. When Johnny plays a trick on a British officer that lands him in a mud puddle, the officer laughs and does not retaliate. Major Pitcairn is characterized as being quite popular among the people. Of course, history runs its inevitable course and the initial clashes occur at Lexington and Concord, igniting an open war. The patriots are also sometimes characterized as nothing but thugs, ganging up on Loyalists in the guise of being patriotic. This is a book that should be read by every American youth and I can report that all of the schools I know of require it.
I read this book as a 10 year old growing up in Australia, and who knew nothing of American history. It was in a nut-shell, absolutely wonderful, and was one of the many books that really made an imapct in my formative years. I have a copy now, and will introduce my daughter to it at a similar age. If you have children who find the history of their nation dull, this book will change all of that.
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
This story of a tragically injured young silversmith who ends up hip-deep in the American Revolution is inspiring, exciting, and sad. Winner of the prestigious Newbery Award in 1944, Esther Forbes's story has lasted these 50-plus years by including adventure, loss, courage, and history in a wonderfully written, very dramatic package. It's probably not great for little guys but mature 11-year-olds or older will find it a great adventure.