The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

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Revolutionary Generation
Revolutionary Generation:
Harvard Men and the Consequnces of Independence

by Conrad Edick Wright
Published by University of Massachusetts Press
June 2005

Book Review from
Conrad Edick Wright's Revolutionary Generation: Harvard Men and the Consequences of Independence was disappointing. It was a difficult read because of what this reviewer found to be a lack of flow through the book. It was filled with abrupt transitions as it skipped around in the lives of the men who had studied at Harvard during the Revolutionary Period. The reader is taken from graduation to old age to middle age back to college and then to retirement over the span of a hundred pages and other discussions.

The book is filled with some interesting vignettes from the lives of the generation, although some meatier events tended to be rehashed several times. It was enlightening at times, but uneven on the whole. The material might have been better served to be broken down into a series of essays. Some graduates were profiled thoroughly, while others got only a mention or had only a singular event from their life covered.

It was clear early on that the author was not going to attempt to profile each graduate individually or even profile a select group. Then, it seemed as though career path might be used as a common thread, but that too became disjointed. The material did seem to be well-researched with the sparseness of information on some graduates attributable to the lack of primary sources or documentation. Unfortunately, the book seems to lack of a clear theme that hinders the reading experience.

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