In the dramatic few years when colonial Americans were galvanized to resist British rule, perhaps nothing did more to foment anti-British sentiment than the armed occupation of Boston.
As If an Enemy's Country is Richard Archer's gripping narrative of those critical months between October 1, 1768, and the winter of 1770, when Boston was an occupied town. Bringing colonial Boston to life, Archer deftly moves between the governor's mansion and cobblestoned back alleys as he traces the origins of the colonists' conflict with Britain. He reveals the maneuvering of colonial political leaders, such as Governor Francis Bernard, Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson, and James Otis Jr. as they responded to London's new policies, and he evokes the outrage many Bostonians felt towards Parliament and its local representatives.
Archer captures the popular mobilization under the leadership of John Hancock and Samuel Adams that met the oppressive imperial measures - most notably the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act. When the British government decided to garrison Boston with troops, it posed a shocking challenge to the people of Massachusetts. The city was flooded with troops; almost immediately, tempers flared and violent conflicts broke out. Archer's vivid tale culminates in the swirling tragedy of the Boston Massacre and its aftermath, including the trial and exoneration of the British troops involved. A thrilling and original work of history, As If an Enemy's Country tells the riveting story of what made the Boston townspeople, and with them other colonists, turn toward revolution.
The “Pivotal Moments in American History” series seeks to unite the old and the new history, combining the insights and techniques of recent historiography with the power of traditional narrative. Each title has a strong narrative arc with drama, irony, suspense, and - most importantly - great characters who embody the human dimension of historical events.
©2010 Richard Archer (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"A lively and sympathetic history of pre-Revolutionary Boston under British occupation." (The New Yorker)
"Combining engaging prose and a wealth of interesting characters, Archer has provided students and general enthusiasts alike with a concise, appealing work of first-rate scholarship." (Library Journal)
As a former Boston resident, I really, really wanted to like this book...but for my taste, it was pretty dry stuff. I generally like histories featuring cultural, societal, and biographical tidbits -- I want a story about colorful individuals, vividly set in a different world -- but this book focuses largely on groups. Near the end it picks up energy, and the description of the Boston Massacre is absolutely gripping... But the book could have been so much better. The narration is a bit odd: the narrator has a very resonant voice, but his delivery is so mechanical it sounds almost artificial.
A book that digs behind the stories and myths we learned in school.
It humanizes history, clears away the idealizing nonsense, and really helps you understand Boston's part in sparking the American Revolution.
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