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Independence Now: The American Revolution 1763-1783    by Daniel Rosen order for
Independence Now
by Daniel Rosen
Order:  USA  Can
National Geographic, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

This Crossroads America series, aimed at grades 4 to 6, is designed to introduce themes in United States history. Independence Now (1763-1783) includes colorful, dramatic illustrations, with Daniel Rosen's narratives set in one- or two-page segments. Rosen focuses on a few major battles in the American Revolution including the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, along with events such as the Declaration of Independence.

The book takes the reader from the colonial period, with George Washington gaining limelight as a leader, to the days of the fiery Revolutionary War. It discusses the American colonies shaping their own lives with freedom in the forefront, giving reasons for the war from both American and British points of view, and posing a lengthy, difficult path to victory. The contributions of women and minority groups, quotes in side boxes ('In Their Own Words'), and a glossary add to the interest. In a notable side-bar, Charity Clark writes to an English friend (1769), 'Heroines may not distinguish themselves at the head of an army, but freedom will also be won by a fighting army of women armed with spinning wheels.' The section entitled 'Points of View' presents Benjamin Franklin in support of independence, while his son, the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, supports the British monarchy.

An introduction and four chapters provide a digestible overview of the American Revolution. However, the book lacks a list of resources, except for two websites referenced on the back flap. Rosen's chapters begin with 'Who Are The Americans?', through 'Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride' (Sybil was a sixteen-year old girl in 1777 - a United States postage stamp and metal sculpture in Danbury, Connecticut honor Sybil and her horse Star for her 40-mile ride). Independence Now has a 'Legacy' page at the end giving a brief follow-up history to the events depicted in the text. All books in the series are represented with time-period paintings, drawings, and photographs. I recommend the 'Crossroads America' series to those interested in learning about America's War for Independence and its historical paths.

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