Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Boston Massacre: A Family History by Serena Zabin

The Boston Massacre is familiar to most of us.  Our views of it are filtered, known  through Paul Revere's engraving. That is how most of us still picture it.  A snowy night, blood thirsty soldiers slaughtering innocent civilians.  Or we know it from John Adams' defense of the soldiers.  But there is another side of the story one not know to most people.  That he Massacre arose from conflicts that were as personal as they were political. People on both sides knew and lived side by side.  
Professor Serena Zabin draws on original sources to follow British troops as they are sent from Ireland to Halifax and then to Boston in 1768.  She reveals a forgotten world.  That many regimental wives and children accompanied these armies. We see these families competing with Bostonians for living space and for work.  Conflicts came not only from enforcement of Colonial policy and laws but over living space and work.  Soldiers competed for low paying work.  They also shared experience, such as baptisms and births and deaths.  There were romantic attachments and not so romantic experiences.  Sickness such as small pox did not take sides but we're a equal opportunity employer.  When soldiers fired on citizens in the street, it was a final straw in a much longer simmering confrontation.  In many ways it was surprising it had not happened before.

Highly recommended not just for the new information and take on a old topic,  but because it is a very good read.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting rebelling of this incident Mark...thanks for bringing it to our attention.