George vs. George: The Revolutionary War as Seen by Both Side - Why didn't I get history books like this?
I was surprised and pleased with this book. The American Revolutionary War is a convoluted subject when you are tackling one side. Books hundreds of pages long attempt to cover it and can fail. And that's only one side of the affair; giving both sides their due makes it infinity harder. A documentary, Rebels and Redcoats did this about the best I'd seen, before I read this book. Simplifying the information so that children can understand it is difficult and can often cause information to be...while strictly true, not entirely truthful, if that makes sense.
So I came to this book with some trepidation but wanted to read a book comparing two Georges and the conflict surrounding them. Rosalyn Schanzer, however, clearly labored to ensure accuracy without compromising understandability. The text is concise, easy to understand, and yet historically accurate. The way she used actual quotes from the people involved lends a lot to the text as does the illustrations that are obviously based on portraits and details. I was particularly impressed that she didn't use iconic images which are not historically accurate, such as the 'Boston Massacre' and Crossing the Delaware. Rather, she illustrated scenes that made sense and could have happened.
What really makes this book, however, are the comparisons between George Washington and King George III. Most Americans know the King as a tyrant and know of his insanity in his later years (which was brought on by porphyria, but I didn't know that until this book!). However, if you read other sources, they paint a different picture. Schanzer shows both sides of this complicated man as well as how similar he and Washington were on certain levels.
One more element is actually the physical make up of the book. The paper used has a canvas or weave pattern either in it or (what I think) printed on it. This gives the book an older feel and the illustrations look as if they are portraits or, what I thought at first, needlecraft. A very nice touch.
This is an excellent introductory book on the American Revolutionary War and also works for people familiar with some of the information. This is true particularly as it gives both the colonists and the English points of view. With the quotes from historical figures and excellent illustrations, this is a wonderful non-fiction book for all ages.