14-year-old Johnny Tremain is an apprentice silversmith in 1770s Boston. Talented and arrogant, he tends to lord it over his fellow apprentices. As a result of a trick they play on him, his right hand is crippled and he can no longer practice his craft. Feeling useless, he seeks help from a wealthy man he believes to be his relative, but is turned away. He gets work with a radical paper called the Boston Observer, delivering papers on horseback. As a result he comes to know all the leading figures in the American Revolution. He takes part in the Boston Tea Party and spies on the British soldiers stationed in the city.
A great historical novel, naturally rather biased on the American side but with three-dimensional characters on both sides. Johnny is an interesting flawed hero who develops believably over the course of the novel. The story presents not only the events but also the philosophy of the early American Revolution, and it places the well-known names in the context of the life of the city. The early chapters effectively describe the life of eighteenth-century apprentices, and later ones give a vivid picture of an "occupied" city.
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- Reading Age: 12+
- Reading Aloud Age: 10+
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