Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Real Revolution: The Global Story of American Independence

The Real Revolution: The Global Story of American Independence

Marc Aronson
For ages 14 and up
Clarion, 2005   ISBN: 978-0618181797

Often when we think of the American Revolution our first image is of a group of men, dressed as Indians, dropping cases of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party certainly was one of the early landmark events in the struggle but why was it so important? Why did the English get so angry? Was it just because the Americans were defying them and their laws or was it also because tea represented something very important to the English?

To answer this question we have to take a step back and look at the American Revolution in a more global context. Typically we tend to compartmentalize history by time or place. In this unique book the author looks at history in a different way. He accepts that people and events were linked in the past just as they are in the present. Today we talk about how the peoples of the world are connected because of the Internet, high speed travel, and money. In the past it was trade, colonization, imperialism, and war that created ties between countries. England was doing her best to hold together an Empire that spread half the way across the globe and her attitude towards the people she held dominion was that of a benevolent yet firm parent who had to make all the important decisions for its children. India and America where England?s children and they had to comply by England?s rules. They also had to be willing to pay for the honor for being under England?s protection in goods and/ or taxes.

This is where the relationship between England and America had problems. England, in her arrogance, expected America to be grateful to the motherland and to be obedient. The English could not accept that the Americans had evolved and changed and that they now had ideas of their own. They were a singular breed of men and women, a group of people who would not do as they were told without question; they would not drink tea if it was forced on them. In turn the English could not accept that their Empire was not as solid as they thought it was. Holding onto America became a point of honor. Why, if they gave in to the Americans it would make their position everywhere else, including at home, tenuous.

Marc Aronson's thought provoking approach to the story of the American Revolution will give readers plenty to think about. He ties together stories from history that are about India, the Seven Years War, English politics, English personalities, and more. The result is a fascinating account of how the American Revolution was the culmination of all kinds of events, many of which happened far from American soil.