Top positive review
Excellent and Compelling
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2020
John Adams has always been known for being one of the most impassioned and eloquent of our Founding Fathers, and as our second president. But he had a life before his well-deserved fame, and this book tells of part of it. The Boston Massacre is well-known, but the part which Adams played in the aftermath is not.
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.