I think Sam Adams first ""came alive"" for me in reading Preston's Revolution: 1776. Here his biographer fills in the chinks, and produces a rounded picture of a man who virtually manipulated the public into war through propaganda that was as skilfully handled as the accusers would claim propaganda had been mishandled to precipitate the World War. One loses overboard plenty of illusions as to the idealistic basis of our Revolution, as to many of the patriots of our history books, as to the single-mindedness of the colonies in opposing British tyranny. Meticulously detailed account --step by step -- of Adams' career, and very little of his personal life. An important book, spirited handling of what might be a bit on the dull side. I found it extremely interesting.