In a simpler style but with every bit as much flair as Griswold's excellent, older The Night the Revolution Began (KR, 1972), this is another reenactment of the rivalry -- between the aristocratic Tory Governor Hutchinson and radical Sam Adams -- that led to the Boston Tea Party. After setting the stage so that one can almost see the grasshopper weathervane on top of Faneuil Hall and hear the elegant but forceful protests recited by Phyllis Wheatley as ""a polite custom"" in the city's best drawing rooms, Phelan slips into present tense reportage to spy on the secret meetings of the North End Caucus in the Green Dragon Tavern, read the stirring editorials of ""Praedicus"" (probably Sam Adams) in the Boston Gazette (""Don't you begin to tremble, Mr. Hutchinson?"") and finally follow the solemn procession of ""Mohawk Indians"" as it forms ranks for the midnight raid on the Beaver's cargo of English tea. The complex negotiations which Griswold turned into camp pageantry are scaled down here into a series of increasingly tense confrontations, but the lesson of the Tea Party -- probably America's best organized and most successful protest demonstration -- remains the same. And Phelan's talent for extracting every ounce of drama from an historical incident without exaggeration or distortion is at its most effective.