Patrick Henry Analysis

Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Patrick Henry: Firebrand of the Revolution, Nardi Reeder Campion chronicles Henry’s life, from his childhood to his death in 1799. The author arranges her material in nineteen chapters, each centered upon a single episode. Several chapters focus exclusively on personal events, including Henry’s childhood, his education, and his two courtships and marriages. The rest of the book is devoted to celebrated political occurrences; some of these events were important to Henry’s career, while in others his participation was marginal. Liberally interspersed throughout the text are black-and-white ink drawings depicting principal events. A bibliography and index complete the book.

Family connections, crucial to success in Virginia, allowed the Henrys to attain a moderate level of prominence. Patrick Henry was one of several children born into a large planter family that dedicated much time to education and learning. Lacking significant formal schooling, young Henry nevertheless mined his father’s extensive library.

This continuous self-education aside, Henry’s initial prospects were unpromising. After a year as an apprentice shopkeeper, fifteen-year-old Patrick and his older brother William were given a store by their father. Because the Henry brothers over-extended credit to patrons, the venture swiftly failed. At eighteen, Henry married Sarah Shelton. Supported by her parents, the pair lived on three hundred acres of land worked...

(The entire section is 463 words.)