Thinking of “Catherine The Great” On the Fourth of July

June 15 00:51 2021
Thinking of "Catherine The Great" On the Fourth of July
Tom Durwood’s New Young Adults Trilogy Paints a Global Portrait of the American Revolution

Seattle, WA – June 14, 2021 – Why does Catherine the Great appear in a new young adult epic about the American Revolution? Tom Durwood’s ambitious new trilogy is based on the premise that the American War of Independence was not only American, but part of a global event. 

The Illustrated Colonials is a splashy trio of adventures set against the backdrop of 1776 and global change. Readers follow the exploits of six teens – none of them American – who join the colonial cause and find more than they bargained for.   

Part of a Global Movement:

“In recent years,” writes author Ray Raphael in his foreword to The Illustrated Colonials. “Historians have broadened the selection of Revolutionary players and expanded the Revolution’s stage. The cast now includes women, African Americans (enslaved and free), Native Americans, and colonials of all stripes. Further, the stage now stretches across the globe – challenges to the British Empire in Europe, Africa, and Asia, spurred by the Revolution unfolding in North America.” 

Catherine the Great was a great supporter of the American War of Independence. She declined King George’s request of 20,000 troops to help put down the rebellion, and made sure American ships were welcome at international ports. In Durwood’s novel, Catherine sets the plot into motion by sending a young envoy to find how else to aid the ‘Bostonians.’ 

In an address to the Organization of American Historians some time ago, OAH President James Oliver Horton argued that if the promise of America is to be fulfilled, its people must understand its history. He called for a new generation of historians to place America in its rightful context, a global context – to portray U.S. history not as a story separated from the rest of the world, but as part of a world narrative. 

Durwood believes that the story of the American Revolution is like that. Beneath the popular tales of the American Revolution lies a larger and more complex narrative – a global narrative. 

Lauren E. Snyder / Bookseller, Malaprop Books, said, “a series of historical novels like this is refreshing, and much-needed …” 

A Book On A Mission:

In movies, there can be such a thing as “the male gaze.” This is when the camera sees things as males see them. A neutral camera would not act that way. There may be such a thing as a national gaze, narratives in which a nation looks at a universe that is centered around that particular unit of civilization. 

Historian Larrie D. Ferreiro thinks a little bit of this may have crept into America’s telling of this history, particularly the story of the American Revolution. One tends to make themselves the hero of what is a complex, sprawling story. It suits the author to downplay or neglect to mention critical help that was  received from Europe. A neutral, or more universal version might be different. 

“The involvement of other nations in the conflict was largely erased from the historical record,” Ferreiro writes. This is not so much a studied effort as it is a natural tendency to want to establish one’s own cultural identity – American exceptionalism. Americans tend to make themselves the heroes of what is a complex, sprawling story.   

Others make the same point. “If there is one big meta-trend within history, it is this turn toward the global,” says Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University. “History looks very different if you don’t take a particular nation-state as the starting point of all your investigations.” 

About The Author: 

Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer, and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College. 

Tom’s newspaper column “Shelter” appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity. 

Reader Testimonials tell the story. Take a look at what Nicola Flood, Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewer, had to say, “Each story tells of different lives of people in state of change, and some with circumstances reflective of human nature, some at its most pivotal, and even darker moments, and some very ordinary. Yet even the darker stories are somehow beautiful, profound, and touching in their own way. I was impressed by the amount of emotion and investment Durwood manages to pull from the reader in just a few pages. Sign of a gifted writer there.” 

For complete information, visit: www.mycolonials.com

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Website: www.mycolonials.com

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