(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Lafayette holds a special place in U.S. history. His participation in the Revolutionary War has been treated as something U.S. school children must know about, but other aspects of his life may be somewhat murky for many Americans. In Why Not, Lafayette?, Fritz tells about Lafayette's lifelong struggle to secure civil rights for all people and to make laws that would protect the common people from the tyranny of kings and nobility, even though he himself was a nobleman born into wealth and privilege. According to Fritz, the defining period of Lafayette's life was his service in the United States, during which he absorbed the ideas of liberty American revolutionaries were fighting for. His triumphal return to the United States near the end of his life shows how Americans felt about him: It took him two years and over five thousand miles of traveling to satisfy all the Americans who wanted to see him and to thank him. Even today he is one of America's most beloved historical figures, a man of courage who helped America when it was in dire need of help and who risked his life time and again for the liberty of others.

(The entire section is 199 words.)