DESPERATE SONS by Les Standiford

DESPERATE SONS

Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War

KIRKUS REVIEW

An intriguing new look at the political and economic crises that prompted a secret society of American citizens into actions that incited the Revolutionary War.

Much has been written about Adams, Henry, Hancock and other Revolutionary patriots, but these histories tend to gloss the specific events that allowed the colonies to shift from disparate pockets of discontent to a unified force of rebellion against the British. Standiford (Creative Writing/Florida International Univ.; Bringing Adam Home, 2011, etc.) hones in on these details, providing a rich, exhilarating account of the circumstances behind the forming of the Sons of Liberty and how their actions in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere brought an anti-establishment coalition to the fore of the conflict. All across the colonies, people struggled against financial insolvency, made worse by duties levied by the far-off crown. Without an infrastructure that would enable them to unite against their oppressors, little could be done; it was this vulnerability that Adams and the other Sons sought to correct by installing chapters of their society all across the continent. Standiford makes a point to draw intriguing parallels to the current Occupy movement and other political grass-roots campaigns, arguing that the Sons of Liberty were successful because they garnered support from the general populace and didn't rely exclusively on the political elite. Spurred by well-timed radical (and at times, violent) actions and an increasingly focused and powerful cohort, the Sons of Liberty readied the colonies for what would become an inevitable war for their freedom. Bolstered by ample historical documents—including one especially fascinating exchange between Benjamin Franklin and the House of Commons—the author provides a compelling real-time account of those heady prewar years.

A timely, exciting exploration of how the underground agenda of a few radicals paved the road to American democracy.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-189955-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2012




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