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Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty Hardcover – November 21, 2011
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- Nathaniel Philbrick
"Thank you Dr. Forman for writing the book. [You] sought to put together the details of the life of Joseph Warren, a Boston doctor... who started the [Warren] physician lineage as well as had a major impact in the American Revolution." - Atul Gawande
"Dr. Samuel Forman presents this extraordinary book about Dr. Joseph Warren... His roots in history allow him to be an exemplar of the scholar physician." - Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard University School of Public Health
"This is a story about an extremely overlooked founder who really played a huge part in the country's fight for freedom from the English. This is a definite keeper in the biography/historian's and perhaps, even the fiction reader's library." - Mary Lignor, Feathered Quill Book Reviews
From the Inside Flap
- Paul Bracken, professor of political science, Yale University, and author of Fire in the East: The Rise of Asian Military Power and the Second Nuclear Age
Dr. Joseph Warren conducted what was surely the most unusual medical practice in America's early history. He collected key military intelligence prior to the Revolutionary War from a network of spies acting as patients and was among early American doctors to use dead bodies for anatomical study. However, that is only part of his story. By virtue of directing the original Minute Men, Warren is considered a founder of the Army National Guard. He served as president of the 1775 Massachusetts Provincial Congress, where he advocated for a military accountable only to elected government, and as a Freemasonry Grand Master. Finally, as a military general, Warren was the first high-ranking American officer killed during the Revolutionary War. This definitive biography is accompanied by an enlightening series of appendices, which include a forensic reconstruction of the doctor's account books. Dr. Samuel A. Forman has a personal mission to increase enthusiasm for American core values. He became intrigued by the references to Joseph Warren, whose résumé defied belief that one person could do many things, much less do them simultaneously, well, and frequently lead them. Early in his research for this book, Forman attended lectures on the American Revolution by Prof. David Hackett Fischer, Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author of books on the era, who commented that "it may take a physician to tell Warren's story properly." Making sense of opaque eighteenth-century physician's account books, a feat of both forensic analysis and medical historical scholarship, turned out to be the elusive key to understanding Joseph Warren's life experiences. It is an accomplishment that only a scholar-physician could hope to achieve. A father of five, Forman lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author has an interesting challenge in his subject: Warren took on a wide range of responsibilities over the course of his short life: medicine (as practitioner and teacher), Freemasonry (from apprentice to Grand Master), family life, politics (too much to list!), and military pursuits. Rather than a straight chronology, Forman arranges the book into these various categories. While this does lead to occasional repetition between sections (when it's necessary to clarify the timeline), this allows Forman more opportunity to present these aspects in greater depth than they ever were in earlier biographies. He wrangles his complex subject well.
While Forman absolutely admires and respects Warren, he does not "clean up" his subject for the purpose of hero worship, and takes care to separate myth from fact. Warren is depicted as human, with his share of character flaws. Moreso than in the other biographies, in this one I was able to see him grow and mature in his relationships, interactions, and political experience.
Forman also incorporates fascinating aspects of historiography and new historical "forensic" research. He reviews how Warren has been remembered - and forgotten - since his death.Read more ›
For instance, Forman's book lays to rest the 236-year-old question of the circumstances of the death of Dr. Warren, utilizing modern forensic techniques, which paints an entirely different picture of the final moments of Dr. Warren's short life. The meticulousness of the Forman's research to uncover such details of Warren's demise is unmatched. As another example, I am amazed at Forman's findings on such details as Warren's medical practice and even his secret engagement with Miss Mercy Scollay.
Simply put, this is the most definitive biography on Warren ever written, and I doubt it will ever be topped. It is well organized, well written, and thoroughly researched. Indeed, this biography includes vast new research and findings, and thus furthers the body of knowledge on what historians and Americans know of the fateful events of 1775 that began the Revolutionary War, events that Warren not only found himself amid, but also was an instigator and leader of.Read more ›
For those of us who know about and value Dr. Joseph Warren's contributions to the American Revolution, Dr. Forman's book is a sigh of relief.
This biography is the book I wish had been written when I started my own research on Warren years ago. Dr. Warren was a complex and enigmatic figure. He also needs to be understood in many different roles: doctor, patriot, writer, free mason, politician, soldier, as well as in the context of his family, that writing about him can become difficult.
This biography manages to shed light on every aspect of Dr. Warren's life, which helps him emerge in three dimensions for the first time. Forman approaches his subject topically in order to fully address each area. For instance, Forman devotes an entire chapter to Warren as doctor, but doesn't simply talk about his medical training or his patients tended to. He also covers 18th Century medicine as a whole, in order to understand Warren's approach to medicine in the context of his times, and how he fit the standards and expectations of his day, and how he broke apart from them.
You can expect the same treatment from every chapter.
From someone who researched Warren extensively (as an amateur) it was obvious to me how much first hand research Forman did for this biography. This is *not* a regurgitation of information you can find in other sources.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
On the whole, I very much enjoyed this book because I thought the author did an excellent job researching his subject, digging into the various archives, historical societies, and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by a viewer
"DR. JOSEPH WARREN: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty" by Dr. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bill Kaye
Almost a 5 star.
The good is REALLY good and is worth going through the bad to get it. Here is rediscovered and put back in his rightful place a Patriot as important as... Read more
Labor of Love
Researching and writing this book was clearly a labor of love for Dr. Forman as in the French amateur (“lover of”) and Latin amator (“lover”). Read more
A wonderful biography of an very important Patriot whose accomplishments and heroic deeds have unfortunately faded from public awareness. Read morePublished 14 months ago by HueTwo
Wonderful book for a history buff, who wants to know more about American history. This is a detailed and interesting account of Dr. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Joe Stanley
Another reviewer with some disdain for this offering called the writing "amateurish", an observation that in this case may identify a large part of the problem. Read morePublished 16 months ago by VA Duck
Very interesting book with lots of history, easy to read with lots of local MA individuals during the revolution. And... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Catwax