Samuel Adams might have been America's first machine politician. . . . He invented the news service. . . . ""Had legislative buildings been equipped with lobbies then"" he would have been the first lobbyist. . . . He, not Napoleon, was the first to damn the English with the phrase ""a nation of shopkeepers."" This, by way of preface, is the closest we come to Adams, as the sources and mechanisms of his leadership -- though not his prolific editorializing -- fade into the background and Chidsey, with staccato sentences and insurmountable adjectives, raps out the score of Boston citizenry vs. British army. Mildly informative forays into comparative military science, funeral customs, liquor preferences and the history of tea coupled with scattershot anecdotes drawn with equal irrelevance from Tacitus, Dr. Johnson and Will Rogers round out the sketchy summary of both parliamentary and Patriot politics. A garage sale approach, with a certain appeal for those who enjoy poking around among period odds and ends.