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When the Marquis de Lafayette ran off to join the American Revolution against the explicit orders of the king of France, he was a strong-willed nineteen-year-old who had never set foot on a battlefield. Although the U.S. Congress granted him an honorary commission only out of respect for his title and wealth, Lafayette quickly earned the respect of his fellow officers with his bravery, devotion to the cause of liberty, and incredible drive.
Playing a pivotal role in the Revolution, Lafayette convinced the French government to send troops, made crucial pacts with Native Americans, and lead his men to victory at Yorktown. This thrilling account of a daring soldier will fascinate young historians. Source notes, bibliography, time line, index.
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Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, a National Humanities Medal, the Sibert Medal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City and travels widely to research his books.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Inspired by an idealistic belief in the cause of liberty and a determination to prove himself worthy on the battlefield, Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, left his young wife and daughter, ignored a royal order, crossed the ocean to America, and took up a commission in the Continental army. Lafayette’s courage and personal charm endeared him to Washington, who gradually gave him more difficult missions, culminating in the containment of Cornwallis’ troops at Yorktown. Returning to France, Lafayette called for a constitutional monarchy but was accused of treason and imprisoned during the French Revolution. After his citizenship was restored, he continued speaking out for political freedom. In this solidly researched and smoothly written biography, Freedman creates a vivid portrait of Lafayette as he matures from an impetuous young man and inexperienced solider to a leader capable of wisdom as well as valor. Scenes on the battlefield are balanced with a nuanced portrayal of his filial relationship with Washington. A moving final scene takes place, surprisingly, in 1917. Handsomely designed with a spacious format and good use of color, the book includes many clearly reproduced paintings and prints. A time line, source notes, and a selected bibliography of sources are appended in this look at one of our Revolution’s most intriguing heroes. Grades 6-9. --Carolyn Phelan
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