Liberty-Loving Lafayette

How ‘America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman’ Helped Win Our Independence

Young Adult - Non-Fiction
63 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2021
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Author Biography

Dorothea Jensen is proud to be one of very few people who has boarded a pirate ship and attacked a dragon-prowed Viking vessel manned by real, horn-wearing Vikings. She was born in Boston, but grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois, site of the Viking adventure. She earned a BA in English from Carleton College and an MA in Education from the University of New Mexico. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America, taught middle and high school English, tutored refugees in ESL, written grant proposals for various arts and history non-profits, written one play performed in Noh style, and another celebrating Lafayette's Farewell Tour performed at Old Sturbridge Village.

Her first historical novel for young readers, THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM, has been used in classrooms for many years as an enrichment resource for studying the American Revolution. Her second, A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, is set during General Lafayette's Farewell Tour of America (1824-5) in the small town in New Hampshire where she has lived since 1991.

In addition, Dorothea writes modern Christmas stories in verse. Modeled on the 19th century classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” these award-winning illustrated story poems feature the decidedly 21st century Izzy Elves.

During the 2020 pandemic she wrote LIBERTY-LOVING LAFAYETTE: HOW “AMERICA’S FAVORITE FIGHTING FRENCHMAN” HELPED WIN OUR INDEPENDENCE. For this unique work, Dorothea combined her knowledge of history and her delight in versifying to create a short, playful rhyming narrative about Lafayette’s role in our Revolution

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

In the wonderfully conceived and magnificently presented Liberty-Loving Lafayette: How 'America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman' Helped Win Our Independence, Dorothea Jensen presents her theme in visuals and verse, alternating them page by page as she traces Gilbert’s (Lafayette’s) dedicated involvement in America’s Revolutionary War. The visuals are mostly color prints of classic museum paintings of persons and places in the full regalia of the time. The fashion styles are nothing but mind-blowing not only of Lafayette but of King George III, Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI, and many others. There are also battle scenes with everything chronologically presented. On opposite pages are poems consisting of mostly iambic, rhymed couplets that often raise a smile with some intrusions of modern slang (bro, good to go) that will appeal to the present generation.

If I were a high school teacher presenting American history, this amazing volume would be center front on my desk regarding not only Lafayette but a collection of the war’s other players; Washington, Silas Dean, Rochambeau, and Benedict Arnold. And battles too—Brandywine, Gloucester, Barren Hill, Monmouth, Newport Bay, and Yorktown. And when my students finished with the pictures and verse, I’d refer them to the glossary and scholarly notes at the end. It’s as clear as the Liberty Bell that Dorothea Jensen breathes the history of our colonial period, and her reverence for and joy in the subject will inspire anyone who opens her superb presentation. Besides the history, Liberty-Loving Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen is a joy for the senses that will bring the foundation of our liberty marching proudly to the fore.

Daniel D Staats

Are you tired of boring history books? Many young students and teens, in general, will say, “History is boring!” That excuse is now gone. Dorothea Jensen has hit a home run in Liberty Loving Lafayette: How ‘America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman’ Helped Win Our Independence. She gives history a nice twist. She wrote the highlights of Lafayette’s part in the War for American Independence in verse. Rhyming words make the poem complete. She has made history fun for everyone. Dorothea is a former schoolteacher who knows how to get and retain a student’s attention. Her text is complemented by the addition of historical portraits from the Revolutionary period. She has carefully chosen the paintings to accentuate the text to keep the reading lively. Even those who do not normally care for history will take delight in reading this book written in honor of Lafayette.

Do you love history, but are tired of reading the same boring facts? You will welcome Dorothea Jensen’s Liberty Loving Lafayette. Dorothea covers the involvement of Marquis de Lafayette from his first interest in helping the American colonies win their independence from Great Britain to his last tour of the new country in 1825. Not only is this book historically accurate, but it is also very entertaining. She does not use typical text which many young people find is a turn-off to history. She uses delightful verse to keep history interesting. This book is an easy-to-read book that draws the reader to turn the page and continue to read. Dorothea is truly inspired in her use of verse. As a historian, it is my opinion that this book is a terrific addition to the vast number of books that tell the history of the Revolution