Robert Sullivan - My American Revolution [96] Unabridged

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Robert Sullivan - My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78

96 kbps, read by Read by Mike Chamberlain, Unabridged

Overview
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 ColoniesΓÇöin 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, andΓÇötoward the end of a personal odyssey that involves camping in New Jersey backyards, hiking through lost ΓÇ£mountains,ΓÇ¥ and eventually some physical therapyΓÇöhe evacuates illegally from Brooklyn to Manhattan by handmade boat. He recounts a Brooklyn historianΓÇÖs failed attempt to memorialize a colonial Maryland regiment; a tattoo artistΓÇÖs 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.

Publishers Weekly
A nostalgic, witty, and always informative topographic retrospective of the sites pertinent to the American Revolution takes Vogue contributing editor and journalist Sullivan (The Thoreau You DonΓÇÖt Know) to the action seen by the middle colonies especiallyΓÇöNew York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Years of reflective walks and ΓÇ£site-inspired epiphaniesΓÇ¥ inform SullivanΓÇÖs research, as he traced WashingtonΓÇÖs army crossing the Delaware, marching to engage the British at the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and into the winter refuge at Morristown, in the Watchung Mountains. In the second part, Sullivan discourses by turns on the seasons of the revolution, not in any chronological fashion, e.g., spring 1789 marked the inauguration of the new president in a vastly changing downtown Manhattan, which Sullivan reached by his own personal inaugural barge from Elizabeth, N.J., to Wall Street; summer sounded the anniversary of the disastrous rout at the Battle of Brooklyn; autumn ushered a rueful time of remembrance for soldiers and prisoners; and winter brings to mind the appalling hard winter at Valley Forge endured by the army. As infatuated by later decadesΓÇÖ of monuments, statues, and artistΓÇÖs renderings of the revolutionary landscape as he is by the actual history, Sullivan delights in deep digressions into personal moments of discovery, such as viewing Larry RiversΓÇÖs controversial Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art or coming upon the lists of evolving early Dutch and British markets published by butcher turned street historian Thomas F. DeVoe. SullivanΓÇÖs historic anecdotes form a loose-limbed, irreverent, surprising take on American history, most fun in the footnotes.

ΓÇ£Imagine Herodotus on steroids, not rambling in a roughly straight line from Cyrus to Xerxes, but diverging onto untrodden paths that transmogrify into fluvial streams of consciousness. That sort of detour through history pretty much sums up the quixotic scenic route Robert Sullivan travels in his winsome book My American Revolution. Following up on the captivating volumes about the New Jersey Meadowlands, rats and cross-country excursions, Sullivan has written a provocative Baedeker for a landscape of loss . . . We may never learn for certain what Sullivan himself is revolting against, but itΓÇÖs a good bet that convention and linearity are among his targets. He approaches them with gusto, not only chronicling reenactments of ΓÇÿWashington Crossing the Delaware,ΓÇÖ but embarking on his own 33-mile march to Morristown, NJ . . . My American Revolution gives geography and meteorology overdue recognition as historical catalysts, pointing out, for example, that strategically placed 18th-century signal points metamorphosed into cold war missile sites and finally into 9/11 memorials, in a trajectory that suggests a continuum. A revolution, after all, is something that orbits, or comes full circle, which Sullivan eventually does in a world ΓÇÿbefore straight lines ruled the day.ΓÇÖ The reader more or less returns to the starting point, but with a brand-new perspective. What a trip!ΓÇ¥ ΓÇöSam Roberts, The New York Times Book Review		
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