We love to root for the underdog, and when it comes to underdogs, few are more impressive than the world’s great revolutionaries.
After all, it’s pretty hard to find a more powerful opponent than the world’s biggest empires and emperors. And that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Many of these men and women were born into virtual dystopias, and they fought throughout their lives, against all odds, to forge a path to a better future. And whether they succeeded, failed, or succeeded only to become a new kind of enemy, there’s something inherently fascinating about that effort to change the world.
Rockin’ the Boattells the stories of fifty such iconoclasts — including the gladiator Spartacus, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the inspired religious fighter Joan of Arc, the abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights icon Margaret Sanger, and Maori chief Hono Heke — from an incredibly diverse set of places and times. Each entry includes a mix of history, biography, and analysis, and is supplemented with photos, sidebars, and an incredible amount of trivia as well.
As a result, Rockin’ the Boat provides a unique and powerful view of history — a view from the bottom up, through the eyes of people who dared to imagine a different world from the one in which they lived.
I always enjoy reading these type of books from Zest Books because they don't have to be read straight through for you to enjoy them. You can casually skim through them, brushing by parts that don't interest you and focusing on the things that do. And I always come away with some good trivia. So when I was approached about being part of this blog tour, I was all over it.
I especially had fun with Rockin' the Boat because I earmarked pages of interest and wrote little notes and commentary in the margins. Here are some random things I highlighted:
- I learned how the story of Gaius Gracchus is similar to the story of the Kennedy brothers.
- I got some background on the infamous "I am Spartacus!" scene in the 1960 movie.
- Did you know that the terms "Kaiser" and "Czar" both originated as translations of "Caesar"?
- There was a man named Vercingetorix. That name though!
- The story behind "Remember, remember the fifth of November"
- Samuel Adams worked as a partner in his father's malt house, but wasn't a very successful brewer.
...and that was all in the first 100 pages! Fleischer had some great captions for the pictures and the sidebars did a good job at expanding on the history and background of common and well-known things relating to the revolutionaries.
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