Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose

Rating: ****** (No, that's not a mistake)
Genre: Historical nonfiction
Pages: 264
     Every day of the school year, teenagers sit through history classes, learning about adults who shaped history. Sure, they might throw in the story of a young person here and there, when the story fits the topic. They might mention a few teenaged soldiers or the girls who went on strike for better working conditions in factories. In America, they'll certainly mention Sacagawea, who met Lewis and Clark when she was only sixteen. But for the most part, the younger side of history is nonexistent. When I ask my friends what they think about this, they respond, "Well, teenagers haven't done anything important."
     We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History, written by Phillip Hoose, proves them wrong. The book starts of with the story of Columbus' cabin boy and finishes with the young activists of the nineties. Every single story is true. Some of these youth, like Frederick Douglas and John Quincy Adams, became famous as adults. Some, such as Jennie Curtis, a young strike leader, vanished into history. Still others died as teenagers, like Samuel Maverick, a seventeen-year-old killed in the Boston Massacre.
     I like this book because it's the only one I've seen that talks about young people in history. And since the stories are real, it makes more of an impact on the reader than the average novel.

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