The long-awaited biography of the frontier Founding Father whose heroic actions and neglected writings inspired an entire generation, from Paine to Madison.
On May 10, 1775, in the storm-tossed hours after midnight, Ethan Allen, the Revolutionary firebrand, was poised for attack. With only two boatloads of his scraggly band of Vermont volunteers having made it across the wind-whipped waters of Lake Champlain, he was waiting for the rest of his Green Mountain boys to arrive. But with the protective darkness quickly fading, Allen determined that he could hold off no longer. While Ethan Allen, a canonical hero of the American Revolution, has always been defined by his daring, predawn attack on the British-controlled Fort Ticonderoga, Willard Sterne Randall, the author of Benedict Arnold, now challenges our conventional understanding of this largely unexamined Founding Father.
Widening the scope of his inquiry beyond the Revolutionary War, Randall traces Allen’s beginning back to his modest origins in Connecticut, where he was born in 1738. Largely self-educated, emerging from a relatively impoverished background, Allen demonstrated his deeply rebellious nature early on through his attraction to Deism, his dramatic defense of smallpox vaccinations, and his early support of separation of church and state.
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There were parts that were really good.
I would recommend this book. I wanted to listen to it because I am interest in Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen played a big part in his story, but that's about all I knew about him. It turned out that he had a very interesting life and was a big part of the revolution.
I found the section when Ethan Allen was taken prisoner by the British to be very hard to stop listening to. My wife even got caught up in it and she very rarely gets involved in my history reading. It was the best part of the book by far for me.
I had two problems with the book. (1) It could have just been my file, but I noticed that the booked skipped back a few seconds a lot so I had to hear the same sentence again and again until it fixed itself. (2) The story took a long time to get started for me. The author spent a lot of time going over the background of Vermont and his ancestors. It may be interesting to others, but it wasn't for me, but I am glad I stuck with the slow beginning.
Informative and Entertaining
- Mau Mau