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Book Review Essay, Research Paper

Reid Farmer

American History

Book Review #1

March 7, 2000

Book Review # 1

The book that I chose to read was called The Governor And The Rebel, by Wilcomb E. Washburn. Wilcomb was a very qualified person. He passed away on February 1, 1997. He got his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University. After Harvard, he taught history for three years at the College of William and Mary. He then joined the Smithsonian Institution as Curator in the division of political history. He had a career of research, publication, lecturing, and teaching on diverse topics. He was editor of nine works, from the Indian and the White Man in 1964. He is the author of five other books besides the one I read. One was called Red Man?s Land/White Man?s Law. He wrote about 200 journal articles, book chapters, newspaper pieces and book reviews all having to do with United States History. While he wrote the book he did most of his research in England, so he could get both viewpoints of the situation with Bacon?s Rebellion, which is what The Governor And The Rebel is about. The type of the book is a monograph.

The Thesis of this book is; throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the rebellion of Nathaniel Bacon in Virginia in 1676 has been presented as a valiant but premature attempt to overthrow an oppressive royal government in order to establish a just and democratic society. The summery of the book is it starts out talking about how he did his research. He did this by going to England. He found old documents containing information on the subject of Bacon?s Rebellion. He got both sides of the argument. The people of America that wrote about Bacon, made him to be a hero about overthrowing a government. The people of Britain pretty much wrote the opposite. Like Washburn states on page 16 ? Was it an attempt to over throw a tyrannical government, or was it just a disagreement on how to protect the colony; in the following chapters the evidence will be reviewed and a conclusion drawn.

The next section in the book deals with the background to the rebellion. Washburn talks about how the white settlers in Virginia were migrating into Indian lands, and how hostility came between the Indians and the settlers. The next chapter is explains about how Bacon defied Governor Berkeley, by attacking the Indians. After he did that it talks about Berkley said that Bacon was a rebel and relieved Bacon of his seat on the Council. Chapter 4 talks about how Bacon gets laws passed Called Bacon?s Laws. Chapter 5 is about Virginia under control of Bacon in 1676. The next chapter takes place from 1676-1677 when Berkeley regains power. In the next chapter the King finds out about how things are running poorly and sends people to settle it, but they arrive to late to do any good. The king make A Royal commission of investigation. The king was quite pissed. The King sent a person named Colonel Gerbert Jeffreys to act as a Lieutenant Governor. After a little Bit Berkely became governor again. He pardoned everybody except notorious actors in the rebellion. Bacon and his main men were accused of high treason, all their land and possessions were forfeited to the king. The next chapter is about the after math of the rebellion. It criticizes the actions of Berkley.

Chapter 10 the last chapter is about the causes of the war and how things could have been different.

My opinion of The Governor and The Rebel, was for a non-fiction book on a subject. I actually found very interesting. I learned every little thing about Bacon?s rebellion. I could tell you what happened before, during, and the aftermath of the rebellion in detail. I could tell you how both the English and the settlers felt about it. Sometimes the book was hard to follow, because he used different sources. The author?s objective is met. His objective was to teach the reader all about Bacon?s rebellion, and to find out the real purpose of the rebellion. The value of the material that he used is excellent. He knew what he was talking about. This book was written very detailed. At the beginning I did not find the book interesting at all. Once I start to do something and after I started the second chapter I became hooked. It didn?t take me long at all to read the book after I got into it. For the most part of the book the readability was good. At some points he would keep switching from sources and I would start to get confused. When that happened I would have to reread the paragraph or confusing part again until I figured out what he was talking about.

I think that this is a good assignment for students to do. We get to pick a specific event that we find interesting and learn about it in detail. We don?t have time in class to go over everything. I don?t like to read books, but I learned a great deal of specific information. I give this assignment a thumbs up.

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