From the Publisher
"The first half of this fully illustrated book deftly portrays Knox as a likable, optimistic youth, while the second half shows him as a determined 25-year-old officer leading the expedition that freed Boston in 1776. Quotes from period sources underscore the difficulties of the journey, while Silvey’s measured text ably tells the tale and puts events in their historical context."—Booklist, starred review
"The author portrays Henry as an enthusiastic, approachable man who loved books, artillery and food; who lost two fingers in an accident; who found possibilities where others found problems. Minor's realistic, stirring illustrations in acrylics on wood panels readily capture the gallant spirit of this man and his times. First-rate."—Kirkus, starred review
"What a superb, vivid, rendition of one of the great adventures in American history. A delight for all ages."—David McCullough, Author of John Adams and 1776.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This is a beautifully illustrated introduction to a lesser-known Revolutionary War figure. As a child, Knox worked in a bookstore where he read about engineering and military history and became fascinated by machinery. He went on to open his own bookstore and specialized in works on military science. After fleeing Boston due to the intensifying conflict with British soldiers, he soon joined the Continental Army. He was then named head of artillery, though the army's only artillery was 300 miles away at Fort Ticonderoga. Silvey emphasizes Knox's obstinacy in the face of challenges. It was this spirit, she argues, that spurred him to oversee transport of 12,000 pounds of artillery over frozen mountains and lakes to General Washington in Boston. The narrative ends with his success. Further details on the war and on Knox's life are provided in a time line. Silvey's account is admiring but unornamented, and history buffs and future engineers especially will find some inspiration here beyond the biography report. Minor brings the arduous journey to life through vivid paintings of the Colonial figures and unforgiving landscape. Many are presented in striking spreads. Richard M. Strum's biography (OTTN, 2007) is highly readable and more comprehensive, but Minor's engaging paintings of a memorable incident will make a nice supplement to Revolutionary War units.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
This admirably researched biography of little-known patriot Henry Knox introduces an unlikely hero who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Born in Boston in 1750, Henry learned about military engineering as a bookseller's assistant and volunteer in the militia. A staunch patriot who witnessed the Boston Massacre, Henry abandoned his successful bookshop when the British occupied Boston in 1775 and devised a daring plan to transport artillery from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to Boston after General Washington nominated him to head army artillery. Relying on diaries and letters, Silvey chronicles Henry's impressive three-month engineering feat moving the artillery across Lake Champlain on barges, down to Albany on ox-drawn sleds and over the icy Berkshire Mountains on logs to rescue besieged Boston in 1776. The author portrays Henry as an enthusiastic, approachable man who loved books, artillery and food; who lost two fingers in an accident; who found possibilities where others found problems. Minor's realistic, stirring illustrations in acrylics on wood panels readily capture the gallant spirit of this man and his times. First-rate. (bibliography, suggested further reading, artist's note, endpaper map) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)