Victory or Death!: Stories of the American Revolution

Victory or Death!: Stories of the American Revolution

by Doreen Rappaport, Joan Verniero, Greg Call

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What was it like for George Washington and his troops as they crossed the Delaware River in a ferocious snowstorm late in the evening of Christmas Day 1776? How did sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rally her father's militia to battle the British? What did Peter Brown do as cannon fire exploded all about him during the Battle of Bunker Hill? How did James


What was it like for George Washington and his troops as they crossed the Delaware River in a ferocious snowstorm late in the evening of Christmas Day 1776? How did sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rally her father's militia to battle the British? What did Peter Brown do as cannon fire exploded all about him during the Battle of Bunker Hill? How did James Armistead, a slave in Virginia, spy for Lafayette and the Americans during the Revolution and win his freedom?

These are only some of the people you will read about in Victory or Death! Stories of the American Revolution. Doreen Rappaport and Joan Verniero vividly transport readers to the years of the American Revolution through the actions of real people — some famous and others not yet known. These stories provide inspiring and riveting glimpses into the lives of people who took part in the fight for independence — on the battlefield and off.

Editorial Reviews

Authors Rappaport, Call and Verniero cover famous and not—so-famous people whose contributions to the American Revolution helped to ensure victory. Based in fact, each story tells how a lesser figure in American history acted to help the cause; for example, letters to his mother provide an account of how Peter Brown, a 20-year-old corporal, fought at Lexington and Concord and helped to build a fort on Breed's Hill. Francis Salvador, a Jewish nobleman with a wife, four children, a home in London, and a family plantation in South Carolina, traveled throughout the back country of the colonies, gathering signatures for the oath of loyalty in support of independence. Abigail Adams served as a "home-front reporter" when she and her four children left Boston and moved to their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts, while her husband, John, served as a delegate to the Continental Congress. Sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles to alert her father's troops that they were needed to stop the British from taking the Hudson River. Additional stories tell how others put their lives on the line as spies, soldiers, and couriers. 2003, HarperCollins, 120 pp., Ages young adult.
—Beth Bareham
Children's Literature
The exploits of eight heroes of the American Revolution, some famous, others unknown, are told in story form and, while the authors acknowledge fictionalizing some details, they have depended heavily upon historical research. The book is broken down in chapters and includes George Washington's crossing of the Delaware as well as the plea by Abigail Adams in one of her many letters to her husband, that as they write the new laws, they "Remember the Ladies" and "Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands." The story of Grace Growden Galloway, who refused to abandon her home and lose the inheritance she wished to leave to her daughter, is fascinating as is that of James Armistead, a slave who acted as a spy for the colonists. Lists of important happenings, detailed acknowledgments and sources, along with suggestions for further study are offered for young students. 2003, HarperCollins,
— Carolyn Mott Ford <%ISBN%>0060295155
Comprised of nine short stories told in the third person, this book illustrates the heroic actions of a diverse group of colonists during the American Revolution. All stories are based on historical records, such as diaries and letters, and are preceded and followed by brief historical notes about the context of the story. Equal attention is paid to depictions of battles and the effects of the war on society. Most readers will recognize the heroic protagonists, especially George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette; however, the stories of the lesser-known heroes are most compelling. This collection will appeal mainly to middle school history buffs who have a specific interest in the Revolutionary War. The writing style is concise, most stories can easily be read in one sitting, and the book will prove useful to history teachers. It should be pointed out that the text is sprinkled with words that are not commonly used today, most notably Negro and colored. The authors feel that they "evoke the immediacy and reality of life during those times." A list of important event provides a nice chronology of the American Revolution, and the acknowledgments notes the research the authors used for each story. There is also a list of recommended books and Web sites provided for readers who wish additional information. This book is recommended for school and public libraries. PLB
— Aimee Lurie <%ISBN%>0060295155
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Featuring a culturally diverse group of individuals, these eight stories provide vivid glimpses into the lives of Revolutionary War participants, highlighting their courage, perseverance, and willingness to make sacrifices. A well-researched and thoroughly engaging approach to history. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With a knack for seeing the story in history, Rappaport (We are the Many, 2002, etc.) and Verniero offer real-life accounts of heroes of the American Revolution. Lively tales portray the famous and the not-yet-celebrated: the Indians, women, people of African descent, patriots, loyalists, a slave who was a spy, and a woman who fought as a man. Arranged chronologically, the stories begin at the Battle of Bunker Hill and include Abigail Adams at home during the British occupation of Boston while John is in Philadelphia, and Washington crossing the Delaware to fight the Battle of Trenton. Less well-known is Francis Salvador, a Jewish nobleman who left the persecutions of Europe to work for freedom and independence in South Carolina. Or James Armistead, a slave who became a spy for Lafayette, and Deborah Samson, who fought at the end of the war as Robert Shurtliff. What is often a dry memorizing of facts in history class is given vigorous and original treatment here. Each story is set in its historical context, and readers will learn a good deal of history and gain a sense of the ebb and flow of the war. An important addition to the huge body of literature about the Revolution and a model of excellent historical writing. (introduction, timeline, maps, index, sources) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.25(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Doreen Rappaport is well known for her groundbreaking approach to multicultural history and literature for young readers. Her many books include Victory or Death: Stories of the American Revolution; We Are The Many: A Picture Book of American Indians; and Martin's Big Words, winner of the Jane Addams Book Award. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and a rural village in upstate New York.

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