A Fresh Look at Freedom: Russell Shorto

We discuss the American Revolution through six different pairs of eyes with acclaimed historian and journalist, Russell Shorto, author of the new book, "Revolution Song."


This episode examines the meaning of freedom in a fresh new light and has special resonance during the week of Thanksgiving. 


As he did with "The Island at the Center of the World," which looked at the Dutch impact on Manhattan and the founding of the nation, this book examines American values, drawing deeply on diaries, letters and autobiographies to flesh out six important lives. They include an African-American man who freed himself and his family from slavery, a Seneca tribal warrior who became a wise and respected political leader, and George Washington himself. 


When he began working on "Revolution Song" six years ago, "I thought I was doing history," Russell tells us. "I thought these things were long ago settled. I didn't think I would be living in a time when freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of speech would be even debatable or under attack."


"The intertwined stories of "Revolution Song" give a sense of how far-reaching a phenomenon the War of Independence was," wrote a book reviewer recently in the New York Times.

Russell Shorto makes the case that the Revolution is still being fought today and its ideals are worth defending.