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Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War Hardcover – November 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061899550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061899553
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is popular history in its most vital and accessible form. Standiford has recovered the mentality of America’s first group of young radicals, the Sons of Liberty, and tells their story with flair and grace.” (Joseph J. Ellis, author of Pulitzer Prize winner Founding Brothers and forthcoming Revolutionary Summer)

From the Back Cover

A groundbreaking narrative—a historical political thriller—that explores the role of the Sons of Liberty in the American Revolution.

More than two hundred years ago, a group of British colonists in America decided that the conditions under which they were governed had become intolerable. Angry and frustrated that King George III and the British Parliament had ignored their lawful complaints and petitions, they decided to take action.

Knowing that their deeds—often directed at individuals and property—were illegal, and punishable by imprisonment and even death, these agitators plotted and conducted their missions in secret to protect their identities as well as the identities of those who supported them. Calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, they gathered together in a radical society committed to imposing forcible change. Those determined men—including second cousins Samuel and John Adams, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock—saw themselves as patriots. Yet to the Crown, and to many of the Sons' fellow colonists, the revolutionaries were terrorists who deserved death for their treason.

In this gripping narrative, Les Standiford reveals how this group of intelligent, committed men, motivated by economics and political belief, began a careful campaign of interlocking events that would channel feelings of vague injustice into an armed rebellion of common cause, which would defeat an empire and give birth to a radical political experiment—a new nation known as the United States.

Customer Reviews

If you like nuts and bolts history, you will enjoy this book.
Colin Sword
Standiford has all kinds of wonderful details on how Paul Revere's ride really went, and an almost moment-by-moment account of what happened at Lexington.
M. Harrison
Its why we have a United States of America....no taxation without representation, hmmm sounds very timely!
Bravo2Zero

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Harrison on November 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I thought I knew a fair amount about the history of the Revolution, but I certainly didn't know this story in the way that Les Standiford tells it. It was fascinating to learn how this group came together despite divergent interests, and how dedicated they were to their goals. This was perhaps America's first grass-roots movement, and even in today's world of social media, there are lessons to be learned on how an idea becomes action. Standiford has all kinds of wonderful details on how Paul Revere's ride really went, and an almost moment-by-moment account of what happened at Lexington. Now I want to go back to Boston and see the city from this "Desperate" perspective!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Stableford on December 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If one were to liken the American Revolution to an iceberg, the most visible part above the water's surface would be the more commonly known details after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, particularly the major players, such as Washington, Franklin, and the principle events and battles, like Valley Forge, Yorktown. What is less well known is the work of the Sons of Liberty and their major role in the years leading up to the first engagement at Lexington and Concord. Les Standiford's "Desperate Sons" masterfully addresses the years before the climatic post declaration years. His richly detailed book is a must read for anyone who wishes to learn about how men, who saw injustice at the hands of the English government, initiated the spark that led to a revolution.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By frrobinson on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Desparate Sons is basically a history of the Sons of Liberty and their role in leading the colonies into the revolutionary war. Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Patrick Henry all played key roles in this account, but the author also focuses on other key players that the reader may have never heard of such as James Otis and Issac Sears. Also the author focuses on how the different chapters of the Sons of Liberty initially worked independently of each other, but eventually started working together. These men were ahead of the curve on independence, eventually bringing men such as John Adams, Franklin, Wasnington, and Jefferson on the side of the indenpendence. Recommended for anyone interested in the history of the Revolution or the Founders.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TicToc on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Article first published as Book Review:Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War by Les Standiford on Blogcritics.

The History of our past and the beginnings of our liberty and freedom are a constant reminder of what it takes to make a strong America. Schools teach us the history in the fashion it has been taught for hundreds of years, yet there must be more. Who were these entrepreneurial men, ready to put their lives at stake in the pursuit of liberty?

In Desperate Sons by Les Standiford, we are accorded a history of the radicals known as the Sons of Liberty, those who put their lives on the line in an effort to give the colonies the right to be a part of their own rule, and if that failed, find a way to gain their liberty from a nation that was intent on using them to build their coffers. The intrigues and ideal of this secret group of young men, begin as a few muttered concerns, but bring about the Revolution and the freedom and liberty of America as we know it.

Some of the names are known for numerous reasons and often are accorded their place in history, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock to name a few, but there was more to the depth of the accounts that stirred up the hornets' nest that became a revolution. With both sides taking a strong stance, ego was a powerful weapon. When peace was a possibility it would take only the fire of incredulity to fan the breezes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chris L on February 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing about it on a radio show. I had thought that the book would focus more on the organization of the sons, or how it leaders justified their actions, etc.

The book provided more of an overview of events happening in major cities like Boston and New York in the pre-war years and the influence of the sons during that time. Interesting book, just not what I was looking for.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Philip Jason on January 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excerpted from review originally published in FLORIDA WEEKLY

Breathing new life into an already lively story, Les Standiford takes as his focus the self-style "Sons of Liberty" who helped energize colonial Americans to see their future as citizens of an independent nation rather than as subjects of England. In bringing us from the catalytic acts of perceived British (actually, Parliamentary) oppression to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Mr. Standiford underscores the contributions of a handful of determined individuals whose words and deeds pressed issues to the breaking point. They were unwilling to settle for expedient, short-lived, artificial bandages of conciliation.

The author does a splendid job of building a sense of daily life in Colonial America during the 1760s and early 1770s. Without being showy about it, this Florida International University creative writing professor immerses his readers in the texture of life: its tastes and smells, its architecture and technology, its economic and physical realities. Charleston, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Providence come alive with the urgent concerns of tradesmen, laborers, landowners, militiamen, and politicians.

What affects the growing minority of discontents is, of course British oppression in the form of parliamentary actions intended to refill England's depleted coffers at the expense of the "thankless" colonists. The Stamp Act, essentially a tax on transactions, sets the angry, loquacious, and not particularly likeable Samuel Adams into motion as a rabble-rousing force whose speeches and scribbles assault the audacity of British lawmakers, fomenting resistance and refusal to comply.

Mr. Standiford's narrative has a pulse.
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