American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution

Nina Sankovitch. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-16328-8
Historian Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts) explores the family connections and revolutionary politics shared by John Hancock, John and Abigail Adams, and Josiah Quincy Jr., in this richly detailed and fluidly written account. Beginning with the 1744 funeral of Rev. John Hancock, whose son John would later serve as governor of Massachusetts and president of the Second Continental Congress, Sankovitch charts the close connections between her central figures—John Hancock married Josiah Jr.’s cousin, Dolly Quincy, and John Adams’s wife, Abigail, was also descended from the Quincy line—and details the leading roles that Hancock and Adams played in writing the Declaration of Independence. For many readers, however, the book’s biggest revelation will be lesser-known figure Josiah Jr., who served as Adams’s co-counsel in the Boston Massacre trial, traveled to England to make a last-ditch effort to avoid armed conflict, and tried, in an attempt thwarted by fatal illness, to convey secret messages to rebel leaders about British intentions. Sankovitch leavens her deeply researched account with wit, and presents a persuasive and entertaining portrait of life in colonial Boston. Revolutionary War buffs will savor this thoughtful addition to popular histories of the period. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/10/2019
Release date: 03/24/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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