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John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father's Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial Hardcover – March 3, 2020
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“This engrossing account of 18th century legal procedure and the colorful individuals involved in the colonies’ most celebrated trial delivers another boost to John Adams’s rising reputation.” -HistoryNet
"Abrams and Fisher mine details about court proceedings from the era as well as incidents enflaming the raucous, rebellious mood in Boston." -Valdosta Daily Times
“Those interested in trial case or the Revolutionary War time period will enjoy this look into history and at a trial that hasn’t been covered much before.” -Parkersburg News & Sentinel
"The authors do a remarkable job of spinning the court transcripts into a fascinating tale of intrigue and underscoring the men and the issues at play." -Fredericksburg Book Review
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Adams was a thirty-four-year-old Boston attorney when he agreed to defend the British soldiers who either committed an unprovoked massacre of peaceful Boston citizens, or were defending themselves from a mob. The officer in charge was tried separately from the rest of the soldiers. By sheer good fortune a transcript still exists from the second trial.
Dan Abrams, the author of this book, also wrote a fabulous book to which I gave a glowing review, called “Lincoln’s Last Trial.” It was a trial in which Abraham Lincoln was the defense attorney, and a transcript in shorthand still existed from it. How Abrams finds these marvelous documents is beyond me, but I am super-grateful that he does because the books he writes are fascinating.
I enjoyed this book very much. Some people apparently thought that the details of the trials were tedious; I must be a legal nerd, I thought they were interesting. I was interested in the effects of the trials on the local citizenry, as well as on American jurisprudence. I admit, my husband and son-in-law are lawyers, so I may be inured to legal talk!
I can happily recommend this book to anyone interested in American history (or British history, come to that), or American jurisprudence, or anyone interested in reading a true account of a well-known but little understood pivotal moment in the run-up to the American War for Independence. I hope that the author has another historical work in mind.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions are my own.
The trial parts in particular simply overwhelmed me. I could never have sat on either of these juries. This book found me dozing and I finally gave up on it. I did find out that both the British officer in charge and the British soldiers were both found not guilty.
Simply put, this book overwhelmed me. I'm being generous with two stars based solely on my interest level and not due to any lack of scholarship on the author's part.
At times , this 3rd person accounting reads like an excellent fiction historical thriller and then, the reality of the importance this case has on the development of our system of justice, comes rushing to mind. Authors, Dan Abrams & David Fisher used actual transcripts from the trial that survived these 250+ years, to support the writing of this fascinating read.
We get to walk the streets of Boston and experience life in the 1770’s. The sights, sounds, smells - it’s all an immersive sensory experience. The bits of dialogue sound appropriate for the time period and I recognized much of the poetry and advertising from courses on Colonial American Literature; authenticity at every turn of the page.
Abrams and Fisher explore the impact this case had on Adams and his life, on Boston and all its citizens, each of the individuals involved intimately in the case, the development of America Justice and the burgeoning country that was to become The United States of America. It’s well written, thoroughly researched, professionally published and highly recommend 📚