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Review of The Book Sam Patch, The Famous Jumper by Paul E. Johnson

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In historian Paul E. Johnson’s Sam Patch, The Famous Jumper, the period is after the Revolution in America. The story starts in Pawtucket, Rhode Island with the main character being the famous Sam Patch who jumped off the Niagara Falls twice. The book guides us through Patch’s life going from farming as a mill boy into having to be a part of factory work as the Industrial Revolution is starting to occur. The biography goes through Patch’s life as he pioneers the start of becoming a celebrity by the likes of many people. Sam Patch being a poor man was on the road to a new life.

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When Patch decides to show off his talents of jumping, in hopes to earn money and fame, into the eyes of the public, it starts out by protesting against the wealthy Timothy Crane as he, during the time of the Industrial Revolution, try to take countless of resources away from local areas destroying mill townhomes by creating a bridge where workers would then have to pay an entrance fee in order to go across the area to work. As the bridge is starting to be built, Patch decides to jump off the waterfall near the bridge and the working class begins to focus on the new celebrity that took away from Mr. Crane.

As this shows the biography of Sam Patch, it is not always about him, but also about the way of politics and living during the post-American revolution. For a while, after Sam Patch’s short-lived three years of being a celebrity until dying by jumping off the High Falls of the Genesee in Rochester, New York, most likely drunk, Patch becomes somewhat of a myth. People would write stories, sing songs, and perform plays about the man who was acting as a pioneer for being a workforce celebrity.

Paul E. Johnson is a professor at the University of South Carolina and is currently still living at age 77, born on the 15th day of August 1942. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley and his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles (where he was originally from). I believe Johnson wrote a fascinating non-fictional biography about Sam Patch that many ages can enjoy and read with a story-like setting that keeps the reader intrigued with the story, wanting to keep reading.

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Johnson, from my understanding, wanted to keep the story of Sam Patch alive for having great goals and movements for the working class during the time, even if he was a drunken suicidal guy. He brought upon the events I recently talked about because, even back in the day, there were problems that occurred in life that needed to be solved and it only took one person to have a start in hope for the people to be able to solve these problems that occurred like Thomas Crane and others that tried to ruin the freedoms of Americans by being greedy or trying to be “King-like.” Johnson, in my eyes, told the story of Sam Patch in a historically correct way, as the historian that has achieved his Ph.D., and brilliantly paints a picture in your head as if you were living during that time reliving the era of the post-American revolution.

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Review of the Book Sam Patch, the Famous Jumper by Paul E. Johnson. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
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