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A Novel of the American Revolution

Written by Jeff ShaaraAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jeff Shaara


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On Sale: July 06, 2011
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-0-345-47850-4
Published by : Ballantine Books Ballantine Group

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Jeff Shaara dazzled readers with his bestselling novels Gods and Generals, The Last Full Measure, and Gone for Soldiers. Now the acclaimed author who illuminated the Civil War and the Mexican-American War brilliantly brings to life the American Revolution, creating a superb saga of the men who helped to forge the destiny of a nation.

In 1770, the fuse of revolution is lit by a fateful command—“Fire!”—as England’s peacekeeping mission ignites into the Boston Massacre. The senseless killing of civilians leads to a tumultuous trial in which lawyer John Adams must defend the very enemy who has assaulted and abused the laws he holds sacred.

The taut courtroom drama soon broadens into a stunning epic of war as King George III leads a reckless and corrupt government in London toward the escalating abuse of his colonies. Outraged by the increasing loss of their liberties, an extraordinary gathering of America’s most inspiring characters confronts the British presence with the ideals that will change history.

John Adams, the idealistic attorney devoted to the law, who rises to greatness by the power of his words . . . Ben Franklin, one of the most celebrated men of his time, the elderly and audacious inventor and philosopher who endures firsthand the hostile prejudice of the British government . . . Thomas Gage, the British general given the impossible task of crushing a colonial rebellion without starting an all-out war . . . George Washington, the dashing Virginian whose battle experience in the French and Indian War brings him the recognition that elevates him to command of a colonial army . . . and many other immortal names from the Founding Family of the colonial struggle—Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Joseph Warren, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee— captured as never before in their full flesh-and-blood humanity.

More than a powerful portrait of the people and purpose of the revolution, Rise to Rebellion is a vivid account of history’s most pivotal events. The Boston Tea Party, the battles of Concord and Bunker Hill—all are recreated with the kind of breathtaking detail only a master like Jeff Shaara can muster. His most impressive achievement, Rise to Rebellion reveals with new immediacy how philosophers became fighters, ideas their ammunition, and how a scattered group of colonies became the United States of America.



March 5, 1770

He had been in Boston for nearly eighteen months, had come ashore with the rest of His Majesty’s Twenty-ninth Regiment after a miserable journey down from Halifax. The troops had been summoned to the boats by their commander, General Thomas Gage, had been told only that they were going to the Massachusetts colony to maintain the peace. Few had any idea how that peace might be threatened, and nearly all saw the journey as an escape from the lonely isolation of the king’s most northern port. When they finally marched out of the cramped warships, they moved into a town where the people did not welcome them, did not provide homes or hospitality. Now, after nearly two years, the conflicts between the citizens of Boston and the soldiers had become more than the unpleasant argument, the occasional barroom brawl. The discipline of the troops had begun to slip; men became frustrated by the hostility around them, the taunts and minor assaults, and when the officers were not close, many of the soldiers had begun to strike back. The citizens had responded to the anger of the troops with anger of their own, and gangs of young men armed with clubs and the occasional saber began to patrol the dark alleys outside the pubs and meeting places of the soldiers. The fights were more numerous now and were sometimes bloody. While the local magistrates were quick to arrest and prosecute, both sides protected their own, and no one had any illusion that the law could protect the innocent. Inspired by the newspapermen, who presented each incident in passionate detail, playing up the seething hostility, the citizens were more and more restless, fueling the growing anger toward the British troops. To many civilians, this military occupation was oppressive, and even those most loyal to the policies of London recognized that the presence of the troops was dangerous; with the right spark, the minor disturbances could explode into a bloody disaster.

His name was Hugh White, and he had served in the Twenty-ninth Regiment for nearly three years. He had little ambition, had no particular designs on promotion, considered the corporal above him to be a far better soldier. He rarely spoke to the officers, was not a face or a name that anyone would ever single out. But today, he had been singled out, given a job that most in his company would dread. The duty was not for punishment of some indiscreet act. It was simply his turn. And so he stood guard in front of the Custom House, shivering against the sharp cold in a small wooden guardhouse, standing sentry to a place that would rarely attract attention.

He moved around as much as the cramped space would allow, touched the walls on three sides of him, felt the rough cold wood. His fingers were numb, and he flexed them, then pushed one hand hard inside his coat. He glanced out beyond the guardhouse and saw only a few citizens moving quickly through the cold, ignoring him. He cast a glance down toward his hidden hand bulging in his coat, flexed his fingers again, worried about being seen. He thought of the drill the week before, the sergeant scolding the men to keep their decorum, maintain their dignity, especially on guard duty. That meant hands by your side. He eased his head outside the guardhouse, looked toward the doorway of the Custom House, saw no one, felt relief. Perhaps even that old sergeant would understand, he thought. It’s just too cold. He put his other hand inside the rough wool, pulled his arms up tight. He blew out a sharp breath, thinking that if he stood up stiff the way they told him to, his fingers would probably fall off.

The musket leaned up against the wall close beside him, a light glaze of frost on the black steel. The guardhouse was really only a narrow box, not much larger than an upright coffin. But it kept away the awful bite of the wind, the sharp cold that blew deep into your bones.

Early that morning, the assignment of guard duty had made him smile, and if the others laughed and teased him, he had only thought of relieving the boredom of the barracks. Now he imagined what the others were doing, playing cards, the profane talk. His father had warned him of the bad influences, and he could still see his mother’s tear-stained face, watching as her boy marched away to join this army. She didn’t want me to go, he thought. They expected me to work that land, still expect me to just come home and be a farmer, like them. They don’t know anything else. He remembered the look on their faces when he had come home, the brief visit before the Twenty-ninth had boarded the great ship to sail West. He had stood tall, waited as his father moved around him, inspecting the uniform, even touching the dull red coat, could still see his mother’s shock, her young boy now grown into this soldier. Their response had disappointed him. They had not seemed as proud as he had expected, seemed more worried instead, gave him more sharp scolding to keep himself clean, to avoid the awful deadly temptations that only a parent fears. I wish they could see me now, he thought. This is important, guarding the Custom House.

He hadn’t even been inside the building, but he knew the rumors. There was supposed to be a huge vault filled with silver, the customs duties paid by the ships as they brought their goods into the port from England or from the islands far to the south. He hoped it was true, had no reason to doubt the importance of his duty, was proud of his responsibility, guarding the king’s currency. If those chaps back in the barracks knew how much this post means to the king, they wouldn’t laugh, they’d be out here, doing the duty. He glanced at the musket, then out again to the wide street, the hard-packed ice and snow, heard the stiff breeze whistling through the cracks in the crude wooden walls of the guardhouse. He wanted to drift away, tried to imagine the scene: Private White, holding away the bandits with his bayonet, ordering the riffraff to move away, and his mind spoke out, the voice loud and firm, In the name of the king . . .

He shivered now, and the image would not stay. He wriggled his fingers again, glanced toward the street once more. The locals didn’t much care for them, he knew. He wasn’t educated in politics; few of the private soldiers were. They had been surprised at the hostility from many of the citizens, and when they had marched away from the ships, they had been told that they would have to camp on Boston Common, since there were no open doors for them in private homes. But camping outdoors in tents could be deadly through the New England winter, and the commanders had struggled frantically to find accommodations. Finally, those in the town whom the officers called Tories and who did not seem so resentful of the troops began to open their doors, leasing buildings and warehouses, some even renting out their own homes. Now two winters had passed, and the duty was mostly monotonous, painfully boring. He had spent much of his time simply standing at drill in the common, marching in formation, parading in line down the side streets. He stamped his cold feet and wondered why so many of these people hated the British so. All we do is march around.

Many of the soldiers had begun to seek part-time work in the town, some spending their off-duty hours working jobs that would ease the boredom and provide a little more cash than their low army pay. But there was resentment for that as well, the citizens protesting that the troops were taking valuable jobs badly needed by the men of Boston. It was not long before the resentment turned violent. He had seen some of the fights, most inspired by strong drink, a sudden and accidental confrontation in an alley or outside a pub. But the violence had continued to grow, the fights larger, and men on both sides had seemed to organize just a bit, small gangs of citizens and troops, both looking for some satisfaction, some way to relieve the constant hostility. He had seen the man with the bloody wound, three nights ago, the first real wound he had ever seen. He thought of the man—John Rodgers, another young private—his skull split open. The anger in the barracks had brought the officers in, stern words, threats of punishment. But even the soldiers who had not been a part of the fights knew that there would be more violence.

He had endured the insults himself, knew better than to walk the streets alone, even off duty, out of uniform. He still didn’t understand the anger. We’re just keeping the peace. He said the words again in his mind, the first orders he had heard, even before they left the ship. Keep the peace.

He moved his legs, stepped in place, tried to relieve the numbness in his feet. He leaned out past the protection of the guardhouse, felt a stiff breeze on his face, pulled back inside. It’s pretty peaceful tonight. Too cold for the officers, that’s certain. They’re all inside, probably eating their hot food. He could see the main guard building, and down the street the headquarters for His Majesty’s forces. He felt a rumble in his stomach, began to think of the supper that waited for him back in the barracks. He could use a cup of tea right now. He tried to imagine the steam rolling up on his face, but the wind suddenly blew hard against the guardhouse, and now he could hear something else, voices, shouts. He leaned outside again, saw a group of men moving in the street, turning toward the Custom House. He watched them, counted maybe a dozen, then saw more men coming around a corner a block down the street. He had been warned about the gangs, all the troops understanding that they were targets for the bands of rough young men. He shivered again, made two tight fists inside his coat, watched the men moving across the street, coming closer to the Custom House. Now the voices were clear, and he saw one man point at him, felt his heart jump in his chest. They began to move straight toward the guardhouse, straight toward him. He pulled his hands from his coat, reached down, gripped the musket, leaned it up on his shoulder. Make a good show, he thought. No one will get past. They will not dare. He watched them move closer, realized they were young, teens perhaps, saw one bend down, scooping up the snow, rolling an icy ball in his hands. There were more shouts, and suddenly the boy threw the snowball at the guardhouse. White flinched, heard the dull smack against the wall, felt his heart pounding, said aloud, “Move along now. This is no place for play.”

The faces were all looking at him, and he expected to see smiles, the playfulness of boys, but there was something new, unexpected, anger, and now more snowballs began to fly. The boys moved closer, their aim more true, and he felt a splatter of snow against his chest. The laughter came, but they did not move away, the fun was not over.

White stepped outside the cover of the guardhouse, felt his own anger rising, looked at the faces, the voices jeering, calling out to him. One boy suddenly lunged closer, and White watched his hands, expecting something, another snowball, but the boy said, “What kind of man are you? A filthy lobster-back!”

White tried to ignore the boy, glanced again at the door of the Custom House, saw the door open slightly, faces peering out, the door closing again. White began to move toward the steps at the doorway, but the boy jumped in front of him, close, reached out and grabbed at the uniform, began to shout, “Dirty lobster-back,” and White swung the musket around, the butt striking the boy’s face. The boy fell backward, a sharp cry, and now there was silence from the mob as White stared at the boy. My God, stop this. He moved up the steps of the Custom House, close to the doorway, saw the young faces watching him, could see out past the mob now, more men coming forward, older men, some in suits, staying back, watching. He felt his hands shaking, tried to grip the musket, shouted, “Leave this place! Move away!”

The injured boy was crying, shrieking, “You dirty scoundrel! I’ll see you dead!”

The voices began to answer, more curses, the boys moving closer again. The snowballs resumed, hitting the door of the Custom House, and suddenly something dark flew past his head, a thick piece of wood, making a sharp cracking sound against the wooden door behind him. He shouted again, “Back! Stay back!”

He could feel his hands shaking, the icy numbness giving way to a rising wave of fear. The jeers from the mob were growing louder, and the officer’s words suddenly came to him again: Keep the peace. He clamped the musket under one arm, his hands still shaking, reached inside the cartridge box at his waist. He felt the stiff paper with his numb fingers, fought through the pounding in his chest, the training taking hold, the fear giving way to the deliberate motion. He tore at the tip of the paper cartridge, poured powder into the pan at the breech, clamped down the lock. He set the butt of the musket down on the step, slowly slid the cartridge into the barrel of the musket, prodded it down the long barrel with the ramrod. Now he pulled out the bayonet, slid it hard on the barrel, a sharp twist, and lowered the barrel, pointed it out toward the crowd. His heart was racing, and he felt a surge of strength, the fear growing into raw excitement. He expected to see the fear in their faces, the respect for the soldier with the loaded musket, the great strength of the army, but the voices were louder still, and now another stick struck the door behind him. He could see more sticks, the crowd moving slowly forward, one voice shouting, “Shoot us! Go ahead, shoot us! You coward! Shoot us and be damned!”

From the Paperback edition.
Jeff Shaara

About Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara - Rise to Rebellion

Photo © Laurie Lane

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure–two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize—winning classic The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.


“A rousing novel recounting the events that led to the Declaration of Independence.”
—The Washington Times

—The New York Post

“A PANORAMA OF EVENTS, MOTIVATIONS, AND EMOTIONS . . . By telling the story of the American republic through this compressed cast of characters, [Shaara] creates an easy intimacy. . . . Here the chief eyes through which Shaara portrays history belong to Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, and the commander of British forces in the colonies, Gen. Thomas Gage. . . . The binding threads of Shaara’s story are the insights he adds, through imagination and research, into the personalities that shaped events. . . . Engaging.”
—The Christian Science Monitor

—St. Petersburg Times

“SHAARA’S BEST BOOK SINCE GODS AND GENERALS . . . A compelling, finely researched work that brings readers a better understanding of the men, events, and times that led to American independence . . . A book that may be fiction but is so well-researched that it will enhance anyone’s understanding of those revolutionary times and events. For Jeff Shaara, it is a battle well-won.”
—Greensboro News & Record

—Library Journal

“Shaara artfully blends ‘story’ and ‘history.’ His novels about the Civil War, Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, brought that seminal conflict to life as few works of fiction have. He now applies the same eye for character and detail to the period leading up to the first year of the Revolutionary War. . . . If you want a very readable refresher on what lies behind the Fourth of July, here’s your book.”
—The Christian Science Monitor

“The dialogue is crisp, sounds authentic, rings true. . . . The problem with historical fiction is that the reader already knows how the story will end, so the best writers provide something more, retelling the story as the participants themselves experienced it. In this Shaara excels. . . . A splendid account of the hardening of a people who believed in an idea worth risking the loss, in their words, of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.”
—Trenton Times

“Good historical fiction . . . [A] cast featuring John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and British commander Thomas Gage has inspired Shaara to produce lively text. Some passages are frankly magnificent.”
Morning Star-Telegram (Ft. Worth, TX)

“Masterful . . . Once more breathing vigor and passion into the dusty annals of history, [Jeff Shaara] demonstrates an ever-growing level of literary competence in the first installment of his projected two-volume saga of the American Revolution. . . . Richly embroidered with portraits of such heroes as Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson, the tapestry chronicles America’s plunge toward liberty.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Sweeping and turbulent, Rise to Rebellion rarely fails to satisfy the reader who appreciates historical fiction done with style, accuracy, sensitivity, and analytical skill. If there were questions about whether Shaara would live up to his literary pedigree, this should be the book to finally silence the doubters.”
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Teachers: If you'd like a printable version of this guide, download the PDF attachment at the bottom of this page.

Jeff Shaara’s historical fiction books can be read by students of history and literature not only for its historical merit but also for its exceptional prose. The reader of the Shaara novels will soon realize that although much of the dialog is his own creation, the books are historically accurate. Every event, every character, indeed, every page has been researched extensively and reflects the amount of scholarship Shaara has put into each novel.

Autobiographies, biographies, history textbooks, newspapers and periodicals may seem to do the same thing, but historical fiction adds an element that the others do not. The creation of dialog separates historical fiction from historical non-fiction. Jeff Shaara utilizes primary sources of information: journals, letters, or other reliable printed materials that confirm lines that were actually spoken by the characters, but sometimes, he must look at all of the information available and make an educated guess as to what was said.


More than a powerful portrait of the people and purpose of the revolution, RISE TO REBELLION is a vivid account of history's most pivotal events. The Boston Tea Party, the battles of Concord and Bunker Hill are all recreated with the kind of breathtaking detail only a master like Jeff Shaara can write. His most impressive achievement, RISE TO REBELLION reveals with new immediacy how philosophers became fighters, ideas their ammunition, and how a scattered group of colonies became the United States of America.


This section of the guide divides Rise to Rebellion into chapter-based reading assignments. It also provides brief questions for use in classroom discussion or journal writing.

1.What qualities and experiences does George Washington have that will be useful as the future leader of the Continental Army?
2.What difficulties might Ben Franklin face when he returns to the colonies after being in England for ten years?
3.What part does John Adams seem qualified to play in the upcoming rebellion?

Chapter 1
1.What effect does Jeff Shaara produce by telling the story of the Boston Massacre through the eyes of a British soldier?
2.The Boston Massacre was one of the events used to rally the colonists to rebel against British rule. Why is this ironic?

Chapter 2
1.How does this chapter show John Adams’s unshakable belief in the importance of law as being necessary for a civilized society? Find a quotation that proves this.
2.According to Sam Adams why was the Boston Massacre necessary?
3.In Chapter 2 we are introduced to two men who will be instrumental in the Rise to Rebellion, Sam Adams and John Adams. What do you think each man’s role will be?

Chapters 3-5
1.Gov. Hutchinson was given his position by the King of England, as were all governors at this time. Why could this become a problem for the colonists?
2.What does Franklin realize about English attitudes after his conversations with Dr. Johnson?
3.Why is it so important to Adams that Preston receives a fair trial? How does he hope details of the trials will be handled in England?

Chapters 6-8
1.When Hillsborough refuses to recognize Franklin as a representative of the people of Massachusetts, he is setting a precedent that will have an enormous impact on the colonists. What is it? How is Franklin’s reaction to Hillsborough’s announcement a type of foreshadowing?
2.What economic plan does Gage have that will prevent the colonists from becoming independent of England’s goods? What is your reaction to Gage’s statements in the last paragraph on page 83?
3.How does Franklin’s visit to the back roads of Ireland enlighten him as to the English way of thinking?

Chapters 9-12
1.What event causes John Adams to address the town meeting? Why does he feel it is so important for him to speak at this time? What is the gist of his speech?
2.Franklin and Adams, who up until now seem to be involved in two separate plots, become united in the same plot and one large step is taken in the "rise to rebellion.” How does this happen?
3.How is the reality different from the expectations Gage has of coming back to England? What does this seem to foreshadow for Gage?

Chapters 13-16
1. The plan of the British is to send tea directly to the colonists from the East Indian Tea Company owned by Britain, thus allowing the colonists to purchase tea more cheaply than they can purchase it from the smugglers. Why do the Sons of Liberty view this as unacceptable?

2. Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen detail the events leading up to and including the famous Boston Tea Party and, once again, author Jeff Shaara uses an Englishman’s point of view rather than a colonist’s. What effect is achieved by seeing the Boston Tea Party through the eyes of Captain Hall? Use a quotation from Captain Hall in your answer.

Chapter 17-19
1.How does Franklin see his treatment at the hearing as a “symptom of the great illness that is still spreading between the crown and its colonies”? (178).
2.Gage’s audience with King George results in Gage replacing Hutchinson as governor of Massachusetts, as well as remaining general of the King’s military in the colonies. Why does the king want the military and political leader to be the same person?
3.Why does Jeff Shaara use an unsavory character like Mr. Hayden to reveal the contents of the Boston Port Bill?

Chapters 20, 21
Discuss the differences in the reactions of Adams and Gage to the caravan of colonists bringing food and goods into Boston.

Chapters 22, 23
At this point what do the delegates from the colonies hope to accomplish by meeting together?

Chapters 24-26
1.When the delegates leave Philadelphia, what policies have been agreed upon?
2.Does Franklin’s friend in England, Strahan, correctly read the character and influence of Thomas Paine from what you know of history?
3.The introduction of Lord Chatham, AKA William Pitt, the “Great Commoner,” provides the reader with a different viewpoint from others who hold power in England. How is his thinking different and why does he visit Franklin? What are the results of his speech?

Chapters 27, 28
1.At the end of this chapter, Gen. Gage receives an official dispatch from England that specifically orders him to do what?
2.All Americans today are somewhat familiar with Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington. Does Jeff Shaara adequately describe this famous ride within the scope of the novel? Why or why not?

Chapters 29, 30
1.List the problems Pitcairn faces as he attempts to march his troops to Lexington.
2.The battle of Lexington is the third major event that will eventually contribute to the colonists’ rebellion, and once again, Shaara tells this major historical event through the eyes of Pitcairn, an English major. Do you think Shaara is making a conscious effort to do this, or is it just a coincidence? Have your reasons changed as to why Shaara chooses this type of narration?
3.What proposal does Dr. Warren bring to Gen. Gage and what is Gage’s answer to his proposal?

Chapter 31
1.Are you surprised at the descriptions of George Washington in this section? Why or why not?
2.Do you think John Hancock would have made a good choice for the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army? What about Sam Adams? Why or why not?

Chapter 32, 33
1.The reader almost seems to be a silent witness at the strategy meeting between the four British generals. How does Shaara accomplish this, and what feeling does the reader come away with after this meeting?
2.Discuss your reaction to the battle scenes in Chapter 33. How does Shaara bring this scene to life? Find and list examples of figurative language that Shaara uses.

Chapters 34 -36
1.What are some of the problems General Washington faces as he comes face to face with his new army?
2.Is Ben Franklin actually willing to turn his back on anything and anyone, including his family in order to fight for independence? Find a quotation to support your answer.
3.Did King George treat General Gage fairly or unfairly? Support your answer with reasons why the King should or should not have replaced Gage.

Chapters 37-38
1.What bad news does Franklin deliver to General Washington?
2.What metaphor does Sam Adams use to explain to John Adams the attitudes of the congress?
3.Abigail Adams makes some interesting points to her husband about the future government of the colonies. Discuss two of her points and the validity of them.

Chapters 39, 40
1.What does Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” provide for the American cause that has been lacking until now?
2.Discuss some of the problems Washington faces in this chapter.

Chapter 41
In the section beginning on page 485 and ending at the bottom of page 489, Jeff Shaara distinctly changes his prose style. His sentences are either shorter, or they are broken up more into phrases surrounded by commas. The dialog also consists of much shorter phrases. What effect is Shaara trying to produce in the reader? Is he successful?

Chapter 42
Although Richard Henry Lee’s resolution seems to be favorably received, it is not yet passed. Why not?

Chapters 43, 44
Are the descriptions of Thomas Jefferson and his writing of the Declaration of Independence what you expected? Why or why not?

Chapter 45
The novel ends as Washington observes Howe’s troops entering the waters of New York. The Declaration of Independence has just been read to the crowds and military in New York, and King George’s statue has been destroyed. Is this a satisfactory place for Jeff Shaara to conclude Rise to Rebellion? Why or why not?

1. Although Gage is never again a part of the American Revolution as a general, he
continues to serve as what? Where can you find a portrait on display of Thomas Gage?
3.Who keeps defeating Sam Adams for the governorship of Massachusetts? Is Adams
ever elected?
4.What two surprising facts did you learn about John Dickinson?
5.Do Franklin and Strahan ever meet again after Franklin leaves England? What did Ben Franklin leave his son William in his will? Who preserved and published Ben Franklin’s work?
6.List three things you learned about Thomas Paine from the afterword.
7.What three interesting items did Paul Revere manufacture?
8.How many signatures are on the Declaration of Independence?
Where can one see the original document? What two noteworthy men did NOT sign? Why not?


Order of Events: These events significantly contributed to the colonists’ Rise to Rebellion. Students should be able to thoroughly discuss the causes and effects of these events.

1.Townshend Act
2.Stamp Act
3.Troops sent to Boston — Quartering Act
4.Boston Massacre
5.Gaspee Incident
6.Judges appointed and paid by king
7.Hutchinson Letters sent to Sons of Liberty
8.Tea Tax
9.Boston Tea Party
10.Intolerable/Coercive Acts
Closing the Port of Boston
Troops not tried in America–sent to Britain
Troops can take over homes/ taverns
11.1st Continental Congress
12.Continental Association
13.Suffolk Resolves
14.2nd Continental Congress
15.Gage ordered to arrest Leaders of Sons of Liberty
16.Battle of Lexington — First Blood
17.Battle of Concord
18.Gage sent more troops
19.Fort Ticonderoga captured by Americans
20.Continental Army organized–George Washington selected as General of troops
21.Battle of Breed’s Hill/Bunker Hill
22.Burning of Falmouth by British
23.Rejection of Olive Branch Petition — King’s fall address
24.Burning of Norfolk
25.Declaration of Independence

Lines from Leaders
A good author attempts to give each character his or her own “voice.”
Students should study the quotations below and name the leader who is speaking, the circumstances of which he is speaking, and the importance of his words.
1.“There is still law here. And no matter who is to blame, whether this disaster was born from evil intent or blind foolishness, if the mob gains control, then God help us.”
2.“If this man claims to be innocent, he is entitled under the law and under the judgment of God, to be heard.”
3.“You understand the king’s law, the colonist’s law, even God’s law better than anyone I know. But I’m afraid, dear ******, you don’t understand people…. There is an awful danger when the people become accustomed to tyranny.”
4.“You do not heal radicals. You hang them.”
5.“We don’t need God, Captain. We need one more witness.”
6.“I was too far removed from the people. I had no idea how the act would be received there. I didn’t really understand it myself.”
7.“The very thought that they could stand united, that they could pretend to be one people, strike out at the king’s authority, rid themselves of our influence, is, truly astounding. But the sanity has returned. The power of the empire has prevailed.”
8.“But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in this room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.”
9.“No one had designed an acceptable plan for how the Americans would govern themselves.”
10.“Yes, I understand. Nothing will come easy. There will be a cost. But…we have done our work. We are prepared.”


1.The letters of John and Abigail Adams were one of Shaara’s main sources for his book. Have students study some of these letters and write an essay on what they found. A good web site for the letters is http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/letter/. This is a good time to have students write their own letters about an event of local or national significance that has happened within their lifetimes.
2.The Boston Massacre has been one of the most discussed and debated events of the American Revolution. Students can read the original newspaper articles and the court transcripts from this event at the web site http://www.bostonmassacre.net/. Reading these articles should generate numerous activities for the classroom. Students can reenact the trial, discuss propaganda (see Paul Revere’s engraving), and learn about point of view.
3.The burning of the Gaspee was an extremely important event, yet little attention has been given to this in history books. Visit the website http://www.gaspee.org/ to view the archives about this example of a community that rose up against the British. Some possible writing assignments could center on civil disobedience.
4.The sayings of Ben Franklin continue to interest students. The following websites are excellent for classes to visit and learn more about this man and his words.
http://sln.fi.edu/franklin/printer/abc.html http://www.scsc.k12.ar.us/2000backeast/Trip/Members/WarnerL/Default.htm http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/quotable/quote07.htm,
5.Students can read Jefferson’s account of the events leading up to and including the writing of the Declaration of Independence at http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/index.htm.
6.This website also includes a brief biographical sketch of each of the signers, a picture of the house where the document was written, and descriptions of significant events and people.


This guide was written by Chris Boone Cleveland, who received her BS and MA degrees in English Education from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has taught at the middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. She currently teaches at Covington High School in Covington, Indiana. She would like to dedicate this teacher’s guide to her 2003 literature class (members of the Covington Class of 2005) who served as her test subjects for Rise to Rebellion, and according to her, “Had a few rebellious moments of their own, yet managed to rise to the occasion and become the hard-working, dedicated students she knew they could be.”

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide

  • Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara
  • June 29, 2004
  • Fiction - Historical; Fiction
  • Ballantine Books
  • $15.95
  • 9780345427540

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