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BooklistNathan Hale is a secular saint of American patriotism. Facing a British gallows for spying during the Revolutionary War, he supposedly uttered these immortal words: "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Phelps has written an informative, interesting biography of Hale that effectively reveals the flesh-and-blood human behind the iconic image. Clearly an admirer of Hale, he has written nothing that detracts from Hale's reputation; instead, he has provided a nuanced portrait of a deeply religious, idealistic young man whose short life was dedicated to various forms of public service. Hale was raised in rural Connecticut, attended Yale at the age of 14, and graduated with honors. Upon graduation, he worked as a schoolteacher, and after Lexington and Concord, joined a Connecticut militia. He seemed to approach service to the Patriot cause as a passion, not merely a duty. Phelps, using Hale's own correspondence, clears up some of the murky details surrounding Hale'
— Jay Freeman