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About the Author: Horatio Alger Jr.

Horatio Alger, Jr. (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, most famous for his novels following the adventures of bootblacks, newsboys, peddlers, buskers, and other impoverished children in their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort. His novels about boys who succeed under the tutelage of older mentors were hugely popular in their day.

Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the son of a Unitarian minister, Alger entered Harvard University at the age of sixteen. Following graduation, he briefly worked in education before touring Europe for almost a year. He then entered the Harvard Divinity School, and, in 1864, took a position at a Unitarian church in Brewster, Massachusetts. Two years later, he resigned following allegations he had sexual relations with two teenage boys.[1] He retired from the ministry and moved to New York City where he formed an association with the Newsboys Lodging House and other agencies offering aid to impoverished children. His sympathy for the working boys of the city, coupled with the moral values learned at home, were the basis of his many juvenile rags to riches novels illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others. This widely held view involves Alger's characters achieving extreme wealth and the subsequent remediation of their "old ghosts." Alger is noted as a significant figure in the history of American cultural and social ideals. He died in 1899.

The first full-length Alger biography was commissioned in 1927 and published in 1928, and along with many others that borrowed from it later proved to be heavily fictionalized parodies perpetuating hoaxes and made up anecdotes that "would resemble the tell-all scandal biographies of the time."[2] Other biographies followed, sometimes citing the 1928 hoax as fact. In the last decades of the twentieth century a few more reliable biographies were published that attempt to correct the errors and fictionalizations of the past.

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Goodreads rating: 3.51

Paperback, Published in Jul 2011 by Createspace

ISBN10: 1461071542 | ISBN13: 9781461071549

Page count: 128

Bound to Rise by Horatio Alger The hero, Henry Walton, is the oldest of six children, and is described as a "broad-shouldered, sturdy boy, with a frank, open face, resolute, though good-natured" (12). Regarding his education, the narrator allows that "though a tolerably good scholar, [Henry Walton] was deficient in many respects, on account of the limited nature of his opportunities" (17). Although he lives with both his parents at the start of this tale, they are a very poor family, and their only cow is near death. Hiram Walton, Henry's father, is revealed to be responsible in part for the family's lack of success and security; he is "one of those men who, for some unaccountable reason, never get on in the world...do not have the knack of conquering fortune" (12). When the family's cow dies, Hiram goes to borrow money from miser Squire Green to buy a new one. Green takes advantage of his borrower's need and charges an extravagant rate of interest. Meanwhile, at the local school, Henry performs admirably at his exams. He wins a book, a biography of Benjamin Franklin. Inspired by the tale, he decides to leave town to earn money to pay for the cow. From northern New Hampshire, he sets out to the south. Eventually he comes to a slightly larger town and gets a job replacing a young man named Bob Leavitt, who is leaving his father's shoe-making business to work in his uncle's dry goods store in Boston. In the shoe shop, he works with spendthrift Luke Harrison, who calls Henry Walton a miser for refusing to play billiards. Henry Walton goes to the library instead. As winter nears, Henry regrets that he cannot afford an overcoat. He explains his situation, when pressed, to a gentleman named Maurice Tudor. Impressed by his honorable motivations, Maurice gives him an old overcoat he owns, as well as two suits of very fine quality. Henry's one major investment is to pay tuition to study with other children in evening school under Leonard Morgan, a twenty-two-year-old Dartmouth student. Henry performs admirably, taking to Latin astonishingly well. The first major conflict of the novel occurs when Henry, refusing an offer to go on a sleigh ride with Luke and some other young people, drops his pocket book. Luke picks it up. The loss of all his money throws Henry into despair, until he begins to suspect Luke of stealing it. Aided by Mr. Leavitt and the tailor, Henry traps Luke in his own lies; he recovers some of his money. Although Luke agrees to pay the rest, he claims he lost it, and begins to save his wages to run away. He does, and Henry is thus farther away from his goal than he had been before away from his goal. To worsen matters, the shoe-market is glutted, and Henry cannot work. He begins to fear for his family. Luckily, Henry is taken in by a patron, a traveling magician, named Professor Henderson. He is employed to work as a ticket boy for very high wages. The opportunity to travel also affords Henry to broaden his ambition. In one town, Centreville, the Professor sends Henry to get bills printed for the next evening's show. While at the newspaper, Henry is offered a job (and an opportunity to emulate his hero Benjamin Franklin. It is a step down in pay, but he looks ahead to consider what the eventual gains may be.(University of Rochester Library)

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