Rockin’ The Boat

Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X

(Zest Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)


About the Book:

We love to root for the underdog, and that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Whether they fail, succeed, or succeed only to become what they once fought against, people who can rally others to their cause and shake up the status quo tend to be inherently interesting. This tells the stories of 50 such legends throughout the world, from people fed up with the Roman Empire, to the revolutionaries who helped create America.

Praise for Rockin’ the Boat:

Publisher’s Weekly: “From ancient civilizations to the 20th century, 50 movers and shakers get their due in this informative and sometimes tongue-in-cheek guide, which examines Cleopatra, Judah Maccabee, Nat Turner, Michael Collins, and Che Guevara, among others. Fleischer capably places the individuals in their history milieu, zeroing in on the circumstances behind their notoriety, as well as the ways their influence has endured, while sidebars provide additional context and modern parallels…”

Foreword Reviews: “The strong point of this book is Fleischer’s understanding of his audience; his grasp of history is impressive as well. Teens are tired of textbooks that shelter them from the realities of the world, so he provides controversy and faces brutality, disenfranchisement, and disillusionment head on, giving the facts behind what teens already suspect: history and social change are complicated.” (Also named a 2015 Reviewers’ Choice for best books of the year.)

American Library Association Booklist: “Readers expecting all the revolutionaries to be virtuous do-gooders will be in for a surprise. Whether they read cover to cover or dip in, they will find many treats to further explore.”

Kirkus Reviews: “A gallery of historical troublemakers starting with Hannibal and ending with Martin Luther King, Jr….Salutary portraits in radicalism.”

Children’s Literature Reviews: “While this book is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents, young adults could read it straight through for pleasure—that’s how good the writing is. A down-to-earth history book that combines facts with modern references, and great illustrations with witty text, this author proves that he not only knows his subjects, he knows his readers. It is an outstanding example of a history book for young adults that works on all levels.”

San Francisco Book Review: “John Brown and Mao Zedong are given the same fair shake as Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman. Rockin’ the Boat is unlikely to spark any revolutions, but it is an excellent resource for rebellion-minded history buffs.”

Medill Magazine: “With lively and humorous narrative, Fleischer details the lives of 50 revolutionaries around the world and throughout history. The compilation describes individuals—from Joan of Arc to Malcom X—who have moved others towards dramatic political, religious and social change.”

Salinas Californian: “It offers an excellent starting point to learn about some famous historical figures and then decide if a more detailed investigation is merited. Home schooling families will find this an excellent resource as will any educator teaching history.”

Litpick: “After reading Rockin’ the Boat, scholars young and old will want to check out a few more books about the intriguing characters. I know that I want to find out more about New Zealand feminist Kate Sheppard and Catholic zealot Guy Fawkes. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy learning about amazingly insane, kind, or brave men and women who did not fear change.”

Biblio File: “I recommend reading it in order, as many of the revolutions build on each other, or reference each other, so the context from a previous chapter is often useful, which is why the chronological order works so well here. Everything’s only 3-5 pages, but it covers enough so people know what went down and why. IT’s also short enough you think “oh, I can read just one more” and then you end up finishing the book in one session. (NOT THAT DID THAT. *whistles while looking innocent*) This is a great one for a wide range of readers and I really really really wish it had been around in 2012 when the National History Day theme was “Revolution, Reaction, and Reform”. So many teens didn’t know where to even start picking one– I would have loved to be able to have them leaf through this book for inspiration!”

Where to Buy:

Kindle edition on Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Nook Book edition at Barnes & Noble
Google Books
Powell’s Books
Waterstones for readers in the UK
Fishpond for readers in Australia
Booktopia for Australian readers
Mighty Ape for readers in New Zealand
Leisure Books for readers in South Africa
Better World Books
Amazon UK
Amazon Germany
Amazon Japan
Amazon France
Amazon India
Amazon Spain

Interviews with Jeff about the Book:

Zest Books, the publisher of Rockin’ the Boat, kicked off the publicity tour with this interview.

Write All the Words, a book blog by E. Kristin Anderson, asks all authors the same set of questions, ending with one unique to the book.

LitPick, after giving the book a five-star review, included it as an entry in its Six Minutes with an Author interview series.

In Bed with Books had a short interview not long after the book was released.