Why Not, Lafayette?

Overview

A young Frenchman of nineteen traveling across the sea to help a struggling nation fight for its independence? Why not? To Lafayette, anything was possible. A man who threw off the boundaries imposed on him to stand up for what he believed, the Marquis de Lafayette grew from an idealistic young man searching for honor and glory, into an idealistic statesman with rock-solid principles of liberty. Here, Jean Fritz brings to life the exciting story of the brave and appealing man ...
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Overview

A young Frenchman of nineteen traveling across the sea to help a struggling nation fight for its independence? Why not? To Lafayette, anything was possible. A man who threw off the boundaries imposed on him to stand up for what he believed, the Marquis de Lafayette grew from an idealistic young man searching for honor and glory, into an idealistic statesman with rock-solid principles of liberty. Here, Jean Fritz brings to life the exciting story of the brave and appealing man known as "The Hero of the New World."

Traces the life of the French nobleman who fought for democracy in revolutions in both the United States and France.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A starred review in PW said, "With her typically light touch, Fritz presents a biography of the aristocratic young Frenchman who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Lively, vigorous and just plain fun to read." Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Lafayette is a name associated with the American Revolution and for many that may be all they know. Jean Fritz in her inimitable style brings Lafayette to life and also manages to convey plenty of information about the American Revolution, life in this new country, and life in France. The young Marquis wanted desperately to come to America and at the age of nineteen his wish came true. He became a great friend of George Washington, and he worked hard to convince France to support the Revolutionaries. Later he tried to instill his same principles about liberty at home in France. Unfortunately, he was not successful, and he and his family suffered greatly during his five-year imprisonment. Not only was Lafayette brave, he passionately believed in equality. He was also a man of considerable stamina. During Lafayette's later years, President Monroe invited him to be a guest of the United States, and Lafayette was lionized on his five thousand-mile tour. At his death, Lafayette who so loved his adopted country had soil from America sprinkled on his coffin. Black-and-white illustrations highlight events in each chapter.
Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In an informal yet informative narrative, Fritz presents the life of the French nobleman who came to espouse the democratic cause and worked toward achieving it. He not only fought successfully in the American Revolution, and proved himself as a leader of men, but also participated in advancing freedom in his own country and freed slaves in French territories. The author recounts the Marquis's full and honorable life, which spanned many important events in history including the French Revolution and the rise and fall of Napoleon. There is a lot of history contained in a little over 70 pages but despite its brevity, the book provides a great deal of information. A background knowledge of the time is useful to understanding some of the events fully. A well-executed, full-page pencil drawing appears in every chapter and serves to enliven the presentation. This competently written and documented title will not disappoint Fritz's many fans.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From Fritz (You Want Women To Vote, Lizzie Stanton?, 1995, etc.), another winning portrait of a colorful historical figure with whom most readers will have but a nodding acquaintance. Rich, bored, 19, and thirsty for glory, Lafayette impulsively bought a ship in 1777 and sailed away to join the American colonists in their fight against Britain. An ardent admirer of George Washington and of republican ideas—"It was as if he had not only been plunged into the very stuff of liberty, but had been swished around in it until he was soaked through"—Lafayette became a war hero, returned to France for a long career as a political firebrand, then, in his late 60s, came back to this country for a 5,000-mile-long triumphal tour. Fritz adds telling—and usually entertaining—details so effectively that readers will be stirred even at this distance by Lafayette's accomplishments, personal gifts as a leader and mediator, and lifelong idealism. (b&w illustrations, not seen, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399234118
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Acclaimed biographer, Jean Fritz, was born in China where she lived until the age of thirteen. She tells her story in Homesick, My Own Story, a Newbery Honor Book.
Ms Fritz is the author of forty-five books for children and young people. Many center on historical American figures, gaining her a reputation as the premier author of biographies for children and young people.
Among the prestigious awards Ms. Fritz has garnered are: a medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, an American Book Award, a Christopher Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Non-Fiction Award, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and many ALA Notable Books of the Year, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice Awards.

Acclaimed biographer, Jean Fritz, was born in China where she lived until the age of thirteen. She tells her story in Homesick, My Own Story, a Newbery Honor Book.
     Ms Fritz is the author of forty-five books for children and young people. Many center on historical American figures, gaining her a reputation as the premier author of biographies for children and young people.
     Among the prestigious awards Ms. Fritz has garnered are: a medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, an American Book Award, a Christopher Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Non-Fiction Award, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and many ALA Notable Books of the Year, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice Awards. 
 

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 22, 2012

    Do you remember who Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motie

    Do you remember who Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier was? He is very famous in American history, but you probably know him better as the Marquis de Lafayette, or, as he preferred to be called, just Lafayette, who was born Sept. 6, 1757. His father died before he was two years old and his mother and grandfather died when he was twelve, leaving him to inherit their fortune under the guardianship of his great-grandfather. At fourteen years old, he joined the French Military and, at age sixteen, married Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, whose family was related to King Louis XVI. At nineteen, against the wishes of his great-grandfather, his father-in-law, and the King, he purchased a ship and persuaded several French officers to accompany him to fight in the American Revolution.
    And, the rest, as they say, is history. Colonial General George Washington appointed Lafayette a major general. Wounded at Brandywine, the young Frenchman endured the freezing winter at Valley Forge, and then saw action at Barren Hill and Rhode Island. Returning to France for as time, he, along with Ben Franklin, was able to secure troops and supplies from the French government for the American cause which helped to force Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown. By then Lafayette was again in America and present for the surrender. Back in France, Lafayette upheld the ideals of liberty all through the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, and the rule of Napoleon, though he spent five years in an Austrian prison. Following his release, in 1824, President James Monroe invited Lafayette to the United States as the "nation's guest,” and during the trip, he visited all twenty-four states.
    Jean Fritz is a wonderful author. We have read and liked many of her biographies for children, such as George Washington's Breakfast; And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?; Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?; Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?; Just A Few Words, Mr. Lincoln; The Double Life of Pocahontas; and Harriet Beecher Stow and the Beecher Preachers. We have also enjoyed a few of her young people’s novels, such as Early Thunder; The Cabin Faced West; and Brady. Some parents might want to know that George Washington is quoted as having called the hapless General Charles Lee a “d*** poltroon.” It is said that Lafayette had never heard Washington swear before, “but obviously he could.” Lafayette was truly a remarkable character in history. It is no wonder that General John J. Pershing is reported to have said when he and his armies landed in France during World War I to help the French against the attacks of Kaiser Bill’s Germany and its allies, “Lafayette, we are here.”

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