Friday, March 30, 2007

Give Me Liberty, but skip the lectures.

In Give Me Liberty by L.M. Elliott, Nathaniel is an indentured servant in the tumultuous time at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Quiet, timid and terribly afraid of abandonment, he's consistently swept around at the whim of others. Escaping a cruel new master, he's taken in by Basil, a man of letters, living in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Basil turns out to be a great influence on Nathaniel; one with a penchant for detailed speeches about the political situation of the rebel colonies. These are tiresome. Coupled with the entirely too cute and out-of-place cameos of luminaries like Washington and Jefferson, there were many times I wanted to just stop reading this. I kept questioning myself why I didn't. What I figured out was that while there were frequent tedious passages, ultimately the paradoxes about Briton vs. America that Nathaniel was working out, slowly, on his own, was fascinating. The growth of this character was tremendously interesting to watch, even if it meant slogging through what amounted to lessons in liberty.

It's too long, but for those good readers avidly interested in history or this war, it may just fit the bill.

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