Early Thunder

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Overview

In this engrossing novel set in Salem in 1774, a young boy must learn to make the decisions of a man. Daniel West is faced with questions of patriotic loyalty; follow his journey from loyalty to the king, to dangerous confrontations with British troops, to proud support for his new country.

In pre-revolutionary Salem, fourteen-year-old Daniel begins to re-examine his loyalty to the King as the conflict between Tories and patriots ...

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Overview

In this engrossing novel set in Salem in 1774, a young boy must learn to make the decisions of a man. Daniel West is faced with questions of patriotic loyalty; follow his journey from loyalty to the king, to dangerous confrontations with British troops, to proud support for his new country.

In pre-revolutionary Salem, fourteen-year-old Daniel begins to re-examine his loyalty to the King as the conflict between Tories and patriots increasingly divides the townspeople.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"The most alive story of the American Revolution that has appeared in many years." —The Horn Book
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606035699
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1987
  • Format: Library Binding

Meet the Author

"The question I am most often asked," Jean Fritz says, "is how do I find my ideas? The answer is: I don't. Ideas find me. A character in history will suddenly step right out of the past and demand a book. Generally people don't bother to speak to me unless there's a good chance that I'll take them on." Throughout almost four decades of writing about history, Jean Fritz has taken on plenty of people, starting with George Washington in The Cabin Faced West (1958). Since then, her refreshingly informal historical biographies for children have been widely acclaimed as "unconventional," "good-humored," "witty," "irrepressible," and "extraordinary."

In her role as biographer, Jean Fritz attempts to uncover the adventures and personalities behind each character she researches. "Once my character and I have reached an understanding," she explains, "then I begin the detective work—reading old books, old letters, old newspapers, and visiting the places where my subject lived. Often I turn up surprises and of course I pass these on." It is her penchant for making distant historical figures seem real that brings the characters to life and makes the biographies entertaining, informative, and filled with natural child appeal.

An original and lively thinker, as well as an inspiration to children and adults, Jean Fritz is undeniably a master of her craft. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her "substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature," and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    excellent historical fiction

    It is March in the year of 1774 in Salem, MA, and fourteen-year-old Daniel West, son of the town's doctor, is increasingly caught up in the sometimes violent pre-Revolutionary War conflict between Tories or loyalists to the King, and Whigs or patriots to the colonial cause. As a result of England's tax on tea, the rowdy Liberty Boys are engaging in wild acts. Daniel and his father, a widower, are definitely Tories. In the course of the book, which covers the next twelve months, Mr. West remarries and Daniel turns fifteen. His father wants to send him away to England for his further education and to escape the escalation of tensions in the colonies. However, Daniel is disappointed by the response of England, then by his father's actions, and finally by himself on a night when all of Salem seems to go wild. Eventually, he must come to terms with himself, re-examine his loyalty to the King, and make the difficult decisions of a man. What will his decision be?
    Jean Fritz is a wonderful author. Her short biographical books, especially those about our founding fathers and other American heroes, are excellent for young children. Based on an actual confrontation between British troops and the townspeople of Salem which predated by a couple of months the battles of Concord and Lexington, this book is an exciting tale of a young man's journey from loyalty to the King to proud support of his new country. It is young adult historical fiction at its best. There does not seem to be as much children's historical fiction from the Revolutionary War period as there is from the Civil War period. Personally, I think that Johnny Tremain is just a little bit better, but I definitely liked Early Thunder much more than My Brother Sam Is Dead. We did this as a family read aloud, and I had to edit out one word that might be thought of as cursing. Otherwise, we enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2004

    Excellent Book!

    This book is truly a classic in my eyes. I had no idea what I was reading when I picked it up, but I really thoroughly enjoyed it. The author of this book did a wonderful job in describing emotions that people feel everyday, and the quality of the writing was amazing. I would definitely reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about the American Revolution, and really, anyone who likes to read!!!

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