Woven into to the tapestry of American history is the familiar image of a man riding through the New England night crying out, “The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming!” on the eve of the battles of Lexington and Concord. What Joel Miller does is he takes that two-dimensional picture and adds depth and life to a man who should be known for so much more than one historic night. Starting with the journey of his indentured servant father, Miller spins a yarn that takes us through Paul’s apprenticeship, his famous ride and so much more. Along the way Paul masters his craft, serves in the military during the French and Indian War, and socializes with the likes of Sam Adams and John Hancock. He joins secret societies like the Masons and the Sons of Liberty, which thrusts him into the role of chronicler of the Boston Massacre and partaker in the Boston Tea Party. Eventually, Paul ends up being the official messenger between the Sons of Liberty and the Continental Congress, which lands him the historic role of being the harbinger of battle.
But the story doesn’t end there. Paul again serves his country through military service. What is most remarkable is that after independence is won is that Paul personifies America’s entrepreneurial spirit. From silversmith to dentist to forger to bell-maker, Paul takes advantage of his new found liberty to build a successful business and uses his abilities to help his new country and when the war of 1812 breaks out, 80 year old Paul volunteers his services once again for the cause of Liberty.
As a lover of history I quickly devoured this book. Written in a narrative style it was easy to read while being well-documented. I fully recommend this book to anyone curious about one of America’s early heroes. In doing so you will learn of a man who sought to serve his country no matter what his age, social status or financial situation. May we be so patriotic.