The Harkinses begin their book with "The Legend of Betsy Ross," the story most associated with her, when George Washington asks her to make a new flag for the young country. They then go on to detail what is and is not actually known about Ross's life and her involvement in the American Revolution. Careful to qualify many statements, using words and phrases such as "supposedly," "may have," and "probably," they remind readers that many details are conjecture based on research. The final chapter is a well-constructed analysis of how the legend was born and entered the historical consciousness, and the evidence that exists to supports Ross's role in helping to create the flag. Tracy presents a concise portrait of New England life in the mid to late 1700s. Hale was born in 1755, graduated from Yale, and worked as a teacher before joining a Connecticut colonial regiment in 1775. In September 1776, he was arrested by the British and executed the next day without a trial. Both books are written in a lively, fast-paced style. Readers will find the texts easy to follow and unencumbered by great detail. The books are illustrated with archival period paintings as well as site photographs. Ross identifies many of the artists whose work is shown, an informative detail that is often neglected. The boldly colored, graphic-laden page design, along with short paragraphs and chapters, will keep report writers moving through the informative texts.
Lucinda Snyder WhitehurstCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Nathan Haleby Kathleen Tracy
The war was looking bleak for the American colonists. General George Washington and his army had just barely escaped destruction at the Battle of Brooklyn, and now the mighty British fleet was preparing another attack. Washington desperately needed to figure out the enemy's plan. The only way to get the information he needed was to send a spy behind British lines. The soldier who volunteered to take the assignment was a twenty-one-year-old former schoolteacher named Nathan Hale. He became the first American spy executed in the line of duty, and his last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” became a rallying cry for the Revolution.
Nathan Hale's courage in the face of death has become an enduring symbol of American patriotism. His willingness to sacrifice his life for the greater good stands as a powerful testament to the selflessness that turns ordinary men into heroes.
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