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My American Revolution

My American Revolution

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Americans tend to think of the Revolution as a Massachusetts-based event orchestrated by Virginians, but in fact the war took place mostly in the Middle Colonies—in New York and New Jersey and the parts of Pennsylvania that on a clear day you can almost see from the Empire State Building. In My American Revolution, Robert Sullivan delves into this first Middle America, digging for a glorious, heroic part of the past in the urban, suburban, and sometimes even rural landscape of today. And there are great adventures along the way: Sullivan investigates the true history of the crossing of the Delaware, its down-home reenactment each year for the past half a century, and—toward the end of a personal odyssey that involves camping in New Jersey backyards, hiking through lost “mountains,” and eventually some physical therapy—he evacuates illegally from Brooklyn to Manhattan by handmade boat. He recounts a Brooklyn historian’s failed attempt to memorialize a colonial Maryland regiment; a tattoo artist’s more successful use of a colonial submarine, which resulted in his 2007 arrest by the New York City police and the FBI; and the life of Philip Freneau, the first (and not great) poet of American independence, who died in a swamp in the snow. Last but not least, along New York harbor, Sullivan re-creates an ancient signal beacon.Like an almanac, My American Revolution moves through the calendar of American independence, considering the weather and the tides, the harbor and the estuary and the yearly return of the stars as salient factors in the war for independence. In this fiercely individual and often hilarious journey to make our revolution his, he shows us how alive our own history is, right under our noses.
Americans tend to think of the Revolution as a Massachusetts-based event orchestrated by Virginians, but in fact the war took place mostly in the Middle Colonies—in New York and New Jersey and the parts of Pennsylvania that on a clear day you can almost see from the Empire State Building. In My American Revolution, Robert Sullivan delves into this first Middle America, digging for a glorious, heroic part of the past in the urban, suburban, and sometimes even rural landscape of today. And there are great adventures along the way: Sullivan investigates the true history of the crossing of the Delaware, its down-home reenactment each year for the past half a century, and—toward the end of a personal odyssey that involves camping in New Jersey backyards, hiking through lost “mountains,” and eventually some physical therapy—he evacuates illegally from Brooklyn to Manhattan by handmade boat. He recounts a Brooklyn historian’s failed attempt to memorialize a colonial Maryland regiment; a tattoo artist’s more successful use of a colonial submarine, which resulted in his 2007 arrest by the New York City police and the FBI; and the life of Philip Freneau, the first (and not great) poet of American independence, who died in a swamp in the snow. Last but not least, along New York harbor, Sullivan re-creates an ancient signal beacon.Like an almanac, My American Revolution moves through the calendar of American independence, considering the weather and the tides, the harbor and the estuary and the yearly return of the stars as salient factors in the war for independence. In this fiercely individual and often hilarious journey to make our revolution his, he shows us how alive our own history is, right under our noses.

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Publish date: Sep 4, 2012
Added to Scribd: Aug 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux 18 West 18th Street, New York 10011Copyright © 2012 by Robert Sullivan All rights reserved Distributed in Canada by D&M Publishers, Inc.Printed in the United States of AmericaFirst edition, 2012Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint two quotations from
Hudson River Almanac
 , text courtesy of the New York StateDepartment of Environmental Conservation. All rights reserved.Te image of the signal on page 232 is from
Te Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution:or, Illustrations, by Pen and Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics,and raditions of the War for Independence
 , by Benson John Lossing (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859).Te image of the map on page 234 is reprinted by permission of theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataSullivan, Robert, 1963–My American Revolution / Robert Sullivan. — 1st ed.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references.ISBN 978-0-374-21745-7 (alk. paper) 1. New York (N.Y.)—History—Revolution, 1775–1783. 2. New York(State)—History—Revolution, 1775–1783. 3. New Jersey—History—Revolution, 1775–1783. I. itle.E230.5.N4S85 2012974.7'03—dc232011047037 Designed by Abby Kagan www.fsgbooks.com 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
 
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