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Listen My Children

Sometimes you wonder. Having been told by a Democrat that if we had "screwed up" at Saratoga we would today have national health insurance, I suppressed a number of reactions that came to mind by deciding to start smoking again. One was to suggest that if anyone needed health insurance, it could easily be obtained. Another was to ask just who constitutes "we." Yet another was to suggest that if my friend had studied the history of the Revolutionary War, he would know that it was won in the South. And still another was to speculate that if his mother had known who his father was, it would still be a long way to Tipperary.

But of course we all engage in historical speculations, consider "might-have-beens," and somehow acknowledge the contingency of history in the way we try to connect with it. We would do better if we knew what we were talking about, which brings us to the subject at hand. Apparently, everyone has heard of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, but no one knows much about it—not until Professor Fischer got on his horse.

His remarkable book is especially welcome just now, and I think the author knows it. He is certainly not unaware of trends involving the reinterpretation of history, particularly American history. He seems to have voted with his computer and his professional allegiance against Walt Disney, Ken Burns, multiculturalism, and the studied neglect of our history by...

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