Rise to Rebellion

Written by Jeff Shaara
Review by Mark F. Johnson

This is a typical Shaara masterpiece, and that is high praise indeed. Once again this talented writer transports the reader into the minds and lives of those who made history. This first of a two-part series opens with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770 and concludes in New York City on July 9, 1776. In between the reader becomes an eyewitness to the events that led the founding fathers to the gut wrenching decision to break from the English homeland. The author is very evenhanded in his judgment, giving the reader a chance to contemplate the issues and feel the anguish that accompanied the colonists’ every step away from the crown.

Shaara has the uncanny ability to breathe life into heretofore flat historical personages. No longer is John Adams a portrait on a wall. Sam Adams becomes an acquaintance, rather than a figure on a beer bottle. Ben Franklin is now a respected elder, like a grandfather or a favorite professor. General Gage is no longer a tyrant, as he is so often portrayed in more shallow versions of history. The combination of superb historical research and Shaara’s unparalleled storytelling makes this, like all of his novels, a treasure to be savored. Even though I know how the story ends, I can’t wait for the concluding novel.