In a minute-by-minute account, this popular book gives a vivid picture of what actually happened on April 19, 1775.In a minute-by-minute account, this popular book gives a vivid picture of what actually happened on April 19, 1775.Read Less
The epic events of Lexington and Concord would be in the words of Reverend Jonas Clarke, for ?the impartial world to judge.? (Pg.139). Arthur Bernon Tourtellot was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1913 and graduated from Harvard in 1935. He became associate producer of The March of Time in 1942 and was director of Time?s television productions from 1950 to 52, and was a general partner in the public relations firm of Earl Newson & Company. Some of his other works are Beloved No More (1938), The History of the Horse (1940),, The Charles (in The Rivers of America series0 (1941), Woodrow Wilson Today (1946), and Anatomy of American Politics (1950). He was editor of Life?s Picture History of World War II (1950) and the film version of Eisenhower?s Crusade in Europe. His last book was Benjamin Franklin: the Shaping of Genius: the Boston Years: (1977). He died the same year. Originally published as William Diamond?s Drum, the authors intent of a thesis is masterful; his intent, accomplished. The events of Lexington and Concord were not an accident or sheer mishap of events of an unfortunate expedition force, which recklessly happened to agitate an entire Massachusetts countryside, and were therefore attacked in response. The conflicts of Lexington and Concord were a conditioned, readied (although not pretty or perfect) response, conditioned by patriots within the local communities, from preaching and good role model preachers (very important) over years of sermons, from speeches, and propaganda. From suffering from the tyranny of taxes and enjoying the autonomy, and Adams and Hancock were not going to let it pass (a political necessity to acquire an army). From the very first words of the text the author humanizes the story with a description of the weather, or geographic descriptions of the homes and roads. He describes the simple country New England lifestyle, their communities with their long inter-family histories and even at times a conservative opinionated dogmatism in the people. Tourtellot utilizes the first two chapters to build the depth of the tradition of community in Lexington as well the sense of establishment of self and accomplishment. He also develops the involvement of the influential Jonas Clarke, Pastor of the community, with Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Interestingly, the author drives home his case by discussing the time on the evening of the eighteenth of April, in the hours waiting for the British that the pastor, who had been the real political leader and the draftsman of all the communities statements of public policies, spent time with Sam Adams and Captain John Parker, commander of the Lexington militia (Pg. 113). The fact that a veteran officer of the French and Indian war would make such a tactical error as facing the world?s greatest soldiers in the open which was their preferred method, against his better judgment is obviously a coordinated effort with the patriots. The author emphasizes his thesis with the quote of Samuel Adams upon hearing the sound of gunfire from the Lexington Common. ?O, what a glorious morning is this (Pg. 139).? He went on the explain his meaning to a perplexed Hancock that he was not referring to their physical predicament of hiding in the woods, but that it was a glorious day for America. (Pg. 139) Tourtelott made excellent use of the narrative style, progressing events from the scenes on site at the departures from Boston and the preparations simultaneously at Lexington to include express riders and intercept officers of the crown. Equally rotating back and forth, he balances his narration to culminate the events in a laymen read with scholarly material. His use of primary material is extensive, liberally utilizing the resources permitted from the late Allen French of Concord, who had conducted previously collect work on the papers of General Thomas Gage, acquired by William L. Clements and held by the University of Michigan (Pg. 13). He supports his social historic defining with primary resources from resolves from the towns, to personal letters between individuals, as well as depositions such as those of Paul Revere (Pg. 78). One particularly wonderful illustration and use of primary resource is his letter of Elizabeth Clarke written in on April 19th, 1841 to her niece Lucy Allen, recounting the events of the battle. Still living in the Clarke home and writing from the very window from where she watched the British attack, she was an eye witness not only to history, but to the initial responses of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Imagine (Pg. 141)! Of a slight detraction from the work is that the author repeats himself with material in several locations. An example is a fact that when Dr. Warren arrived to participate against Earl Percy?s troops, a musket shot knocked a pin out of the formers hair. This seemed to have been an unnecessary repeated use of an illustration; first mentioned on page 197 and then on page 212. It is possible that the illustration was associated with the biographical notes the author had on Dr. Warren in his primary research and resurfaced in his writing at that point in the text at which point he included it again. But to say this would detract from the text overall would be to error in the intent. The genealogical and personal information is thorough and detailed is of brilliant accounting. His contribution to the historical record is phenomenal for the event in compiling not only the participants upon the Lexington Green, but upon the North Bridge at Concord as well as along the road to Boston. The author was able to capture the emotion, confusion, incompetence, the inexperience, the shock, and complacency of some, and even the soberness of others throughout the text. From his description of the complacent and imprudent operations of the British in getting the expedition off and then reinforced, compared to the well organized evolutions of the Committee of Safety in the discovery of the expedition and communicating to an entire countryside to receive and intercept the march. Contextually, the author was able to historically place events in their local perspective, removed from the hyperbole of propaganda. He reminded that no women, children or unarmed old men were killed. He recorded the uneventful expressions of the soldiers and the references to the unfortunate encounters on the Lexington Green in the morning. He described the slowness of the march and the minimally successful searches at Concord. His use of accounts from British officers, especially those of Lieutenant Barker of the King?s Own give great historical insight as he give what seems to be very direct and unbiased insight. The maps and illustrations are very good with the details of Lexington and Concord being the best that the author of this little paper has seen to date. The author of the text being a son of New England obviously took great pride in his community and in his Alma Mater. Any student conducting a serious study of the American Revolution should be required to read this text. The complement which is produced between the opening struggle and the rest which is to follow are unquestionably undeniable.
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