Nonfiction Monday: Henry and the Cannons

In the winter of 1775 General George Washington’s army was outside Boston. The British army held the city and the Patriots were powerless to drive them out because they had no cannons. There were cannon at Fort Ticonderoga, 300 miles away. However, that was a journey across difficult terrain in the middle of winter. It seemed impossible.

But not to Henry Knox, a Boston bookseller. Henry traveled to Fort Ticonderoga and with the help of a small group of men brought 59 cannons back to Boston. It took 50 days to cross those 300 miles. They had to go by boat, by ox cart and by foot. They crossed frozen rivers and high mountains. They dealt with mud and ice and snow. Still, they made it without a single cannon being lost (even after one fell through the ice into a frozen river).

Henry and the Cannons is a great story of perseverance. I also like that it highlights one of the less well-known episodes of a much more well-known story in history. The illustrations are mostly of a muted brown, blue or green palette which fits well with the story. A small quibble, the faces  of the men were odd to me. They look almost leonine which was slightly distracting to me. A slightly larger quibble was that I wished for more details about the story. Why did Henry Knox think that he could take on this impossible task? What did Knox go on to do after this endeavor? I would have enjoyed the inclusion of a page or two of extra material that might have more fully fleshed out Henry Knox as a person. However, overall we enjoyed this new book by Don Brown and it would make a great addition to a Revolutionary War study.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Wendie’s Wanderings. 

3 thoughts on “Nonfiction Monday: Henry and the Cannons

  1. What a great idea for a book. That is the way to teach history. I bet the boys remember Henry Knox for a long time. In case you did not follow up on your questions about him: He was big–tall and fat. At the time of the retrieval of the cannons, he was a junior officer and 25 years old. It apparently was his idea to go get them. He became one of Washington’s most trusted generals and was later Secretary of War in Washington’s cabinet.

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