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Publisher's Summary

Now a New York Times best seller!

“An expert, extremely detailed account of John Adams’ finest hour.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Honoring the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre

The New York Times best-selling author of Lincoln’s Last Trial and host of LivePD Dan Abrams and David Fisher tell the story of a trial that would change history.

History remembers John Adams as a Founding Father and our country’s second president. But in the tense years before the American Revolution, he was still just a lawyer, fighting for justice in one of the most explosive murder trials of the era. 

On the night of March 5, 1770, shots were fired by British soldiers on the streets of Boston, killing five civilians. The Boston Massacre has often been called the first shots of the American Revolution. As John Adams would later remember, “On that night the formation of American independence was born.” Yet when the British soldiers faced trial, the young lawyer Adams was determined that they receive a fair one. He volunteered to represent them, keeping the peace in a powder keg of a colony, and in the process created some of the foundations of what would become United States law. 

In this book, New York Times best-selling authors Dan Abrams and David Fisher draw on the trial transcript, using Adams’ own words to transport listeners to colonial Boston, a city roiling with rebellion, where British military forces and American colonists lived side by side, waiting for the spark that would start a war.

©2020 Dan Abrams and David Fisher (P)2020 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about John Adams Under Fire

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  • Overall
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Fascinating

I have read a number of Dan Abram’s legal history books starting with “Lincoln’s Last Trial”. I have enjoyed them all. Therefore, I could hardly wait to read Abram’s latest book.

The book is well written and researched. Maybe a bit more legal detailed for a layperson, but interesting. The story covers the March 5, 1770 event in Boston known as the Boston Massacre. A mob started throwing snowballs at a squad of British soldiers. The soldiers opened fire killing five and injuring six. They were put on trial and John Adams was the defense attorney. Adams stood by his convictions and ethics, but his actions hurt him for years politically and financially.

I found this story most interesting but was familiar with most of the key points. Abrams went into more details than most authors covering this subject. Abrams called this event “John Adams finest hour.” I highly recommend this book for those interested in American history and legal history.

The book is nine hours and fifty-three minutes. Roger Wayne does a good job narrating the book. Wayne is an actor, voice-over artist and audiobook narrator.

38 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t get into it.

I love history and have finished several books that are much longer than this one. This story just went on and on - with details of the trial and testimonies, many of which were similar but given by different witnesses. I actually took a breath of relief when I finally finished the book.

28 people found this helpful

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A masterful historical presentation of the Boston Massacre told by the trial lawyer John Adams and reads like a suspense novel.

Never have I read a historical account that was so much like a Perry Mason novel or a “Who Done It” book that kept me on the edge of my seat. This is a must read that you can’t put down yet you are getting a history lesson at the same time.

23 people found this helpful

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inspired me to learn more about Adams

the book was professionally done and performed. It was a bit didactic and and didn't really color the characters beyond their cerebral descriptions

13 people found this helpful

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Difficult to follow

Interesting part of unkown part of our American history by a well written
author...good. enjoyed

12 people found this helpful

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Great history lesson

I haven't read about the Boston Massacre in 50 years. This book answers a lot of questions and shares an incredible back story to that historic event

7 people found this helpful

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perfection

I enjoyed mixing my love of history and my live if true crime! can’t wait to listen to the other books!

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent Historical Book

On March 5, 1770, five citizens of the town of Boston were killed, apparently murdered by British troops. This book describes two trials in which John Adams defended first the captain and later eight individual soldiers. There were dozens if not hundreds of witnesses to what occurred that night, but their accounts differed widely, to say the least. Most interesting to me was the development of the law. While there was a jury of 12 men, there were also several judges that heard the case and, in charging the jury, gave their views of the evidence. The prohibition against self-incrimination kept the defendants from testifying, but hearsay was generally allowed. Few objections to testimony were raised. The lawyers quoted freely to the jury from legal texts. The developing precept of proof of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt was advanced by these proceedings. The narration was excellent; it kept the listener focused on the story. I would recommend this title to anyone interested in early American history.

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  • 02-22-22

A very well written account we should all know

One of the greatest stories in American History and one we should study more.
John Adams understood that if America wanted to be recognized as special, the law needed to be fair and all accused needed confident and capable council. despite what personal damage taking the case would cause him, he knew that these soldiers needed to be represented fairly.
There is a great example in John Adam's
Enjoy!

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Great lesson in American Jurisprudence

This book should be read by all in our legal system, if for no other reason, to gain an understanding on how our criminal justice system developed from the beginning of our nation.