At 4 a.m. 19 April 1775, the advance contingent of a 2,000-man British force marched into Lexington, Massacheusetts, and confronted 77 colonists drawn up on the village green. A musket shot was fired, the British attacked,a dn the American Revolution beganwith most of the colonists blissfully unaware that they were about to go to war against the world's most powerful monarchy.
Drawing on diaries, letters, official documents and memoirs, William H. Hallahan follows the news of Lexington and Concord as it sweeps across the colonies, setting cities, small towns, villages, and farms afire. As word reaches people from all walks of life, the author chronicles their reactions and provides striking insights into lives both ordinary and mythicfrom jubilant rebel leaders like Samuel Adams to suddenly apprehensive Loyalists; from farmers and shopkeepers, statesmen and aristocrats, to traitors, spies, opportunists, street thugs and cowards.
Like no previous book, The Day the American Revolution Began captures the spirit of the times and the vitality of those who took part in one of the most extraordinary events in history.
About the Author:
William H. Hallahan is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His previous book, Misfire, covered the history of U.S. military shoulder arms and the men who carried them into battle. He lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Aiming to do more than just describe Paul Revere's famous ride and the "shot heard round the world," military historian Hallahan argues that the Battle of Lexington and Concord wasn't merely the mythic event that has become part of our American heritage; it was a politically important occurrence, a catalyst for radicalizing the colonies behind the emerging idea of national independence. Before the battle, he contends, most Americans were unhappy with British rule, but they shared little consensus about how to react. The shocking news of battle, however, emboldened radical elements in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Williamsburg, effectively undermining advocates of a negotiated political settlement with Britain. Although there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about Hallahan's treatment of the battle, of such well-known revolutionary personalities as Washington and Hamilton or of the early days of the revolution (Bernard Bailyn, Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris do a far better job in their classic works), he does remind us of the peculiar genius of Samuel Adams, whose behind-the-scenes tactical brilliance provoked from the British a response of unthinking rage. Depicting him as a visionary propagandist and the leading force behind Boston's urban guerrilla war against British forces, Hallahan shows how Adams incited the British by leading mob actions such as the Boston Tea Party and the rushing of Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson's Boston home. Indeed, as the ill-fated British Army marched toward Lexington and Concord, it was searching for the elusive Adams. Hallahan rescues the reality of events long buried beneath layers of myth and folklore. B&w photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|