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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

Talking About a Revolution

My Monday Mood is a bit patriotic, it’s been influenced by the fact that it is Patriot’s Day here in Massachusetts, the day we celebrate the first battle of the Revolution at Lexington and Concord. It’s also the Boston Marathon, so good luck to everyone out there running.

Patriot’s Day always has me thinking of those first few months of the Revolution, when so much of the action was focused here in Boston and the surrounding areas. I think that most Americans know about the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre; they have heard about the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and not shooting until you see the whites of their eyes. But I am not sure that many people know that it was Washington’s actions in Boston that solidified his command of the Continental Army. It also marked the end of major fighting in New England. It is so strange that a place that was so formative in fomenting a revolt saw little action after March of 1776 (March 17th is the day the British finally sailed out of Boston Harbor which is why it is a holiday in Suffolk County, not so people can take the day off and get to the bars early - that is just a lucky coincidence).

Of course, the Siege of Boston was just the beginning of the war for Washington. There really is no Revolution without him and if you are looking for some good books about the history of the war, I highly recommend the trilogy by Nathaniel Philbrick: Bunker Hill focuses on the lead up to the war, the battles of Bunker and Breeds Hills and the Siege of Boston; Valiant Ambition deals with the fighting in Vermont, New York and New Jersey and the defection of Benedict Arnold; In the Hurricane's Eye is the final stage of the war, the fighting in Virginia and the Battle of Yorktown.

I like how each of Philbrick’s books looks at a specific geographic area and how the fighting slowly moved down the colonies until the Continental Army was ultimately victorious in Virginia. Reading the Revolution in three separate parts shows just how much of a slog it really was and how at times it didn’t seem possible that the Continental Army would prevail. Lin-Manuel Miranda was not wrong, after the Battle of Yorktown, the world was turned upside. This nation would truly be a new experiment.

Thinking about these books always makes me want to get out and visit some National Parks! Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favorite histories of the Revolution?

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