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Lexington and Concord: The Beginning of the War of the American Revolution Paperback – April 17, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393320561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393320565
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An absorbing and vital history . . . about a crucial week in the history of the United States. -- Christian Science Monitor

Vivid, fast moving, splendidly detailed. . . . Presents magnificently for the general reader and the specialist this immortal opening chapter of our beginnings as a nation. -- Saturday Review

[A] brilliantly organized and convincing book. -- Times Literary Supplement [London]

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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In this marvelous work of narrative history, Arthur Tourtellot provides a seminal account of those events.
Stephen M. Bainbridge
Although the book gives a detailed analysis of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, and the British retreat back to Boston, it is not just another military history.
Bruce Loveitt
So if you read that book and loved it, do be aware that this is not a "new" book by Mr. Tourtellot.
Bill Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By radioguy on July 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
As far as I'm concerned, there are two essential books for the general reader interested in Lexington and Concord and the events of April 19, 1775. This is one of them. Tourtellot's attention to detail and his particular focus on Parker, Hancock and Adams adds some real human dimension to the standard history. He writes with clarity and insight and doesn't fall into the trap of easy characterizations. His portrayal of Thomas Gage is layered and complex, just like the man. By the way, the other essential book is David Hackett Fisher's "Paul Revere's Ride," which is a much more recent work.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on October 23, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this review gives you an idea why this book is such an enjoyable reading experience. Although the book gives a detailed analysis of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, and the British retreat back to Boston, it is not just another military history. Mr. Tourtellot provides such intimate detail, and he quotes from sufficient primary sources, that you feel you've come to know the famous, such as Sam Adams and John Hancock, and the everyday people that lived in Lexington and Concord and got swept up in the events of April 19th, 1775. Considering that the book is about such a serious subject, it is also surprisingly funny.....up until the shooting starts. This is certainly a case of farce turning into tragedy. If you'll pardon the pun, General Gage was such an engaging fellow that he made it clear that he wanted the Colonials handled with kid gloves. Again, up until the shooting started, the British were quite accomodating. They were very polite towards the populace, even when searching for weapons and powder. They went to one house and there was a room the owner wouldn't let them go into. She said that there was a woman in that room who didn't feel well, so the British didn't press the issue and didn't search the room. Of course, that was the one room in the house where gunpowder was being stored! The British excursion from Boston was a comedy of errors. It was supposed to be a surprise, but the Colonials knew all about it. There were endless delays in leaving Boston, which gave riders such as Paul Revere plenty of time to get to Lexington and Concord to warn people to hide weapons and gunpowder. Gage had given detailed orders on what he wanted done.Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bill Wallace on March 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that I highly recommend! It is detailed, fast paced and exciting from beginning to end. A must read for any student of the American Revolution. However; be forwarned, this book was originally published under the title: "William Diamond's Drum". So if you read that book and loved it, do be aware that this is not a "new" book by Mr. Tourtellot. But if it is a new book to you under either title, then by all means grab it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Bainbridge on November 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
The events of April 19, 1775, in Lexington and Concord obviously are central to the American story. In this marvelous work of narrative history, Arthur Tourtellot provides a seminal account of those events. As a visiting professor at a Boston university during the 2000-2001 academic year, I have had the good fortune of living in Lexington. I have spent many hours wandering the Minuteman National Monument, Battle Road, and the Lexington and Concord greens, with Tourtellot's book in hand. The area is quite different today then it was in 1775, of course. On the one hand, the towns obviously are much bigger. On the other hand, however, many of the cleared farm fields of 1775 are now covered with second growth forest. One cannot, for example, easily see North Bridge--let alone town center--from Punkatasset Hill. Nonetheless, Tourtellot's careful narrative makes the scene come alive. His clear telling of the story makes it possible for one to follow the action quite closely.
One of the most interesting aspects of Tourtellot's text is emphasis on the intersection of religion and politics in understanding the motivations of the population of Lexington and Concord. In particular, he puts Rev. Jonas Clarke (Lexington's town minister) at the center of the stage. As Tourtellot persuasively argues, it was Clarke's influence that led to Captain Parker's otherwise rather puzzling decision to take a stand with 60 or 70 men against hundreds of British regulars.
In sum, very highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book does a wonderful job at bringing home the story of the start of our armed revolution in a highly personal and interesting way.
Relying on contemporary sources, diaries and journals, Arthur Tourtellot breathes life into the battles of Lexington and Concord. I am amazed that so many and varied first person accounts of those battles exist. Usually, Lexington and Concord are presented as quick preludes to the War of Revolution -- the actors anonymous except for Gen. Thomas Gage. Tourtellot introduces local clergy, militia captains, minutemen, patriots and citizens who all combined to start the colonies on the road to independence.
Lurking in the background is Samuel Adams. His preparation of the political ground that would set the stage for the confrontation with the British is neatly summarized in this book. Other notables, such as patriot rider Paul Revere, are also given their due in this story.
This fine book gives a background on the village and attitudes of Lexington, MA leading up to the battle. The last chapters also tell how Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren and others made quick and effective use of the conflict to great effect on the minds of fellow Americans and the quite sizable segment of British public opinion who harbored at least some sympathy for the American point of view.
The heart of the book is the military confrontation. The author writes crisply and clearly, even while including fascinating narrative and first person accounts. General Gage's plan is in reaction to pressure from the Crown and Parliament to take some action to assert Royal authority over increasingly rebellious colonials. His march to Concord (through Lexington) is designed to seize American powder and arms.
Massachusetts patriots are at the ready.
Read more ›
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