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Clothing and supplying the early colonial militias, and later, the Continental Army, was a constant struggle. Connecticut, arguably more than any other state, provided the resources necessary for the newborn nation to win and defend its independence from England, earning it the nickname, "The Provision State. The state "played a paramount role in the struggle for national liberty," wrote Danbury judge and historian J.

Moss Ives in When the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in April , the vast majority of Connecticut's residents were farmers. Under the leadership of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull , the state quickly rallied 3, men to fight in six regiments of the newly formed Continental Army under George Washington on June For the next eight years, while war raged in surrounding colonies, Connecticut enjoyed relative peace, though it did have several notable raids and battles.

All the while, the state's manufacturers and farmers continued to churn out goods and livestock. The isolation imposed by the war meant that those goods could no longer be traded abroad, so much of what Connecticut produced ended up supplying the war effort. When war broke out, British ships blocked trade routes to the Caribbean, leaving Connecticut farmers and merchants with "plenty of foodstuffs and livestock to sell to the Continental Army. It wasn't just Connecticut's relative abundance of goods, but its unique political climate that left the state poised to jump into the war early on, said State Historian Walt Woodward.

The royal charter of "effectively had given Connecticut independence more than years before the American Revolution" and allowed the state to organize itself differently from other colonies, all of which, except for Rhode Island, were still under tight British control. As the other colonies scrambled to appoint leaders and write constitutions after declaring independence, Rhode Island and Connecticut just adapted their charters to grant power to the people rather than the King of England, making for an easy transition from colonial rule.

While Connecticut farmers supplied much of the food the Continental Army would require in its uprising against British troops, the state was also well-positioned to provide soldiers with the weapons of war, including ships. While munitions manufacturers were not yet industrialized, independent gunsmiths were the early precursors to Connecticut's later industrial gunmakers, such as Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt. Beyond the finished weapons, Connecticut also produced important weapons-grade raw materials: Long before he helped found the state of Vermont, and a decade before he led the successful capture of Fort Ticonderoga in New York in May , Ethan Allen co-owned an iron ore furnace in Salisbury, Conn.

The furnace produced more than cannon during the war, and the gunpowder and cannonballs used to fire at British troops were made in villages throughout Connecticut. A necessary ingredient in gunpowder, saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, was made from a months-long process that involved urine, which was in abundant supply on livestock farms. The reuse of animal waste to create saltpeter benefited not only the army, but the farmers.

Farmers also sold meat to the army, but those farmers "expected to be paid, and as Continental currency was devalued over the course of the war, the farmers got quite angry about it," Baron said. While the federal government printed paper currency, the states also issued their own money, which Baron described as "more like IOUs than anything else, and not always very widely accepted. As a result, colonists often carried an assortment of paper currency and coinage.

A notice published in the Connecticut Courant in by Joshua Briggs of Suffield offered a reward for a lost leather pocketbook containing "about One Hundred Dollars in Continental Money, eight or nine shillings, Rhode Island currency and two shillings in silver. Metal coins were the only currency that truly held its value, and the phrase "not worth a Continental" came about because of the federal dollar's dramatic decline. In contrast, Connecticut's currency "didn't deflate nearly so much" during the war, Collier said.

The declining value of currency left Connecticut farmers and merchants in a quandary. The French, who arrived in Newport and supported the colonies, would pay farmers in gold or silver, so "it became increasingly difficult for the men working for the State of Connecticut to be able to get livestock because they had to pay in paper currency that wasn't worth very much," Baron said.

But they also had a patriotic impulse to sell to the Continental armies for whatever they could get. Before the war, merchants' goods were largely imported from England. When full-blown war broke out in , all foreign imports of cloth were halted and an army's worth of soldiers needed to be clothed. McCain said colonists were forced to replace British cloth with homegrown textiles, and prolific spinners "came to be considered newsworthy as examples of feminine patriotism.

They find themselves stuck in a classic suburban nightmare of disenchantment with their circumstances and resentment of each other. The affection they do feel for each other comes and goes, mostly goes, as they wallow in their narcissism. She imagines a wondrous life I read this in anticipation of seeing the film. She imagines a wondrous life for them in Paris. He comes to realize that maybe he is, really, ordinary, and not the extraordinary person he has convinced himself and many around him that he is. There are themes here about character being revealed in how we cope with stress, with self awareness.

Ultimately April opts out, unable to cope. Frank attempts to adjust to his opportunities in the world when it becomes clear to him that his loftier, esoteric leanings were a form of self-delusion. All the characters here are pained. Perhaps the most overtly pained person is the institutionalized, violent son of a real estate agent. His role here is as truth teller. It has surprising relevance today, particularly if one sees it as a character study.

The mores of those times have hopefully passed. Abortion, while still frowned upon, is not illegal or as deadly as it was then. The characters here are also skewed a bit, with more detail being given to Frank, for example, than to April. We see inside his head quite a bit more and understand him better.

It does not make us like him any better. I could not see how she would reach such conclusion. Yes, I know people do this, have even swum those waters myself. But, while I may be missing something here. I found it a bit tough to swallow. Revolutionary Road is definitely an interesting piece of work, with a keen eye for self-delusion, and a larger-picture scan of an era.

Good stuff if you do not mind being a bit bummed out. It may encourage you to give a thought to how you might be kidding your self. And that makes it a worthwhile read. Most of this review was written in , but it was not posted then. I updated and posted it in December View all 27 comments. Mar 24, Navidad Thelamour rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rightfully a classic and will forever be one of my favorites.

Damn, that's good writing! The Navi Review Twitter Bookstagram. View all 12 comments. Nov 29, karen rated it really liked it Shelves: The competitive dynamics of suburbia are similarly exposed. Keeping up appearances is important, which is why, at the start of the novel, April is so upset at the debacle of the am dram. Plot This is the painfully insightful story of a youngish couple, with two small children, living in New England in the s. Both have lingering hurt and dysfunction from their childhoods, which exacerbates the slow and painful disintegration of their relationship.

April has the idea of a fresh start in Paris, where she will support Frank till he works out what he wants to do with his life. This exciting possibility and shared aim changes the dynamic of their lives. Caution but only a slight one Don't read this if you're in a long term relationship that is in difficulties, especially if you are stuck in a dull job as well: That caveat aside, it's not a depressing book: Passages about Frank's work, and especially his cavalier approach to sorting his In Tray pages 85 and made a great metaphor for his approach to life, laden with overtones of Kafka - a tough target, hit with panache - much like the whole book.

Yates Revival I read this just before the film came out because I wanted to see the film. I loved the book and enjoyed the film. Apparently the resurgence of Yates' popularity predates that and was prompted by this excellent article about him and his works: Sep 18, Peter Boyle rated it really liked it. It's the great sentimental lie of the suburbs But most of all it made me feel happy and relieved! On the surface, the Wheelers are a perfect suburban family and the embodiment of the American Dream. Frank commutes from their beautiful home to a well-paid job in New York city while April looks after their two adorable children.

But instead of being content, they feel trapped. They see themselves as better than their ordinary neighbours and the dull Connecticut surroundings. April devises a plan which will see the family move to Europe, so that Frank, a deep thinker, can find himself and they can leave this unfulfilling life behind. But fate and their own weaknesses conspire against them, and this dream soon turns into a horrible nightmare. They are not a particularly likable duo, the Wheelers.

Frank has an insufferably high opinion of himself and enjoys grandstanding with his latest philosophical musings.

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April meanwhile, is spoilt and self-important. And the thing is they don't even like each other - blazing rows are the norm and both of them are unfaithful over the course of the story. And yet Yates does a outstanding job of making us care for this complicated couple. He taps into those universal feelings of being misunderstood and underappreciated, as April tearfully admits: We just know this will not end well for the Wheelers and our fears are confirmed when tragedy eventually strikes.

Their harrowing predicament serves as a cautionary tale for anyone involved in a loveless, caustic relationship. It is a bleak and haunting book, full of rich insight and rightly hailed as a modern classic. Nov 11, David rated it really liked it. But, American Beauty aside, contemporary takes on suburbia tend to be much less tragic and portentous.

The practical, material resources are probably there—they are well educated at least Frank is , intelligent, they make a good impression, while not rich they are far from destitute. But they are hampered by all kinds of romantic illusions, illusions that keep them from coming up with a plausible escape plan, or making the most of the hand they are dealt.

They are tormented by the idea that they are not living up to their best selves and this is true but they have utterly self-deluding notions about what their best selves are or how to bring them into being. They are so afraid of being corrupted by their environment that they hold themselves aloof from the life around them. Their aversion is largely aesthetic, but the pop psychological and sociological theories they use to explain to themselves why they are alienated are inadequate to the task.

They want to lead lives of significance, but the best they can do is to concoct a vague and implausible scheme of moving to France, where the plan is for April to work as a secretary while Frank sits around the apartment trying to figure out what to do with himself. I mean, if they want to do something worthwhile with their lives, Frank could become a teacher, or, at the other end of the scale, go to work for the kind of high-powered advertising firm portrayed in Mad Men he graduated Columbia and has a way with words.

Yates is an extremely accomplished prose stylist. He has an extraordinary ability to make you feel like you are deep inside the consciousness of his characters while at the same time watching them from a great distance. And the central dilemma his characters face—how to live a worthwhile life in a world that often conspires against it—is not one that will go out of fashion any time soon. May 21, Maxwell rated it liked it Recommended to Maxwell by: This is definitely an "it's not you, it's me" book.

The writing was lovely. I thought he captured the setting, tone, etc. And I can imagine for its time, this book was pretty groundbreaking, and I can see why it's had a resurgence of popularity in the last decade or so. But honestly the storyline and theme of disillusionment in America, for me, is overdone. I've read a lot of books and plays and this one definitely felt like something akin to an Albee or Miller play that touch This is definitely an "it's not you, it's me" book.

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I've read a lot of books and plays and this one definitely felt like something akin to an Albee or Miller play that touch on this topic. But I can't fault the book just for doing something others have done. I've read a lot of books that are thematically similar but they all stand out for different reasons. My main issue with this book is that it didn't have any characters I could root for; not ones I could love or hate.

They just sort of existed. We spent so much time in Frank's head, and I would've really rather spent more with April. She was a far more interesting character to me. When the author did jump around into other characters' minds, I was intrigued. But then we'd return to boring, old Frank who was basically a bitter middle class man that felt lost in life and trapped by his circumstances.

That's sort of how I feel about this. I'd give Yates another chance because, like I said, great writing. But this one didn't do much for me. Dec 26, Michelle rated it it was ok Shelves: I've been putting off reviewing this book. I didn't enjoy reading it, and it wasn't because the characters were unlikeable, which they were.

There are authors who can write great books about people the reader hates. This wasn't one of them. I just didn't care. He was a whiny, immature, alcoholic. I think I mostly felt sorry for their children. I'm tempted to tie this book in with a discussion of Roe v. Wade, but, once again, I just don't care. View all 22 comments. Richard Yates ha rivelato che nello scrivere Revolutionary Road ha cominciato dalla fine: Forse per questo fin dalla prima pagina si ha la sensazione di qualcosa di imminente e inevitabile: Quindi condivide con i suoi personaggi uno stato di prigionia e di vincolo, crea in una forma prestabilita alla quale deve adeguare la narrazione e l'avventura del lettore.

Ma loro sono belli e spiritosi e calmi e gentili. Sono cigni, o si illudono di esserlo. Frank non si sente mai a casa, pensa di essere nato per errore, mente e tradisce: Si tratta di una storia di famiglia, comune, semplice, quasi esemplare. Nella America degli anni cinquanta sembrava un dovere sociale essere felici e prosperare secondo il sogno condiviso di una nazione vittoriosa e giusta.

Ma i Wheeler osano aspirare a qualcosa di diverso e meno mediocre, progettano una vita fantasiosa in Europa, a Parigi, vogliono evadere dalla monotonia della classe media e per questo forse, come in una tragedia shakespeariana, incontrano un destino maledetto e crudele, una silenziosa e perentoria catastrofe.

Il complesso residenziale di Revolutionary Hill non era stato progettato in funzione di una tragedia. Era invincibilmente allegro [ Non si smette di cercare la grazia in un altrove: Ce ne stavamo seduti a chiacchierare del vuoto per tutta la notte. E secondo me, una volta che si scorge la disperazione, non resta altro da fare che tagliare la corda.

View all 13 comments. Sep 24, Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing. As any lover of the arts knows, an artist's reputation depends not only on what society thinks of their work, but also what they think of it over the passage of time, with many creative professionals' careers dipping up and down over the decades based on changing trends and tastes.

Take American author Richard Yates for an excellent example; celebrated by the academic community when he first started writing in the early s, he was considered in the vanguard of the nascent "postmodern" movemen As any lover of the arts knows, an artist's reputation depends not only on what society thinks of their work, but also what they think of it over the passage of time, with many creative professionals' careers dipping up and down over the decades based on changing trends and tastes.

Take American author Richard Yates for an excellent example; celebrated by the academic community when he first started writing in the early s, he was considered in the vanguard of the nascent "postmodern" movement, mentioned in the same breath back then as such eventual masters as John Updike and Norman Mailer. And by the way, I'm defining postmodernism here as developing at the same time and rate as the Vietnam War; so in other words, something only intellectuals were aware of when Kennedy first took office, but that had taken over the mainstream by the time Nixon was wearing wide lapels.

But unlike his peers, Yates' career ended up sputtering out about halfway through, with him eventually dying in the '90s on the cusp of obscurity, known if at all only by academes who specifically study the subject of postmodern literature; it wasn't until a series of such scholars started making a case for him in the s that most of his work even went back into print, capped this year with an extremely high-profile Oscar-bait film adaptation of his very first novel, 's National Book Award nominated Revolutionary Road.

I just read it myself for the first time this week, in fact; and now that I have, I can easily see not only why Yates was once considered on the forefront of very challenging highbrow lit in the early '60s, but why his work never broke out of the academic gutter while he was alive, and why it's so ripe to revisit at this particular moment in history. Because as many of us now know because of the details behind its film adaptation it was directed by Sam Mendes, creator of the similarly themed American Beauty , Revolutionary Road turns out to be one of the very first artistic projects in history to have taken on the subject of the Big Bad Suburbs, a topic that eventually became a veritable hallmark of postmodernism and prone to hacky excess by the end of the movement.

That's also something to point out for those who don't know, that I consider postmodernism to have ended on September 11th, and that for the last decade we've actually been living through the beginning of a brand-new artistic age yet to be defined. The Age of Sincerity? And indeed, it was important for the postmodernists to take on the subject of the crumbling suburbs, and of the utter sham they considered the entire concept of the "nuclear family" a paradigm that was in fact to fall apart precisely during the postmodern years , exactly because it was the paradigm that their parents' generation embraced so whole-heartedly themselves, the sharp lines and unruffled feathers and black-and-white morality of Mid-Century Modernism.

And ironically, even that was mostly a reaction to the mainstream paradigm of the generation before them , in this case the moral relativists of the Lost Generation and Great Depression of the s and '30s, the gloomy sex-obsessed nihilists who brought about the ethical murkiness of World War Two and the Holocaust; the entire creation of the "nuclear family" paradigm after the war in the first place was as a direct reaction to those pulp-fiction years, an attempt by an entire society to say that there really is a series of black-and-white ethical values out there that really do apply to every person, not the world of infinite grays presented to us by the artists of the Weimar Era, the screenwriters of film-noir Hollywood and more.

Of course, the tropes of Mid-Century Modernism too were found not to work, because humanity is simply more complex than this; and that's what this first wave of "post-Modernist" writers expressly became known for, for pointing out the growing cracks in this shiny plastic Eisenhower facade that most of America had voluntarily slapped on itself in the '50s and early '60s. And thus does the great wave of artistic history keep ebbing and flowing, ebbing and flowing.

But, well, okay, you say, that covers half the mystery, of why Yates was so fawned over at the beginning of his career; but what about the other half, of why his work never caught on with the public in the same way as Updike or Mailer or Vidal or Pynchon or DeLillo for that matter?

And after reading just one book of his now, I'm already starting to see the answer; because when all is said and done, Revolutionary Road is not necessarily a condemnation of the bland soul-killing suburbs themselves although partly it is -- more on that in a bit , but rather is absolutely for sure a profound and overwhelming criticism of whiny, overeducated, self-declared intellectuals who feel they're "above" such pedestrian environments. It is in fact a big shock about the book, given traditional expectations that the ensuing Postmodern Age has created for such tales about the Big Bad Suburbs, and also given the glee in which movie stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio threw themselves into these roles for the film version; that Frank and Alice Wheeler, the poetry-reading Connecticut couple at the heart of our tale, are far from heroes in the traditional sense of the word, with Alice coming off more like a misguided dupe by the end and Frank more like an out-and-out despicable villain.

And that's because Yates has a different message to convey about the suburbs than you might expect, a much more cynical message than that they're simply bland and soul-killing; he seems to argue that they're not only that, but that this is what most people deserve, and that such plebes can actually have a legitimately decent and happy life within such circumstances as long as they're willing to accept their plebian fate.

For example, Yates goes out of his way to show that the young Frank isn't actually an intellectual, not from the stance of being academically trained for the subject, or even naturally talented enough to contribute something legitimately useful to the national conversation of deep thoughts; he's simply the most clever one out of the couple's circle of mostly brain-dead suburban friends, the guy who always seems to be in the center of the spotlight at every Friday-night neighborhood cocktail party.

Place most men in such circumstances, Yates seems to argue, men with tiny little dreams and tiny little life expectations, and they will undoubtedly make a nice tiny little life for themselves with such material, undoubtedly become the guy in the neighborhood who always makes the most elaborate Halloween costumes, the guy always asked to head up school-play set designs and workplace book-discussion clubs. No no, Yates argues, the problem isn't with the people who are simply looking for such a life and not much more, nor the ones who definitively know that such a life simply isn't for them, and quietly decide to live different ones in inner cities without much fuss; no, the problem is with the whiny little "clever" ones, the ones exactly like Frank and Alice, who endlessly bitch and moan about their mouth-breather surroundings but then do nothing about it, who sanctimoniously pass judgment on their ranch-duplex-owning neighbors even while peering at them through the plate-glass windows of their own ranch duplex.

That's how the book opens, in fact, with a disastrous premiere by the new neighborhood community theatre company, which wouldn't have been nearly as bad if celebrated as a simple act of creativity, instead of the failed experiment in bringing a highbrow sensibility to the meatsacks that the Wheelers had first pictured it as. It's a debacle for the young family, exacerbated by them being exactly snarky enough to laugh bitterly at the idea of it "at least being a fun experience anyway," and it leads the couple to realizing that something is truly wrong in their relationship, truly and seriously skewed from the unfocused bohemian vision the once Greenwich-Village-living couple had for themselves.

In fact, this is a running joke throughout the manuscript, how the couple wishes to live a creative lifestyle but can't think of anything creative to actually do. But see, this is where the book gets truly interesting, and is the question that consumes most of its very quickly paced pages; because is this unfocused bohemian vision the right one for the couple to have? Just what do the Wheelers want out of life, anyway? For example, it becomes obvious over the course of the novel that Frank doesn't actually mind the minutiae of Corporate America that terribly much, certainly not as much as he complains about, and that his problem is a much more universal one faced by most office workers in their late twenties, to simply have their ideas taken seriously and sometimes implemented, to slowly gain a bit of authority and respect among their co-workers for what they do.

And in fact this is a big reason that I consider Frank so despicable to begin with, because he's a moral waffler who doesn't know exactly what he wants, who is too weak to simply sit down and make priorities and then consistently stick to them, even if that means occasional sacrifices.

Just take the subject of whether the couple will ever have another child beyond the three that already exist, a running topic throughout the entire manuscript that becomes more and more important as it continues; notice how Frank's opinion on any given day is usually defined in relative opposition to whatever it is that the people around him want, how he will unthinkingly take on contradictory positions sometimes simply so that he can continue to have an excuse to argue with his wife, to feel like he's always "winning" in this hazy competition he sees them having.

In this, then, as mentioned, Alice herself comes off less as a deliberate villain and more like an unfortunate victim; because despite her willingness to revel in the closed-door smugness over their neighbors that Frank so naturally loves, it's obvious that she's at least more ethically consistent over her unhappiness, that their half-baked scheme at the beginning of the book to "move to Paris in the fall" was something she at least took very seriously, not the excuse Frank sees it as to put off real introspection of his life for yet another three months.

You can at least feel sympathetic for Alice throughout the course of Revolutionary Road , at least see her as the simple bohemian girl she sees herself as itself a reaction to her own Scott-and-Zelda out-of-control Jazz-Age parents ; it's Frank who's the grand, complex, maddening tragedy-in-waiting, and it's no coincidence that we follow his inner-brain thoughts more than anyone else's throughout.

It's Frank who professes to despise his 9-to-5 job, yet loves that it can afford him a discreet marital affair played out in air-conditioned Manhattan hotel rooms; it's Frank who convinces his wife and their urbane best friends to start hanging out at the local crappy roadhouse for ironic enjoyment yet another calling card of postmodernism, the act of enjoying crappy things for ironic reasons , yet is the first one to eventually start enjoying the place in a non-ironic way, and to become a legitimate regular there.

Or in other words, he's one of those smug, holier-than-thou year-old white-collar 'creative class' weasels you always want to smack when you're around them, the kind who's a major contributor to the problems of that world but claims that he isn't, just because he has a subscription to MAKE magazine and contributes snotty parodies of his day job to AdBusters.

Yeah, one of THOSE weasels , like I said, the kind who happily accept all the little perks of the bourgeois lifestyle while still feeling themselves ethically superior to the little acts of banal monstrosity such bourgeois commit on a daily basis, in order to maintain their bourgeois lifestyle. This is not an easy lesson for most middle-class book lovers to embrace -- that they're either too stupid to understand all the problems their vapid, culture-free lives are creating for society, or are smart enough and simply don't care -- and it makes it easy to see why books like these would be embraced by a doom-and-gloom '60s academic community even while being mostly rejected by the book-buying public.

But on the other hand, what Yates warns about here in is exactly what happened during the Postmodern Age , and it's exactly this clueless vapidity in the '70s, '80s and '90s suburbs that led to the grand post-Bush messes we're facing right this second; and that's why right now might be the best time of all to revisit Yates' work, and to understand the lessons that he was trying to tell us now that we're a generation removed from the activities, now that we don't take his damnations quite so personally.

Revolutionary Road turned out to be a better book than I was expecting, albeit a much darker one as well, and one much more critical of its exact target audience than you'd think an award-winner could get away with. It explains much about how America eventually became the trainwreck we now know it as, of how we could so profoundly lose touch with such concepts as personal accountability, personal responsibility; it's a shame that it took most of us nearly 50 years to realize this about Yates' remarkable book, but how great that we finally now have.

View all 11 comments. Sep 10, Katie Schmid rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Suicides and the homeless. Oh sweet barbequed jaysus--why does anyone ever get married? And why do I keep listening to my boyfriend when he recommends books to me? Because he has good taste. Good, horribly morose and depressing taste. This is an excellent book. Richard Yates has a preternatural ability to divine and pick apart the artifice we assume in everyday life with our loved ones and coworkers.

The young couple of the book, Frank and April Wheeler, are bougie suburbanites who aspire to be artistic interesting people, Oh sweet barbequed jaysus--why does anyone ever get married? The young couple of the book, Frank and April Wheeler, are bougie suburbanites who aspire to be artistic interesting people, and they revile everyone who is staid and boring and hatch a plan to go to Europe for the forseeable future so that Frank can find himself This is all a little humbling when you're about to sell all your earthly possessions and decamp for a wild romp through the Far East.

And something about Yates' cold and calculating ability to root out The book is oddly magnetic. I couldn't put it down. It rips apart the cliches that artistic a-holes cling to, i. You should read it. Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are starring in the movie version of the book, and it's due out in Read it now, before the utterly scathing prose is turned into an Oscar-winning film! Oh, excuse me, I have to go finish braiding my noose.

View all 4 comments. If Gatbsy is about the American Dream in the s, this is a fantastic disillusion of 'achieving' that dream in the s. Frank is a narcissist obsessed with preserving his own masculinity-- the secretary in the office wore that dress just to taunt him, damn it! Her whole character arc revolved around her not even knowing who she was, so it was hard for me to feel connected to her at all.

Revolutionary Road

It was very hard to rate this, because I appreciate what it was trying to say-- I just don't think I agree with it? The whole premise of people being stuck in 'mediocre lives' is inherently depressing and disregards a lot of the wonder in everyday life. View all 6 comments. Nov 18, Ahmad Sharabiani rated it really liked it Shelves: Our conversations usually started out charmingly enough she was quite the bookworm , but usually ended on a low note when she'd start criticizing everything about me in a jovial, joking sort of manner.

I never knew if it was me or her that was nuts! Anyway, o "If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone. Anyway, one day I remember her inviting me to have dinner at a little Thai place. I reluctantly agreed, but then nearly left the restaurant after awkwardly waiting 45 minutes for her at a table alone. When she finally graced me with her presence it was to tell me she'd been outside She couldn't tear herself away. I was prepared to finally tell her off and to get lost, but this revelation made my annoyance dissipate immeadiately.

She'd said it was engrossing, but that she hadn't enjoyed it.

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Having finished it myself, I find that I feel exactly the same way. I've never disliked so many characters in one novel! View all 16 comments. Jul 11, Margitte rated it it was amazing Shelves: Frank Wheeler, once a rebellious seeker of alternative choices, a young social vagabond, the nicotine-stained, Jean-Paul Sartre kind of guy, testing his boundaries and prospects, and being regarded as 'a veteran' of WWII and 'intellectual', finds himself getting married to April Johnson, once an aspiring actress, a graduate from drama school.

Whatever happened in her life, she was always ready to take flight whenever she felt like it. For April he was 'The Golden Boy' , the 'terrifically sexy g Frank Wheeler, once a rebellious seeker of alternative choices, a young social vagabond, the nicotine-stained, Jean-Paul Sartre kind of guy, testing his boundaries and prospects, and being regarded as 'a veteran' of WWII and 'intellectual', finds himself getting married to April Johnson, once an aspiring actress, a graduate from drama school.

For April he was 'The Golden Boy' , the 'terrifically sexy guy' ; for Frank she was 'the first rate girl' he was looking for. A perfect match, they thought. As society prescribes, they settle down in suburbia in a comfy-cozy life they both tried to run away from as young people. Despair quietly moves in when Frank find himself wearing a coat, suit and hat, and taking off for work each day by car and train and working in the same office building and for the same company his father did. He is a typical young graduate who wanted a well-paid job with little input. April becomes the blueprint perfect housewife - taking out trash, raising kids to the national cute and adorable standard, and slowly losing herself and her dreams of independence to the American blueprint of what is right and proper - the great sentimental lie of suburbia.

Little disappointments are sneaking into their life of joyous derangement and exultant carelessness, resulting in them bickering and bellowing at each other. Frank concludes that he does not 'fit the role of dumb, insensitive suburban husband'. The point is it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so typical. It isn't only the Donaldsons--it's the Cramers too, and the whaddyacallits, the Wingates, and a million others.

It's all the idiots I ride with on the train every day. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believe in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity. On Frank's birthday April proposes a move to Paris where American conformity does not rule, and where society still strongly supports individual freedom of choice.

Their insecurities are bouncing out of the woodwork as the pressure mounts to make a decision. The development of national highways and suburbs, as a ripple effect of the expanding motor industry, enabled many crowded city dwellers to move into the suburbs. Conformity came in the form of living in row upon row upon row of 'Levittown' houses with little individuality or distinction. It was also the beginning of mass marketing through television and the need for people to compete with the Jonesses.

Life was all about safety security and status.

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The time period was everything but dull and tranquil. Psychoanalysis became a buzz industry. Just about everything and anything was thriving. However, an emptiness and hopelessness settled in suburbia. Revolutionary Road has this era as background with two young people getting married and living the American Dream. As demands grew on their time, abilities, and character strength, they turn their survival battle inwards, destroying themselves and anything they deemed hidden behind the four walls of their home.

The results are tragic. The Revolutionary Hill Estates had not been designed to accommodate a tragedy. Even at night, as if on purpose, the development held no looming shadows and no gaunt silhouettes.


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It was invincibly cheerful, a toyland of white and pastel houses whose bright, uncurtained windows winked blandly through a dappling of green and yellow leaves. Proud floodlights were trained on some of the lawns, on some of the neat front doors and on the hips of some of the berthed, ice-cream colored automobiles. Anything, or anybody stepping out of the fold was ruthlessly thrown aside.

People were destined for asylums who tested the boundaries. Experimental drugs ruled the period in which it was believed that social conformity could be obtained through medication on a national scale. It would give birth to the massive rebellion of the Sixties and onward. The Sixties would become the decade of turbulence, protest, and disillusionment. The book opens with a performance of a popular play by a community drama group, The Laurel Players. The audience, arriving in a long clean serpent of cars the following night, were very serious too.

Like the Players, they were mostly on the young side of middle age, and they were attractively dressed in what the New York clothing stores describe as Country Casuals. Anyone could see they were a better than average crowd, in terms of education and employment and good health, and it was clear too that they considered this a significant evening. The main thing, though, was not the play itself but the company—the brave idea of it, the healthy, hopeful sound of it: This was what had drawn them, enough of them to fill more than half of the auditorium, and it was what held them hushed and tense in the readiness for pleasure as the house lights dimmed This book is a criticism and reflection on the era.

The plot contains so many layers of emotions, events, social challenges, and personal struggles of all the characters that the impact of the book will be lost if I tried to include it all in this review. It is a timeless story that will confirm the origins of current world affairs long after we have all departed for greener pastures. The story line is slow moving, intense, detailed.

Character building takes a long time, but provide the insight into all the persona who filled up the pages. And of course nobody is perfect, and nobody is really to blame. Not if the reader can place this tale in the historical circumstances of the time and understand how all the elements worked together to present Frank and April Wheeler to the world. All I can say is that it was certainly one of the best reads ever. I haven't seen the movie, but while reading the book, I was wondering how big a challenge it would have been to capture all the elements in this book in a fast moving movie script.

My gut feeling tells me that the book will be the best bet. It is a masterpiece. View all 24 comments. May 27, Steven Godin rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of my favourite novels, and easily one the greatest ever written, Richard Yates goes right for the necessary to work out who one really is. Summer, , Frank and April Wheeler are living what to many would believe is the suburban American dream, wholesome friendly neighbours, and for Frank an undemanding job in Manhattan, all appears grand.

The Wheelers might be young, beautiful and feel full of promise to the outside world, but they harbour little affection for each other. Bo One of my favourite novels, and easily one the greatest ever written, Richard Yates goes right for the necessary to work out who one really is. Both Husband and wife are bored, with each other, with their lives. April has a plan, to escape this emptiness, one that will enable Frank to quit his job and realise his potential while she works, of course those familiar with Yates's work will know that happy and fulfilling lives are not around the corner.

As Richard Yates's masterly debut novel unfolds, we see self-deception deepen, and a marriage going to the dogs. Revolutionary Road is a work of serious moral intent, and not to be taken lightly, not that that's even possible, though there are extremely amusing moments, they don't really equate to much. It's gripping without resorting to melodrama melodrama is one of my pet hates in books , the story is entirely at one with the characters' dilemmas. Yates, who died in had so much in common with the people he wrote about, that's why he is so darn good as a storyteller to the flipside of the American dream.

This is one of the best novels ever written about the difficulty in living life accordingly. And the narrative is simply stunning. View all 5 comments. Jul 03, Glenn Sumi rated it it was amazing Shelves: Revolutionary Road is a masterpiece of realistic fiction and one of the most biting, scathing critiques I've ever read of 50s era American optimism and conformity. Bored with their dull, safe, suburban existence, Frank and April Wheeler — who've always felt they were destined for something great — attempt to carpe their diem , and make plans to move to Europe, where Frank can "find" himself.

Still as sharp and relevant as it must have been when it was published over 50 years ago! Fine passages abound, from the opening sequence — set at the disastrous opening of a community theatre production of The Petrified Forest — to a series of awkward encounters with a neighbour's mentally disturbed son, who says what everyone's thinking but nobody admits.

What's also fascinating about the novel is how Yates plays with narration. We switch POV several times, getting deep into the lives of the main couple, but also entering the minds of one of their neighbours — who's always lusted after April — and the town's successful female realtor.