Clark's bookshelf.

Author:Isaacs, Clark
Position:Book review

Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation

Harlow Giles Unger

Da Capo Press

9780306818868 $26.00

Harlow Giles Unger in his sixteenth book chronicles the life and times of Patrick Henry in "Lion of Liberty." Exactingly researched, we learn a lot more about the man who had uttered those famous words "Give me liberty or give me death."

Patrick Henry's life was always dedicated to his campaigning for the rights of all Americans. However, his background was not from a wealthy aristocracy, but from a tobacco farm and store located in the Virginia frontier. He was home-schooled and read his way into becoming a member of the legal profession in Virginia. Among his accomplishments he was the original drafter of the Bill of Rights which was incorporated into America's way of living unfettered liberty.

Henry was a true revolutionary in every sense of the word. He raised troops in Virginia to fight for our nation at a time when they were needed to bolster not only the morale of those who were engaged in battle, but were needed to fight. A selfless leader, he served 5 terms as governor of Virginia.

Harlow Unger has captured the essence of Patrick Henry and incorporates today's Tea Party in a way that draws comparisons to this movement which resists strong intrusion of the Federal government into decisions which should remain states' rights. There are many annotations of speeches made by Henry which helped frame and mold the United States Constitution.

The relationship between the nation's Founding Fathers-George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry-is what makes this book stand out from other history books. Unger has researched the relationships between all of them by combing through the national archives and referencing correspondence between them. Readers will get a sense of how decisions were made to formulate freedom by Unger's interjection of both successes and failures of the fledgling nations' fight for liberty from England's rule.

Of particular interest is the taxation by the colonies in financing the war. A cost of 50 million dollars had to be levied upon the citizens and the method of collection was distasteful, especially among those who lived in rural areas. Unger has drawn some interesting parallels to the taxation of today.

Chronicling the life of Patrick Henry it is interesting to learn that he had 18 children with two wives. It was estimated that had they been...

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