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Revolutionary Roads takes readers on a time-traveling adventure through the crucial places American independence was won and might have been lost. You'll ride shotgun with Bob Thompson as he puts more than 20,000 miles on his car, not to mention his legs; walks history-shaping battlefields from Georgia to Quebec; and hangs out with passionate lovers of revolutionary history whose vivid storytelling and deep knowledge of their subject enrich his own. Braiding these elements together into a wonderfully entertaining whole - and with a reporter's abiding concern for getting the story straight - he has written an American Revolution book like no other. The Revolutionary War is one of the greatest stories in all history, an eight-year epic filled with self-sacrificing heroes, self-interested villains, and, more interestingly, all the shades of complex humanity in between. It boasts large-scale gambles that sometimes paid off but usually didn't, as well as countless tiny, fraught tipping points like a misunderstood order in a South Carolina cow pasture that could have altered the course of the war. The drama is magnified when you consider what was at stake: the fate of a social and political experiment that would transform the world. Yet we don't know this story as well as we should, or how easily the ending could have changed.
Bob Thompson is the author of Born on a Mountaintop, an on-the-road exploration of the real and legendary Davy Crockett. As a longtime feature writer for the Washington Post and the editor of its Sunday magazine, he was known for his pieces on the intersection of history and myth.
Thompson will be in conversation with Glenn Frankel. Frankel worked for many years at the Washington Post, serving as bureau chief in London, Southern Africa and Jerusalem, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He was also editor of the Post’s recently deceased Sunday magazine. He has taught journalism at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he directed the School of Journalism. He has won the National Jewish Book Award, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was most recently a research fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York. He’s written five books, the most recent of which is Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Masterpiece. He and his wife live in Arlington.