THE BOSTON MASSACRE by Hiller B. Zobel

THE BOSTON MASSACRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With a second American Revolution in the air if not in the offing, several historical studies have emerged which examine the legacy and lessons of the original American Revolution in hopes of exposing a genuine revolutionary tradition which can speak to the contemporary situation. Hiller Zobel is guided by a different purpose in removing the sacrosanct shrouds which enwrap our patriotic myths. His full-scale investigation of the milestone Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770) and the conditions that bred it reveals the tragic consequences when radical recklessness and establishment impotence combine to undermine public authority and escalate tensions toward violence. ""For five years preceding the shootings, order hail gradually disappeared from the streets, untrammeled law had, slowly been barred from the courts. For five years, violence had become so common in Massachusetts and the attempts to restrict it so absurdly futile that killing must surely come, on one side or the other."" The narrative, which covers the period from the arrival of the incompetent royal representative to Massachusetts Francis Bernard in December 1760 through the ""Massacre's"" court sequels which acquitted most of the soldiers involved, is extremely rich in well-researched detail. The ""Massacre"" becomes ""historically inevitable"" yet ""basically insignificant"" mob-soldier confrontation. ""Clearly Zobel is recommending courage and imagination to the establishment and restraint and moderation to radicals, but his own specific positions on political issues and methods both historical and contemporary remain undefined.

ISBN: 0393314839
Publisher: Norton