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Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America Paperback – October 25, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A sterling account."--;i>The Boston Globe
"--Michael Kenney "The Boston Globe "

"A thoughtful, balanced corrective to partisan treatments of the Boston Tea Party."--;i>Guardian
"--Maya Jasanoff "Guardian "

"Assiduously researched."--;i>The New Yorker
"--Caleb Crain "The New Yorker "

About the Author

Benjamin L. Carp is associate professor of history at Tufts University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300178123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300178128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Benjamin L. Carp is an associate professor of early American history at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He has written about firefighters and the American Revolution, nationalism in Revolutionary America and the Civil War South, cities and the American Revolution, and the Boston Tea Party. He grew up in Woodmere, New York.

Photo credit Meredith M. Carlson

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book for anyone interested in the makings of the American Revolution. What really impressed me was the broad scope the author took in explaining the the colonies break with England. He gives us a world view and then zeros in on Colonial Boston and the Tea Party. While I have read countless accounts of that event I haven't come across such a rich telling,which is in part due to the author's extensive research and keen eye for interesting details. I made the mistake of reading sections aloud to my husband, who has taken the book off of my nightstand twice now, causing me to have to wrestle it out of his hands! In our house that makes it a keeper....
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Format: Hardcover
I've been anxiously awaiting this book and its in-depth analysis of the Boston Tea Party since April, so I was thrilled to receive it the mail yesterday. I've only read the first four chapters (of 10) so far, but I already place Defiance of the Patriots by Benjamin L. Carp safely among my favorite history books. In fact, its shaping up to be top 10 material. On my top 10 list, which favors 18th century history, Carp will be in good company with David Hackett Fischer (Paul Revere's Ride), David McCullough (John Adams, 1776), and Arthur M. Schlesinger (Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776).

What I like most about Defiance of Patriots is the well-rounded education I'm receiving in the East India Company, Boston city life, Thomas Hutchinson, colonial politics and culture, tea, 18th century economics, international relations, etc. J. L. Bell of the Boston 1775 blog puts it best, "For folks interested in the real story of the Tea Party, Defiance of the Patriots is the most thorough and wide-ranging account out there."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Carp masterfully tells the whole story of the Boston Tea Party. It was not just about "taxation without representation" and part of the linear progression from the French and Indian War to the Revolution. The tea in the harbor was a cog in the global empire's system of taxation and trade directed from London. The East India Company spanned the globe in its pursuit of profits- a veritable 18th century vampire squid. The sale of the tea would enhance their monopoly and the custom duties would pay the salary of the despised Governor of the Massachusetts colony. Interestingly, patriots in Philadelphia, New York and other cities had similar plans. But the always anxious Bostonians beat them to the punch. A great yarn.
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Format: Hardcover
Carp's richly textured account of the events before, during, and after the Boston Tea Party is far more interesting than the usual version taught in grade school. Carp presents his well-researched material with an engaging writing style.

There were many aspects of the Tea Party that I did not appreciate until reading this book:

- The American colonists' opinions were influenced by events occurring halfway around the world. During a famine in Bengal a few years before, the East India Company (a monopoly trading arm of the British government) withheld grain and continued taxation while more than one million Indians starved. The Americans worried that they might be next.

- The Tea Act included both a tea price cut and a new tax on tea. The net cost of tea was actually going to go down (!), not up. The colonists objected because: it would cut local merchants out of the importation business; the tax was not enacted by or for the colonists; and, the tax would fund the salary of the Governor and other officers, making them less accountable to the colonists. Less high-mindedly, prominent traders like the Hancock family realized that a drop in the price of tea would reduce profits from their tea smuggling activities.

- Boston had lagged behind Philadelphia and New York in the effort to resist the Tea Act, but they redeemed themselves with the Boston Tea Party.

- The Tea Party was not a spontaneous event. The participants only took action at the very last minute, after weeks of speeches, meetings, and newspaper articles failed to accomplish anything.

- The Tea Party was a big job.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Drank Green Tea from Holland - I hope - but don't know" - John Adams, 1771 (pg 77)

"An exasperated people, who feel that they possess power, are not easily restrained within limits strictly regular." Thomas Jefferson, 1773 (pg 118)

"Is it Lawful for a weary traveler to refresh himself with a Dish of Tea provided it has been honestly smuggled, or paid no Duties?" - John Adams, 1774 (pg 178)

As an American History enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular accounting of the Boston Tea party and the events leading up to it. Not only does it give another, very interesting and well-written historical accounting, it also delves into the origins of the tea trade - the monopolies, the wealth, the incredibly lucrative opportunity to levy tax on it, and why it became so important to the Colonists in the first place. There's a lot more to the tale of tea than just a cup and saucer. And it provided the perfect excuse for a group of people struggling to be free of monarchies, "taxation without representation" and a "governing body" half a world away - to separate themselves once for all and seek a government "for the people, by the people"; an idea that seemed destined to take flight under the wings of such public rousers as James Otis, John and Samuel Adams, and the invisible, though determined, non-public actions of those known only as the "Sons of Liberty."

The entire background of the tea trade was fascinating - from the East India Company and it's stranglehold over the trade issue, (not only of tea, but of spices, silk, gold and (yes) Opium!) to the catalyst of Tea itself that ultimately was responsible for the Separation that established America; fascinating that something so simple could become such a controversy.
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