In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men risked their lives and livelihood to defy King George III and sign the Declaration of Independence—yet how many of them do we actually remember? Signing Their Lives Away introduces readers to the eclectic group of statesmen, soldiers, slaveholders, and scoundrels who signed this historic document—and the many strange fates that awaited them. Some prospered and rose to the highest levels of United States government, while others had their homes and farms seized by British soldiers. Signer George Wythe was poisoned by his nephew; Button Gwinnett was killed in a duel; Robert Morris went to prison; Thomas Lynch was lost at sea; and of course Sam Adams achieved fame as a patriot/brewer. Complete with portraits of the signers as well as a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, Signing Their Lives Away provides an entertaining and enlightening narrative for history buffs of all ages.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
The framers of the constitution were really no different than politicians of today. Except they truly had a desire to give man as much of the freedom God and Nature intended yet still keep an organized society. No one is perfect, it takes greedy men to fight for the freedom for all but honest men to not take the power.read more
I enjoyed this book as a quick way to reference the Declaration of Independence (both the inside cover, poster sized when spread out and an appendix have the full Declaration) and to learn a little bit about each signer. The tone is not very scholarly, more like learning about the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the movie 1776, than from an academic tome. It is a good book to pick up and put down ( I call them read-along books), and just good to have on hand. I took it to a July 4th party (for adults) and each person present chose to read about a signer of their choice and share what they learned that they hadn't known before. We all had fun with it. And yes, Benjamin Franklin (and other signers) were known to sometimes use salty language.read more
A great little book. Although it would be easy to criticize this book for its lack of attention to detail and its ignoring of many important aspects of the individuals lives, but who cares? It was not intended as a monograph or an indepth study. It is what it is...a fun look at a diverse group of very interesting individuals. I plan on including some of the details of this book into my teaching (i.e. the origin of the word gerrymandering and/or how Samual Adams was a most unsuccessful businessman).read more
This is a good, albeit brief, overview of the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence. The authors try to use a few colloquial phrases, presumably to resonate with today's culture, which, in my opinion, detracts from the book. I would reccommend this book for anyone desiring a better understanding of the people who risked their lives by signing the document that declared our freedom from oppression.read more
This kind of irreverent, bouncy narrative is the kind of thing that gets people interested in history. The authors do a service by illuminating the historically obscure lives of most of the Declaration's signers, and by doing so in such an emminently readable fashion. It makes these men into human beings rather than wig-wearing monuments, and debunks some cherished myths about them. As each biographical sketch covers only a few pages, this is suitable for toilet or bedside reading. I would recommend this, particularly to those interested in early American history. It is suitable for upper elementary school and up (if you're willing to tolerate the odd swear word).read more
Well-researched book on the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The authors imbued it with just the right mix of respect, humor and little-known tidbits to make this lofty, revered group seem human. Really enjoyed this read.read more
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