I lived in Boston for many years and picked up pieces of Revolutionary War history here and there. Having grown up outside the country I only had the basics of US history in my head. Between my touristing in Boston with various visitors and what I already knew, I thought I knew what was what.
This book is quite extensive and very thorough in its history of the lead up to the Declaration of Independence. If there’s one message I took from the book, it was ‘be careful what you start’. If the book is to be believed, those that began the agitation never really planned to start their own country. Protests grew into a revolution through many many micro-decisions and key personalities in the right place at the right time.
Things got out of hand and momentum picked up and seemed to leave few options.
Was the US Revolution a mistake? I don’t think Philbrick would go that far, but he does seem to argue that the founders of the country were more amateurs that stumbled into their roles. Certainly many opposed the actions of Britain (and Philbrick argues strongly for the many mistakes of Britain in this process) but the average ‘American’ didn’t see themselves as Americans. They were very upset British subjects.
The book is very interesting and brings a very human face to the Revolution. I’ve walked so many of the roads in this book and it was really meaningful to learn the human side of the events that happened there.
It may have been the medium, but I found the number of different people covered confusing at times. Perhaps that would have been easier with the book.
Overall, I found this book a very educational experience, especially for someone living in New England. I would recommend the book, particularly to those who are interested in history or who live in this area.