Why Longfellow Lied by Jeff Lantos

Published by Charlesbridge

Why Longfellow Lied: The Truth About Paul Revere's Midnight Ride: Lantos,  Jeff: 9781580899338: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Listen, my children: many of us have grown up with at least some knowledge of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride”.  Jeff Lantos takes a deeper look, going through it piece by piece with a retelling of the actual events and how they compare with the poem.  Both the prologue and the final chapter give additional context to the poem and the reasons that Longfellow wrote it in the early days of the U.S. Civil War.  Includes a cast of characters (the people mentioned in the book); the complete text of the poem; many illustrations, photos, maps, and sidebars; 18 pages of source notes; a six-page bibliography; and an index.  160 pages; grades 5 and up.  

Pros:  A lively addition to any American history curriculum, which not only presents the facts around the events of April 18-19, 1775, but also puts Longfellow’s poem in the context of the U.S. Civil War, and his fervent hope to end slavery and preserve the Union.  The plentiful illustrations and maps, the brief but interesting sidebars, and the extensive source material make this an excellent nonfiction resource.

Cons:  The title seems a bit of a harsh judgement on Longfellow, although I guess “Why Longfellow Used Artistic License in Recounting Historical Events in a Heartfelt Attempt to Preserve the Union” isn’t quite as catchy.  

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