The Boston Massacre: A Family History

The Boston Massacre: A Family History

by Serena Zabin
The Boston Massacre: A Family History

The Boston Massacre: A Family History

by Serena Zabin


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“Historical accuracy and human understanding require coming down from the high ground and seeing people in all their complexity. Serena Zabin’s rich and highly enjoyable book does just that.”—Kathleen DuVal, Wall Street Journal

A dramatic, untold “people’s history” of the storied event that helped trigger the American Revolution.

The story of the Boston Massacre—when on a late winter evening in 1770, British soldiers shot five local men to death—is familiar to generations. But from the very beginning, many accounts have obscured a fascinating truth: the Massacre arose from conflicts that were as personal as they were political.

Professor Serena Zabin draws on original sources and lively stories to follow British troops as they are dispatched from Ireland to Boston in 1768 to subdue the increasingly rebellious colonists. And she reveals a forgotten world hidden in plain sight: the many regimental wives and children who accompanied these armies. We see these families jostling with Bostonians for living space, finding common cause in the search for a lost child, trading barbs, and sharing baptisms. Becoming, in other words, neighbors. When soldiers shot unarmed citizens in the street, it was these intensely human, now broken bonds that fueled what quickly became a bitterly fought American Revolution.

Serena Zabin’s The Boston Massacre delivers an indelible new slant on iconic American Revolutionary history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544911154
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 538,306
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

SERENA ZABIN is a professor of history and director of the American studies program at Carleton College. She is the author of Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York and The New York Conspiracy Trials of 1741: Daniel Horsmanden’s Journal of the Proceedings. She is also the codesigner of a forthcoming serious video game about the Boston Massacre, Witness to the Revolution.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Prologue xi

1 Families of Empire, 1765 1

2 Inseparable Interests, 1766-67 17

3 Seasons of Discontent, 1766-68 31

4 Under One Roof, 1768 49

5 Love Your Neighbor, 1769-70 79

6 Absent Without Leave, 1768-70 109

7 A Deadly Riot : March 1770 136

8 Gathering Up: March 6, 1770-August 1772 160

9 From Shooting to Massacre, October-December 1770 191

Epilogue: Civil War 222

Acknowledgments 229

Notes 233

Index 285

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