Esther Forbes James Truslow Adams

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James Truslow Adams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Revere has been one of the best known legendary heroes of our country, embedded in the customary errors of [Long-fellow's poem]. As Esther Forbes … says, the legend was to swallow the actual man. It has been her task [in Paul Revere and the World He Lived In] to bring the real man to life, and to paint his portrait against the background of his times.

The original material for the purpose has apparently not been excessive, but it has been sufficient, and the author has evidently gone through it with care and discrimination. This is her first non-fiction book, but shows, like the five novels dealing with New England conditions which preceded this historio-biography, an extremely competent knowledge of the history of her section…. Esther Forbes wears her learning lightly, and in her easy style transmits to her readers some of the pleasure, and even fun, she has had in her work….

There are two themes in this book. One is the life of Revere himself, and the other the daily life of New Englanders in the stormy pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, and post-Revolutionary periods which his life spanned….

Miss Forbes tells us much about the real Revere, without, however, the slightest "debunking," for none is necessary…. Altogether, we get a very satisfactory picture of the man, his character, career, and his family and social relations, with no overdone hero worship.

In her other theme, the life of his times, Miss Forbes has been equally successful. In the broader political and military aspects there is little that is new. A good deal of it is rather antiquarian than historical, but it is so well done that one does get a new sense of what those days were like and what their problems were for our ancestors. There are many interesting glimpses down historical...

(The entire section is 451 words.)