Saturday, December 18, 2010

The List

Great book for the whole family! In The List, which set in Philadelphia as the British occupy the city during the American War for Independence, the reader is immediately absorbed into Dr. Archibald Browne's family. A family of split loyalties to American causes and British crown, the reader will not know where the real loyalites lie until the end of the book. Not only is the story itself engaging and, at times, a page-turner, one realizes just how difficult taking sides were within the city and within the family.

Though I've read a fair amount of fiction and nonfiction about this decisive point of American history, I always learn more interesting details about life during this time with books such as
The List.

This would be a good family read-aloud. The vocabulary and sentence structure is advanced enough that any age below eighth grade would find reading difficult. But this is a solid book for independent high school reading.

Interestingly, the author, from all indications is American. Yet, he uses a number of English spellings for words. He has also written an equally stirring (maybe more so) book about the Children's Crusade--The Journey of Souls,-- that I read last year.

In the author's introduction of
The List, are a few outstanding quotes:

" . . . civilisations are simply collections of families."

" . . . there are seasons of time
when a culture is more affected by virtue than others."
And,
" . . . if our present civilisation would embrace the virtues of its own past,
liberty might once again find its rightful place."

These quotes, coming on the heels of the book Island of the World, have become pregnant with meaning.

5 comments:

Carol in Oregon said...

Journey of Souls was one of those books that wounded me. One wonders *how* parents could send their children on a crusade. It is unintelligible to the modern mind. But THIS BOOK MADE ME UNDERSTAND. It was heartbreaking, nonetheless. It was one of the last read aloud books I shared with my youngest son.

I've wanted to read The List since I finished Journey. I'm pretty sure it is on my shelf. It's getting moved to the top of my stack, thanks to you.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I will definitely put this on my "to read" list.

When we were still homeschooling, it suddenly occurred to me one day that a choice for which side to take would not have been as easy then as it is in hindsight.

Under the Sky said...

I have long recommended this book. We read it on our first American history cycle and were absorbed by the story and the details. I did a lot of research on the actual list the book talks about. There are still questions surrounding it. It is such fun to find your recommendation here - almost no one I know knows about it!

Warmly,
Kate

JSD said...

Kate, I'm so glad you stopped by and left your comment. Thinking about it, I think it was *you* who I first heard positive words about "The List" from. It was way back when on the WTM board. And it had to be *years* because I had that book for a number of years before it ever made it to the top of the stack! If you've not read Journey of Souls, you should give it a try. Great story! ---And, while I'm thinking about it, aren't you the Kate who is friends of Di? Lived in the flat? Or am I mixing memories here?

Under the Sky said...

Yes, that is me! I have to figure out who you are then! :) Please do email me and tell me how you know all that fun stuff about me. LOL (underthesky at gmail.com) I am going to start making your blog a regular stop - I really enjoy it.

I can't believe that you would have heard of it from me! LOL That just makes my day. I so enjoyed it and am glad you did too. :)

I will check out Journey of the Souls. Thanks!

Warmly,
Kate