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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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Shorto on Revolution Song in Boston, 30 Nov.

Back in 2009, Ray Raphael contributed a “guest blogger” posting here about his book Founders, which traces the history of the Revolution through seven individuals.

Ray wrote: “One of the characters is a given: George Washington. There is absolutely no way we can tell the larger story of the war and the nation’s founding without him. We know this. But who else?” That question prompted a couple of days of discussion of candidates.

Now journalist and historian Russell Shorto has taken up a similar challenge with his book Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom. It retells the Revolution through six figures:
Coghlan brings some scandalous glamour to the project since she and Aaron Burr were reportedly an item early in the war and she later became a courtesan in London. In Revolutionary Ladies, Philip Young presented evidence that Coghlan died years before her Memoir was published, suggesting that at least some of its tales were fraudulent. Shorto argues instead that Coghlan faked her death and fled to Paris. So that’s interesting right there.

Shorto will present Revolution Song at the Massachusetts Historical Society on Thursday, 30 November. The event will start with a reception at 5:30 P.M., and Shorto will speak and sign books starting at 6:00. Registration costs $10.

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