Complex novel that challenges its readers in many ways
Challenges well-loved myths about America: slavery is an ugly, hypocritical truth during the push for "liberty"; economic/market concerns interfered with the nation's ethical considerations; the Enlightenment had an ugly irrational side; the Revolution was not quite so clean as "good guys beat bad guys" (e.g., England may have been more enlightened than the colonies about slavery); etc. I think this is a wonderful development, because it gets us to think critically about those glossy myths, but these much-needed epiphanies could be painful for a reader who believes that America is exceptional and exclusively good.
This novel will also help build strong context/content knowledge, but could be a huge struggle for a reader who has a shaky grasp of history and/or geography, and especially one not familiar with the often-beautiful but syntactically dense and vocabulary-rich 18th century style, which Anderson uses to great effect.
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness