Eric Hinderaker Boston’s Massacre

ISBN 13: 9780674048331

Boston’s Massacre

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9780674048331: Boston’s Massacre

On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston’s Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.

When Parliament stationed two thousand British troops in Boston beginning in 1768, resentment spread rapidly among the populace. Steeped in traditions of self-government and famous for their Yankee independence, Bostonians were primed to resist the imposition. Living up to their reputation as Britain’s most intransigent North American community, they refused compromise and increasingly interpreted their conflict with Britain as a matter of principle. Relations between Britain and the North American colonies deteriorated precipitously after the shooting at the Custom House, and it soon became the catalyzing incident that placed Boston in the vanguard of the Patriot movement.

Fundamental uncertainties about the night’s events cannot be resolved. But the larger significance of the Boston Massacre extends from the era of the American Revolution to our own time, when the use of violence in policing crowd behavior has once again become a pressing public issue.

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About the Author:

Eric Hinderaker is Professor of History at the University of Utah.

Review:

In Boston’s Massacre, Eric Hinderaker brilliantly unpacks the creation of competing narratives around a traumatic and confusing episode of violence. With deft insight, careful research, and lucid writing, Hinderaker shows how the bloodshed in one Boston street became pivotal to making and remembering a revolution that created a nation. (Alan Taylor, author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804)

Seldom does the book appear that compels its readers both to rethink a signal event in American history and reexamine powerful assumptions about historical knowledge itself. It’s even rarer for an author to accomplish so formidable a feat in prose of sparkling clarity and grace. But this is such a book, and Eric Hinderaker just such an author: Boston’s Massacre is a gem. (Fred Anderson, author of Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766)

Hinderaker illuminates the events of March 5, 1770, from a host of unexpected angles, from its military origins and the possibility of an additional shooter, to the Kent State comparison that thrust itself upon the nation two hundred years later. (Woody Holton, author of Abigail Adams)

Eric Hinderaker widens our understanding of the Boston Massacre and the origins of the American Revolution. By setting this stirring event in the context of New England’s involvement in Britain’s colonial wars, and by depicting the occupying British army as a social force of considerable power, this elegant book gives us a far richer account of how military occupation pushed Boston into rebellion. (Mark A. Peterson, author of The Price of Redemption: The Spiritual Economy of Puritan New England)

In his examination of the 1770 Boston Massacre, Hinderaker deftly explores the characters of British leaders, American administrators, and those who stirred what many considered a mob...The author ably exposes the symbolic import of the massacre as it defined the limits of legitimate authority and of legitimate popular protest. (Kirkus Reviews 2017-01-01)

Hinderaker claims no definitive version of the event, instead offering a thoughtful meditation on the episode’s significance for shared American identity and memory. Untangling the complex circumstances under which Britain stationed thousands of troops in Boston in the peacetime of 1768, Hinderaker maps the colonial anxieties regarding imperial control that came to a head with the shootings...He ends with a provocative...reflection on the massacre’s symbolic resonance with more recent examples of police brutality, making this book important reading for anyone interested in questions regarding the limits of authority and protest. (Publishers Weekly 2017-01-30)

Readers are left with a nuanced understanding of the way we shape historical narratives after any major event... A compelling and well-researched account of the Boston Massacre, for readers seeking more refined studies of early American history. (Jessica Holland Library Journal 2017-02-01)

Fascinating...Hinderaker’s meticulous research shows that the Boston Massacre was contested from the beginning...The Boston Massacre’s contested meanings have plenty to tell us about America’s identity, past and present. (Mark Spencer Wall Street Journal 2017-03-10)

Using the Boston Massacre as a case study, [Hinderaker] highlights how moments of extreme intensity shape an observer’s understanding of that moment and the subsequent narratives that followed. (M. A. Byron Choice 2017-08-01)

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Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: New. The event known as the Boston Massacre is among the most familiar in U.S. history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions, and the long campaign to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity. Bookseller Inventory # 5655551

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2017. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston s Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity. When Parliament stationed two thousand British troops in Boston beginning in 1768, resentment spread rapidly among the populace. Steeped in traditions of self-government and famous for their Yankee independence, Bostonians were primed to resist the imposition. Living up to their reputation as Britain s most intransigent North American community, they refused compromise and increasingly interpreted their conflict with Britain as a matter of principle. Relations between Britain and the North American colonies deteriorated precipitously after the shooting at the Custom House, and it soon became the catalyzing incident that placed Boston in the vanguard of the Patriot movement. Fundamental uncertainties about the night s events cannot be resolved. But the larger significance of the Boston Massacre extends from the era of the American Revolution to our own time, when the use of violence in policing crowd behavior has once again become a pressing public issue. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780674048331

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2017. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston s Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity. When Parliament stationed two thousand British troops in Boston beginning in 1768, resentment spread rapidly among the populace. Steeped in traditions of self-government and famous for their Yankee independence, Bostonians were primed to resist the imposition. Living up to their reputation as Britain s most intransigent North American community, they refused compromise and increasingly interpreted their conflict with Britain as a matter of principle. Relations between Britain and the North American colonies deteriorated precipitously after the shooting at the Custom House, and it soon became the catalyzing incident that placed Boston in the vanguard of the Patriot movement. Fundamental uncertainties about the night s events cannot be resolved. But the larger significance of the Boston Massacre extends from the era of the American Revolution to our own time, when the use of violence in policing crowd behavior has once again become a pressing public issue. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780674048331

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