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Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider

Too often, history has the reputation of being dull. Too many names, too many dates, too focused on war and battles, but very little connection to our lives today. And even if we do know some fascinating tidbits, it’s often not much more than a sound bite.

For example, many of us have heard of Paul Revere’s midnight ride during the American Revolutionary War to warn people that the British were coming. Fewer people have heard of Sybil Ludington, who undertook a similar task, but rode twice as far as Paul Revere, while she was only 16 years old, and in bitterly cold rain. That’s an interesting fact on its own, but that small tidbit is still lacking in color and character.

Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider does an excellent job of bringing this historic time and the people who lived during it to life. We get to see motivations, strategies, and examples of codes used during that time. We also see snippets of regular colonial life in New England, such as taking grain to a mill.

But it’s Sybil’s ride that is the most detailed, interesting, and dangerous part. The soldiers in the local militia are all at home asleep, as are the Tories—subjects still loyal to King George III. Someone has to ride to alert the first and avoid the second. Originally, multiple people were planning to take different parts of the route, but in the end, Sybil did it all on her own, at great risk to her life.

Included in the book are many copies of art from the time, such as examples of military uniforms, a portrait of Benedict Arnold, and a raucous tavern scene. Interspersed with the paintings are woodcuts showing scenes of regular life that never made it into paintings, but still help bring the story to life, and even a few maps to round out the content.

Vividly depicted, with memorable, sympathetic, determined characters, Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider is a great choice to inject some life into history.

You can pick up the book on Amazon by clicking the image below, and you’ll find some added suggestions for other excellent books about the quest for independence in America:


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