I have never fancied myself a reviewer of books. I read a lot and either I like a book or not (if not, I will put it aside unfinished). In most cases, I may not be able to say why I did or didn’t like a book, I just liked it or I didn’t; that’s all there was to it. However, after reading Rush Limbaugh’s latest, “Rush Revere and the First Patriots, I felt compelled to offer a reasoned explanation for crowing about it to my friends and giving this book two hearty thumbs up.
Rush Revere and the First Patriots is the second book written by Limbaugh in the genre of reading for young adults and children, although adults will find the book fascinating as well. (I have not read his first book as yet, but I have just ordered it for my Kindle.)
I read a lot of history. The books most enjoyed are those that get “up close and personal” to the subject(s). Recitations of dates and events (all necessary) are dry when they skirt around the personalities involved with the dates and events. Too often, we are left with paper thin caricatures of the people we’re interested in learning something about.
There is an axiom in the world of writers and editors that says, Show, don’t tell. Again, too often, we are left with stale, inadequate descriptions of how characters look, we read about what they do, but we read on without ever knowing what makes that character tick. Of course, unless a biographer has documentation recording the actual words of a historical figure, he or she cannot put words in that person’s mouth, and that’s a shame – it makes the figure more real.
Limbaugh, using easy to follow language appropriate for his target audience – young readers, takes the reader into the minds of such erstwhile patriots as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and cousin John, George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin. There is even an interview with His Majesty King George III, this all made possible by Rush Revere’s time traveling horse Liberty. It sounds strange but this is a very compelling aspect of the story. The reader turns the pages wondering where Liberty and Rush Revere (and whichever students go along) are headed next, and what interesting historical figures they will encounter.
The author takes pains to put a personality on his characters. Through the use of dialogue he offers his audience insight into what the Founding Fathers were up against in the initial struggle in dealing with King George. Rush, Liberty and two students time travel to Windsor Castle to have a chat with the king. After some trouble getting around the guards, they are granted an audience with His Majesty.
Rush Revere says to the king: “We are here to tell you that the people are not happy in America.”
An unconcerned George replies, “And what is that to me?”
Revere, taken aback by the king’s seeming indifference, explains that the colonists’ unhappiness is due to all of the taxes levied against them, particularly the Stamp Act. Revere says that, “They left this country looking for freedom and the chance to really succeed with their lives.” The king replies in a way that illustrates that he cares little for the dreams of the colonists, and tells Revere that if he thinks this information is important for him to hear, then “You are a foolish man.” Rush Revere persists in his unwelcome message until King George lays it on the line: “The New World is our land and the people are ours. They must share their wealth with the homeland, they must pay taxes to England, and they must obey the king.”
Anyone reading this response will know what the colonists were up against – a tyrant who had few, if any, of their interests at heart. This is a picture perfect insight into the psyche of the King of England and the American colonies. This is showing, not just telling. This is peeling away paper thin veneer and allowing the reader to see and realize the depth of personality that defined the real King George. We know who he was now, we have read his words, we have felt his scorn, and we know the kind of man with whom the colonists were dealing. It is easier now to understand the anger and frustration of the first patriots, the source of their desire for freedom, and why they were compelled to fight the Revolutionary War and escape the yoke of the English king.
There are many examples Limbaugh provides for us to gain greater appreciation and insight into the minds and motivations of the Founding Fathers. This is a great read for children and young adults, and even for the older folks who enjoy a good story, well told, and have a hankering to gain insight into the history of their country. There should be more history books like this one.