Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims – A Book Review

If there had been children’s literature like Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims:  Time Travel Adventure with Exceptional Americans published sooner, reading scores as well as interest in American history would have improved.

Limbaugh’s exceptional children’s book is in response to the historical revisionism of the last 40 years.  For his first adventure, he has chosen the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims in 1621.

Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher with a smart-aleck talking horse named Liberty.  The first words out of the horse’s mouth to Revere’s class of middle-school students is the preamble to the Constitution.

 “Show-off!” Revere says.

Revere, of course, is Limbaugh.  The horse is a time-traveling horse that carries Revere through a time portal to any point in history he chooses.  Limbaugh uses the same image used in his Two if By Tea iced tea line, a Colonial costume.  Limbaugh definitely goes all tea party – for a class of middle-schoolers.  The Brave Revere.

He wisely takes two of his students, a boy and a girl who’s of Native American ancestry with him, to keep in touch with modern times.  There are plenty of references to modern culture like The Incredible Hulk, Chuck Norris, a little scatological humor, which Revere, uses to teach a little nautical history, and the occasional references to future events that leave the Pilgrims bewildered.

Limbaugh gives the full history of the Pilgrim’s (Puritan’s) voyage.  He doesn’t go too heavy on the reasons that they left England.  We refer to them as Pilgrim’s but they were also known as Separatists who didn’t believe in the Anglican Church’s practices (particularly having the monarch of England as the head of the church) and wanted to separate from the Church of England.

Liberty the Horse accuses Revere of sounding like King James, the English monarch who gave the Pilgrims the ‘choice of either following their faith or following the law.  He explains that some of the Separatists were imprisoned.  So, the Puritans, with their spiritual leader, William Brewster, left England to live in Leyden, Holland.  But even there, they were uncomfortable living among strangers.  The Puritan’s children were beginning to leave the faith.  When Rush Revere and Liberty jump through the portal, the Pilgrims have just engaged the Speedwell to carry them to the New World.

With his Smartphone app, teacher Revere transmits his adventures back to the classroom.  Going back and forth between episodes, Revere and Liberty recount how there were originally two ships.  In the introductory lesson, Revere explains that the Speedwell was to be the passenger ship and the Mayflower, the cargo ship, which some of the leaders had gone back to England to purchase.

However, by the time they reach Southampton, England, the Pilgrims discovered the Speedwell to be incredibly unseaworthy.  Returning to land, some of the passengers bail out of the voyage, thankful to be on dry land.  The Mayflower is engaged to carry the passengers as well as the cargo, some of which must be jettisoned in order to make the voyage with the additional 102 passengers.

There are two groups of passengers, Revere teaches:  the Saints, as the Mayflower’s sailors call them, and the Strangers, sailing for the New World as part of a business enterprise to build plantations, or farms, to grow food for hungry Europe.  When the “Strangers” discover they’re headed for Cape Cod, instead of the Hudson River in New York, they nearly stage a mutiny.

Limbaugh deviates from history somewhat in the description of the Hudson River.  The river was not named for Henry Hudson until the early 20th Century.  The river went by a number of names in early American history.  The Iroquois called the river Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk or the Great Mohegan.  The Lenape Indians, who inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river – all of present day New Jersey and the island of Manhattan – knew it as Muhheakantuck (“river that flows two ways). An early name for the Hudson used by the Dutch was “Rio de Montaigne.” Later, they generally termed it the “North River”, the Delaware River being known as the “South River.”  The name “North River” was used in the New York City area up until the early 1900s, with limited use continuing until modern times.  The term persists in radio communication among commercial shipping traffic, especially below the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The river was included on the 1529 map of Estevao Gomes and Diego Gutierrez. On their map it was named Río de San Antonio (St Anthony River), in the context of the Spanish Ajacan Mission of the 16th century.

All that is a little too confusing and a little too much history for young, 21st Century readers, so Limbaugh sticks with the Hudson River.

Meanwhile, Jones, Captain of the Mayflower, told the Strangers that they were landing at Provincetown Harbor and that was all there was to it.  The ship was running out of food, the passengers were sick, and winter was coming.  If they didn’t make landfall, he’d throw them all of the ship and leave them there to their own fate.

Myles Standish and William Bradford, the colony governor, urged the two groups into a peace accord.  The ship would anchor at Cape Cod where they would forge a compromise, binding the two groups to work together for their mutual support.  The Strangers weren’t happy; they wanted freedom, not the communal bonds of the spiritual group whose tenets held that there would be no private property or free enterprise.

By common consent of the Mayflower Compact, the majority would rule.  As Rush Revere whispers to his student, Tommy, “This is a key moment of American history; the agreement that William Bradford just proposed is the Mayflower Compact.  It is said to be just as important to American history as the Declaration of Independence.”

For reasons of mutual support, the Strangers and Saints agree.  But as Rush Revere and his students discover, the first winter is harsh and many of the Pilgrims die that winter.  In the Spring, they are visited by the Indian Somoset of the Pokanoket tribe, ruled by the sachem Massasoit.  The Indian tells the Pilgrims that he learned English from fishermen.

Somoset leaves and returns with another Indian, Squanto, and Massasoit.  Squanto speaks perfect English.  He had been kidnapped from Patuxet Harbor (where the Mayflower is anchored) and eventually went to England, before returning to North America.  He teaches the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish, and plant corn.

Meanwhile, Bradford and Brewster have found their plans to live communally have not lived up to their expectations.  Having no motivation to work, not all the Plymouth Plantation residents work as hard as others.  Bradford finally relaxes the rules, allowing each landowner to keep his own produce to consume or sell at will.  The colony begins to prosper and Rush has the opportunity make the case for the freedom, free enterprise, and free will that 155 years later will lead to the Declaration of Independence and eventually, the formation of the republic of the United States of America.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims is ideal for the ten and up crowd to read on their own.  They’ll especially enjoy the wise-guy antics of Liberty the Talking (and sometimes Invisible) Horse.  Rush’s book is full of excitement and suspense that will entertain the young set, while instilling in them a full sense of the importance of American history.

This is even a great book for Grandmas and Grandpas, or Mom-Moms and Pop-Pops to read to their grandchildren.  The entire book is a little long for a full-length reading to squirmy pre-schoolers.  Some knowledge of American history is required, which is why it’s better suited for older school-age children.                                              

Undoubtedly, the book will go into a second printing (at which time they can put Rush’s invitation to the first Thanksgiving in its proper place:  it was a little disconcerting to find nothing after the colon mark).  Limbaugh, it turns out, is a great storyteller.  His book is a page-turner for the young and long-looked for blessing for the young-at-heart who’ve been longing for someone to write a proper, optimistic, and patriotic account of American history.

Thanksgiving was the excellent point in time to begin the saga of Rush Revere.

 

                                                                                                     

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. […] Delaware Online Headlines […]

  2. When you have no limits because you can time travel and go anywhere, all you have to do is get the history right. That was the primary objective, and that’s what we did. Now, I also want to mention, there’s a little special that we are doing at Two If By Tea in honor of the Pilgrims and in honor of the book being announced today (Thursday), and that is that all tea is reduced in price to $16.20 for 12 bottles while supplies last. No promo code is needed. This is through 11:59 p.m Pacific tomorrow (Friday) night.

    • You certainly did!! After I read the book myself, to let people know how great it is, I gave it to my friend to give as a Thanksgiving gift to his 11 year-old granddaughter and 8 year-old grandson. I don’t understand what you mean by the book being announced today. Isn’t the book already at the top of the NY Times Bestseller list? I think the word has already gotten out….;)

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