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Author Nina Sankovitch has done an absolutely magnificent job in weaving together the three families of Hancock, Adams, and Quincy and their subsequent generations who were responsible for igniting the desire of Massachusetts and other colonies in separating from the mother country of England.
I did find it difficult to keep track with the names of several individuals named John, Josiah, and Abigail. However, these were ordinary people living their ordinary life with initially no intention of divorcing themselves from England. When Josiah Quincy Jr. sailed to England he observed that the situation was hopeless and separation was inevitable. Prior events such as the 1770 Boston Massacre and 1773 Boston Tea Party and the closing of the port of Boston were a prelude to the battles at Lexington and Concord in 1775. Now there was no turning back and more bloodshed took place shortly thereafter with the June Battle of Bunker Hill which really took place on Breed's Hill.
I found Josiah Quincy Jr. an interesting character who spent years battling tuberculosis. He sailed as a sickly man to England in the vain hopes of mending fences with England. He passed away while on his return trip and, with the help of another passenger whose name we don't know, dictated his final thoughts to be passed on to his family back home.
John Hancock was another interesting character. He liked to dress in lavender clothes and ride in a yellow carriage. He was a rich man who spent a good part of his fortune in helping to initially finance the revolution. England thought they could convince him to become a Tory but Hancock knew where his loyalty lays. He and Sam Adams were two persons England would have liked to hang as traitors.
There are many interesting anecdotes throughout the book such as a family destroying a coat of arms in their family cemetery plot to make bullets out of it. It took a while for me to get through the book with several sittings but the time spent was worth the wait. There are eight pages of photographs. This is wonderful American history.
This was one of the best books on the American Revolution I have read. The author does a great job mining letters and records to give an account of a small group of Massachusetts patriots and Loyalists and what shaped them. The great religious Congregationalist faith, close personal relationships and personal flaws were well portrayed. John Adams with wrinkles, his wife and her hardships, Josiah Jr.'s heroic trip to London. The lives and deaths recorded were poignant and bittersweet. An antidote to our times of pettiness, the author wonderfully reveals the motives of Braintree's best (and worst). She has previous books that show a great talent in getting personal letters to help give depth to people we know more by statue or signature. Highly recommend this book. Would recommend to high school or college student taking an American history course. Great foundation for understanding New England and it's place in early America.
American Rebels is an exciting chronicle of the Massachusetts Colony’s buildup to the Revolutionary War. It closely follows three prominent families of Braintree whose leadership inspired Bostonians to protest against unfair English rules and taxes, and who ultimately helped galvanize America’s pan-colonial fight for freedom and independence.
Nina Sankovitch is a beautiful writer. She makes the characters come to life through well-researched and vivid details about their everyday lives. She introduces us to the beliefs, concerns, careers and relationships of the Adams, Hancock and Quincy families primarily between 1744 and 1776. During this period, we follow their evolution from loyal British subjects to leaders in the American colonies’ Revolutionary War against England.
There is so much to love about this book and there are many fascinating characters! The opening chapters required careful reading due to the number of characters introduced (family recaps and maps in the front of the book made it easier to cross-reference), but the pace picked up quickly and I found it increasingly hard to put the story down.
My favorite character, besides Abigail Adams, is Josiah Quincy Jr., about whom I had previously very little knowledge. A brilliant young lawyer who suffered from tuberculosis since early adulthood, he was an orator and influencer who published opinion pieces scathingly critical of England’s treatment of the Massachusetts Colony. After a disappointing diplomatic attempt at reconciliation with Parliament and the King, he died on his voyage back to Massachusetts before he could deliver his message: England would never relent, and the American colonies would have to join forces in order to prevail.
While there are obviously many great titles regarding the period of the American Revolution, American Rebels provides an unusual glimpse into the day to day lives and interactions of families that were of the most influential in our nations struggles and creation. The author provides a vivid depiction of the interactions and events that shaped these remarkable people as well as the contributions and far reaching influence they had. I have new appreciation for several historical figures I knew nothing about and gratitude to Nina Sankovich for introducing them to me. There are also some small details that other prominent authors have either overlooked or missed that I found interesting. Great Read.
This book started in an ordinary way and, for the first hundred pages or so, I thought it was fine, but nothing spectacular. Then, OMG, does it take off! What a memorable, stirring read the remaining 250 pages are! I learned a great deal and I also felt a great deal. This book really takes the reader to the streets snd farms and even the rooms that looked out on the birth of the United States of America. On this July 4th weekend, you couldn’t make a better purchase.
I very much enjoyed every page of this book. There's a lot of detail and personal information about 3 of the founding families. In fact, a whole lot more detail than you or your kids would ever get in a history class! I saw a mention of trying to keep track of some of the family members. Well, back then kids were named for parents and if you take your time it's no problem!
A familiar story with a new twist. The author focuses on the prominent families of Braintree, Massachusetts, especially the Hancock, Quincy and Adams families. The book follows the families beginning several years before the Revolution and chronicles how they became leaders in the movement to separate from England. Three characters are the primary focus of the book: John Hancock, John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jr. Adams' life has been thoroughly chronicled, but I was unfamiliar with Josiah Quincy. He was a young lawyer who practiced with Adams in Boston. A sickly man suffering from consumption (tuberculosis) he was a firebrand whose writings and speeches motivated the people to separate from England. In many ways, Quincy is one of the great heroes of the revolution, even though he died before the fighting started. Another aspect of the book that is unique is the attention the writer gives to the women of these families. The book is largely written from the perspective of the wives of the prominent male actors. It chronicles their sacrifices and bravery that built a foundation for the bold actions that were taken. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.