• Founding Martyr

  • The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero
  • By: Christian Di Spigna
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A rich and illuminating biography of America’s forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution.

Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act in the Boston area for a decade, from the Stamp Act protests to the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, and his incendiary writings included the famous Suffolk Resolves, which helped unite the colonies against Britain and inspired the Declaration of Independence. Yet after his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence.

Christian Di Spigna’s definitive new biography of Warren is a loving work of historical excavation, the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed primary-source documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his professional success and political radicalization to his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna’s thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it deepens our understanding of the nation’s dramatic beginnings.

©2018 Christian Di Spigna (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Before George Washington, before Thomas Jefferson, even before Alexander Hamilton, there was Joseph Warren. A British commander once called him ‘the greatest incendiary in all America’. Warren stood at the center of the colonial intrigue against the British in Boston.... In Founding Martyr, Christian Di Spigna has produced a gripping biography of one of the American Revolution’s earliest activists. This is no whitewashed version of the Founding.... Founding Martyr helps restore to their proper place Joseph Warren’s important contributions to our nation’s prehistory.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Di Spigna argues that, although Joseph Warren (1741-1775) remains largely unknown, he was ‘one of the most important figures in the movement for independence,’ a characterization amply supported by the evidence presented in this revealing and insightful biography... Di Spigna incorporates diligent research, enhanced by analysis of primary sources only he has tracked down (such as medical records Warren maintained for his practice), into a gripping narrative that doesn’t shy away from the darkness in his subject, including Warren’s family’s ownership of slaves. This book will give readers a fuller picture of American leadership before the active engagement of those now called the founding fathers.” (Publishers Weekly, starred) 

“A fresh biography of an underappreciated figure in American history... [Di Spigna] reminds readers that Warren was more than a man who sacrificed his life for the cause of liberty… [he] persuasively argues that Warren was ‘a rare combination of statesman and warrior’ and that ‘his effective arsenal of voice, pen, and sword was unrivaled by any other patriot’… Hopefully, Di Spigna’s insightful biography will rekindle public interest in Warren, a man who deserves to be remembered.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Founding Martyr

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Joseph Warren must be remembered.

Fantastic book - gives the foundation of his life - the Bible God of Liberty. The Suffolk Resolves were the turning point that set us on the road to Independence. Great narration as well.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read book and the American Revolution

This a the fascinating account of the one of the most dynamic American heroes of the revolution.

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You won't be disappointed!

Fascinating read! It grabbed me from the beginning. Studying the American Revolution is my favorite past time and I learned a lot from this book on a crucial, and sadly often forgotten, founding grandfather. Well worth the time!

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Interesting story about a lost leader

I enjoyed hearing the book. It is well written and insightful. I would recommend it.

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Must Read Story of the Forgotten Founder

Excellently written and performed. This book sheds light on the man, not just the battle that so infamously claimed his life. That Joseph Warren's legacy has been all but forgotten in American history/culture is truly a shame. Every American owes this man a debt of gratitude and recognition for his contribution to the creation of our great nation.

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Fascinating

A fascinating outlook into a heroic figure in revolutionary times. He would outshone Washington had he survived

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Great Book

It truly brought out the unsung heroes of the American revolution. It left me wanting to know more.

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A fascinating and generally overlooked story.

This is a very well written history of a revolutionary leader who seems to deserve far more credit and far more memory than he usually receives.

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as a Mason this is a must read

I am a proud Joseph Warren Medal receipiant and an equally proud Mason in Massachusetts