J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

You Heard It First on Boston 1775

I’m at a conference in deepest Nashua, so here are some links to interesting things other people have written recently about the founding era.

Michael Kenney, the Boston Globe’s Revolutionary War correspondent, offered his review of Friends of Liberty, Gary Nash and Graham Russell Gao Hodges’s new book about Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Massachusetts native Agrippa Hull. Even Entertainment Weekly has found this book entertaining. Hodges and Nash will speak at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester on 6 May. I wrote about the announcement of a talk by these authors about a year ago.

Last week, Boston 1775 shared unabashed gossip about the purported sexual activities of Royall Tyler, early American author and jurist. This week Tyler showed up in The New Yorker, of all places, as Jill Lepore discusses the many religious views of the Revolutionary generation. As I noted back in 2006, there’s been a flurry of books on that topic, and they’re still coming. Many are simply stalking-horses in the current culture wars and political battles, but, as this story about Tyler’s father—also named Royall Tyler—shows, some politicians have been exploiting people’s religious feelings for a long, long time.

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