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The Boston Massacre: A Family History
by Serena Zabin

Published: 2020-02-18
Hardcover : 320 pages
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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, ...
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Introduction

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 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. 

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of February 2020: This book’s subtitle, “A Family History,” sends a clear signal that this isn’t your usual Boston Massacre story—and thank goodness for history professor Serena Zabin’s interest in digging deeper into the 1770 event that pivoted the American colonies closer to revolution. With an eye for the attention-arresting detail, Zabin follows a dozen key players as British troops are first housed among the tax-resistant Bostonians in an antagonistic 1768 decision by the army’s officers, and then begin to desert into the New England countryside in record numbers. At the same time, Zabin highlights the juicy stories of soldiers’ marriages to local lasses, soldiers’ wives’ attempts to keep their families together, and drunken scuffles on the street to examine the complicated relationships that propagated during the British regiments’ years in Boston. Diary entries, personal letters to friends and fiery letters to newspapers, sarcastic ditties sung at social events, and court and church records expose the complex interactions between the residents of Boston and the soldiers encamped among them. Zabin’s sense of humor, her interest in exploring historical crannies others have ignored, and a firm grasp of human behavior make The Boston Massacre a lively and convincing history that illuminates an oft-cited incident in a new and exhilarating way. —Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review

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