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."

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Lively, vigorous and just plain fun to read. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698118829
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 466,450
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.03 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.28 (d)

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.
Ronald Himler lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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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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    Posted July 21, 2010

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    Posted April 3, 2010

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