Leave a comment

The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country… James Otis

As if an enemy’s country : the British occupation of Boston and the origins of revolution Richard Archer Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010 Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xviii, 284 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [233]-273) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

A sensationalized portrayal of the skirmish, later to become known as the "Boston Massacre," between British soldiers and citizens of Boston on March 5, 1770. On the right a group of seven uniformed soldiers, on the signal of an officer, fire into a crowd of civilians at left. Three of the latter lie bleeding on the ground. Two other casualties have been lifted by the crowd. In the foreground is a dog; in the background are a row of houses, the First Church, and the Town House. Behind the British troops is another row of buildings including the Royal Custom House, which bears the sign (perhaps a sardonic comment) "Butcher's Hall." Beneath the print are 18 lines of verse, which begin: "Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore, Thy hallowed Walks besmeared with guiltless Gore." Also listed are the "unhappy Sufferers" Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, and Patrick Carr (killed) and it is noted that there were "Six wounded; two of them (Christr Monk & John Clark) Mortally."

A sensationalized portrayal of the skirmish, later to become known as the “Boston Massacre,” between British soldiers and citizens of Boston on March 5, 1770. On the right a group of seven uniformed soldiers, on the signal of an officer, fire into a crowd of civilians at left. Three of the latter lie bleeding on the ground. Two other casualties have been lifted by the crowd. In the foreground is a dog; in the background are a row of houses, the First Church, and the Town House. Behind the British troops is another row of buildings including the Royal Custom House, which bears the sign (perhaps a sardonic comment) “Butcher’s Hall.” Beneath the print are 18 lines of verse, which begin: “Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore, Thy hallowed Walks besmeared with guiltless Gore.” Also listed are the “unhappy Sufferers” Saml Gray, Saml Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, and Patrick Carr (killed) and it is noted that there were “Six wounded; two of them (Christr Monk & John Clark) Mortally.”

In the dramatic few years when colonial Americans were galvanized to resist British rule, perhaps nothing did more to foment anti-British sentiment than the armed occupation of Boston. As If an Enemy’s Country is Richard Archer’s gripping narrative of those critical months between October 1, 1768 and the winter of 1770 when Boston was an occupied town.

Print shows section of newspaper column with illustration of four coffins bearing skull and crossbones and the initials of those killed: Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, and Crispus Attucks.

Print shows section of newspaper column with illustration of four coffins bearing skull and crossbones and the initials of those killed: Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, and Crispus Attucks.

Bringing colonial Boston to life, Archer deftly moves between the governor’s mansion and cobblestoned back-alleys as he traces the origins of the colonists’ conflict with Britain. He reveals the maneuvering of colonial political leaders such as Governor Francis Bernard, Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson, and James Otis Jr. as they responded to London’s new policies, and he evokes the outrage many Bostonians felt towards Parliament and its local representatives.

Print shows section of newspaper column with illustration of the coffin bearing skull and crossbones and the initials of Patrick Carr, who died from wounds received during the Boston Massacre.

Print shows section of newspaper column with illustration of the coffin bearing skull and crossbones and the initials of Patrick Carr, who died from wounds received during the Boston Massacre.

Archer captures the popular mobilization under the leadership of John Hancock and Samuel Adams that met the oppressive imperial measures – most notably the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act – with demonstrations, Liberty Trees, violence, and non-importation agreements. When the British government decided to garrison Boston with troops, it posed a shocking challenge to the people of Massachusetts. The city was flooded with troops; almost immediately, tempers flared and violent conflicts broke out. Archer’s vivid tale culminates in the swirling tragedy of the Boston Massacre and its aftermath, including the trial and exoneration of the British troops involved.
archer001

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: