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James Otis, the pre-revolutionist   By: (1840-1900)

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James Otis, the pre-revolutionist by John Clark Ridpath successfully brings to light the incredible life and significant contributions of James Otis, a lesser-known figure of the American Revolution. Ridpath's meticulous research and engaging narrative style make this biography a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in the birth of American independence.

The biography begins by immersing readers in the fascinating world of colonial Massachusetts, where Otis grew up amid political turmoil and the seeds of revolutionary thought were being sown. Ridpath masterfully captures the essence of the time, effortlessly transporting the reader back to the tense and volatile atmosphere of pre-revolutionary America.

One of the standout qualities of this book is Ridpath's meticulous attention to detail. He leaves no stone unturned when it comes to sourcing information, drawing on primary documents and letters to reconstruct Otis's life and actions. This dedication to accuracy is apparent throughout the book, allowing readers to gain a comprehensive understanding of Otis as an individual and as a catalyst for revolution.

Ridpath's portrayal of Otis is one of utmost admiration, yet he does not shy away from presenting the man's flaws and insecurities. Otis's inner conflicts and personal struggles are laid bare, as Ridpath paints a nuanced and multifaceted portrait of this historically significant figure. The author's insights into Otis's motivations provide valuable context to his actions, making him more relatable and human.

Furthermore, Ridpath's writing style is both scholarly and accessible. He presents complex historical events and political discussions in a manner that is easily understood, making the book suitable for readers of all backgrounds. Ridpath's prose flows effortlessly, ensuring that the narrative maintains its momentum and the reader remains captivated throughout.

However, one aspect that could have been further developed in the biography is the examination of Otis's lasting impact on American history. Although Ridpath mentions Otis's crucial role in shaping the revolutionary spirit, a more in-depth analysis of his political and intellectual legacy would have been beneficial. This would have provided a more comprehensive understanding of Otis's historical significance beyond his immediate actions.

In conclusion, James Otis, the pre-revolutionist is an enthralling and well-researched biography that sheds light on the life of an often-overlooked figure from the American Revolution. Ridpath's attention to detail, engaging narrative style, and comprehensive portrayal of Otis make this book a valuable addition to any collection of American history literature. Whether you are an aficionado of revolutionary history or simply seeking a captivating story, this biography is sure to leave a lasting impression.

First Page:

Great Americans of History


BY JOHN CLARK RIDPATH, LL.D. AUTHOR OF A "Cyclopaedia of Universal History," "Great Races of Mankind," "Life and Times of William E. Gladstone," etc., etc.


WITH AN ESSAY ON THE PATRIOT BY G. MERCER ADAM Late Editor "Self Culture" Magazine, Etc., Etc.


Near the northeast corner of the old Common of Boston a section of ground was put apart long before the beginning of the eighteenth century to be a burying ground for some of the heroic dead of the city of the Puritans. For some quaint reason or caprice this acre of God was called "The Granary" and is so called to this day. Perhaps the name was given because the dead were here, garnered as grain from the reaping until the bins be opened at the last day's threshing when the chaff shall be driven from the wheat.

Here the thoughtless throng looking through the iron railing may see the old weather beaten and time eaten slabs with their curious lettering which designate the spots where many of the men of the pre revolutionary epoch were laid to their last repose. The word cemetery is from Greek and means the little place where I lie down.

In the Granary Burying Ground are the tombs of many whom history has gathered and recorded as her own... Continue reading book >>

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