Friday, May 8, 2009

Why I love Revolution! (including a giveaway!)

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

This sentence from Common Sense, by Thomas Paine (one of my favorite revolutionaries) sums it all up for me. It is perhaps ridiculously simplistic, but it is there – the idea that when things are bad, we always have the ability to change – to begin anew.

Spanning time and culture, and for reasons religious, political, or economic, it happens – and often. Revolution. People rising up to say enough is enough. Some lead, others follow, but together they muster the strength to sacrifice and struggle in an effort make their world into a better place.

One of the few books I owned as a kid was a worn textbook on world history that I purchased at a school book sale. A big, heavy volume, the chapters covered many eras and events up to World War II. The thick glossy pages were chock-full of illustrations, timelines and photographs. I would pour over it, reading about my own country’s history, and the histories of countries and peoples far away, and of civilizations and empires long gone. I think because of this early, broad exposure, I now can’t point to a favorite historical time period or place – but I can say I was always particularly drawn to the events involving insurrection, rebellion and revolution. Large or small, joyfully successful or dismally inept, these political cataclysms have all the stuff I look for in a great story.

Of course, rebellions don’t always end well. Spartacus’s slave uprising was eventually squashed, and he was crucified together with 6,600 of his followers on the Appian Way, the bodies left to hang for years as a warning to future rebels. The Jacobite Rising in 1745 did not restore Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne. The confederacy of Native American tribes who banded together in Pontiac’s Rebellion did not drive the British from their lands, or put a stop to colonial expansion. History is rife with examples of failed efforts.

Revolution can also create strange dichotomies. The French Revolution propelled by cries of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” devolved into the Reign of Terror. Iconic Che Guevera is vilified as “the butcher of La Cabaña” by some, and also prayed to as “Saint Ernesto” by others.

And the revolutions that are deemed successful don’t ever seem to end in perfect solutions. The American Revolution created a radical form of self-governance based on a constitution that left women without a voice in representation, and the slavery issue unresolved.

For these reasons and more, revolutions in both the distant and recent past persist as the basis for novels, movies, and even Broadway musicals. Within rebellion there lies a classic David and Goliath quality – the weak making a courageous stand against the mighty. Revolts inherently abound in conflicts where courageous heroes and martyrs face brutal, tyrannical oppressors – creating the veritable petri dishes in which stories filled with daring, adventure and romance develop. Who can resist?

So I say “Up the Rebels!!”

Author Christine Blevins writes what she loves to read – historical adventure stories. Her debut novel Midwife of the Blue Ridge (August 2008) takes the reader to the wilds of 18th century colonial America, and was inspired by information unearthed while researching family history. Her second novel, The Tory Widow (April 2009) begins in New York City at the eve of rebellion, and is the result of a lifelong fascination with the foundations of American history and the revolutionary spirit. A native Chicagoan, Christine lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, along with her husband Brian, the younger two of their four children, and The Dude, a very silly golden-doodle. She is presently at work on the second novel in her Revolutionary War trilogy titled Hearts of Oak, which is due to be published in June, 2010, by Penguin/Berkley.

And now the giveaway details:

HUZZAH! Enter to win a signed copy of The Tory Widow, plus an Revolutionary America survival kit (lavender water and a hankie) by leaving a comment noting your favorite revolution. Entries will close on 15 May. Please note that entry is open to everyone! Good luck!


  1. I'd have to say the American Revolution, just because it's a part of our country's history. Although when I first saw the question I had an image flash through my head of Mel Gibson painted blue, running toward the enemy. :)

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  2. I agree - the American Revolution. It represents the beginning of our country.

    Please count me in - Thanks!
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  3. I would have to say The French Revolution. Have been fascinated by that part of history for quite awhile now.

  4. Definitely the American Revolution. I grew up in New England and celebrated Patriot's Day in Lexington, MA with family. It was always the event to look forward to during spring break from school. Plus, it's freed our country from the monarchy of England.

  5. For me it's the Scottish Rebellion against Edward I in 1297. Led by William Wallace.

    Have posted your comp on "Around the World Competition Wrap up" on Mon 11th at Royal Reviews.

    Would love to win this one

  6. I'm Chinese, so I'm partial to the Chinese Revolution that ultimately lead to the formation of the Republic of China.


  7. The French! I love the events, the politics, the people, and the writings that came out of it. <3


  8. I enjoy reading about the American Revolution, especially the roles played by the women behind the heroes. Would love to read this novel, read and enjoyed Blevins' Midwife of the Blue Ridge and this one sounds great too.

  9. I guess that I should say the American Revolution..but I love those Scotts.
    Thanks for this lovely giveaway!


  10. I have to go with what everyone else is saying: The American Revolution. It's the beginning of our country, so it's good to see where Americans came from.

    jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

  11. The Jacobite Rising would be the one that interests me the most right now! It may be one of the reasons that my family immigrated from Scotland to Canada.

    Thanks for the great information and giveaways!


  12. My favorite would be Gandhi's revolution that ousted the Raj from India... wonderful giveaways!

    teabird 17 AT yahoo dot com

  13. As a lifelong Philadelphian, there is just "the Revolution", although I must admit that Patricia Veryan's books certainly sparked an interest in 1745 and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. Can we count the rebellion of October 1483 against Richard III? (A noble effort, on the part of at least some of the participants, though it failed.)

    If not, I'll say the American Revolution, of course!

  15. The American Rev is my fav. It did after all, give us our independence :)

  16. I would have to say the french revolution is the revolution that interests me the most

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  17. I would have to say the Pilgrimage of Grace, the northern rising against Henry VIII's religious reforms. You see...I have been watching The Tudors series 3.

  18. I admit that I'm biased but my favorite revolutions are the Philippine Revolution against Spain (and the subsequent turn over to the US) and the American Revolution. They both resonate with me very deeply. Also, India's nonviolent revolution from British Rule! That makes 3!

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

  19. Count me in as another vote for the American Revolution. Such deep passion for freedom and the need for liberty is something I can really relate to, especially these days.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    onetwentypm -at- gmail -dot- com

  20. I love the most familiar, so I would say the American Revolution as well.

  21. I am more familiar with the French Revolution given the fact that I studied in school. It has been a real change in the lives of the French people and it actually changed the whole course of history. Love it!

  22. i would love a chance to win a copy of this book....thanks

    savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com

  23. Hi! Just posted this on Win A Book.

  24. The French Revolution, because it finally granted religious rights to my ancestors the Huguenots. Of course, the American Revolution brought me the freedoms that I benefit from today. So it's a toss up!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  25. I was going to say the American Revolution...but I was thinking that actually the Civil War could be considered a revolution...a failed revolution. Which is fascinating. Perhaps because it failed it's not really considered a revolution. But the Confederate states thought (and actually rightly so) that they weren't being represented properly in the government and tried to succeed. When the colonists did that with Britain, it was considered a revolution...wonder why we don't think of the Civil War the same way.

  26. Even with all the guillotining in the French Revolution, I really prefer to read about the American Revolution.


  27. I would enjoy the American Revolution to imagine what my ancestors lived through, but the French seems more glamorous for some reason. I would love the chance to win The Tory Widow!
    marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

  28. I figured everyone would say the American Revolution but to me the most interesting Revolution is the Russian Revolution. Which was the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty by Lenin. It continues to intrigue me. Even when the found out that Anna Anderson was not the Tsarina Anastasia. Very interesting stuff.

  29. As an American, the American Revolution has the most significance to me, but I also enjoy reading about the Russian Revolution. Thanks!
    bluebyrd24 at gmail dot com

  30. No contest. I'm an American and so for everything it's given me, The American Revolution is my personal favorite.

    Thanks for the contest.
    Sararush at hotmail dot com

  31. My first response would be the American Revolution, because I have spent a lot of time studying it and enjoy the characters in that history. But I also like a little about the French Revoultion.

  32. I would pick the American Revolution as my favorite.

  33. I think the French Revolution had the most scoundrels and rogues. "Let them eat cake"... could there have been a more dispassionate response to starving people? I would have guillotined a few folks myself :p