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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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Announcing The Road to Concord

I’m pleased to announce my new book, to be published later this year: The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War.

In the early spring of 1775, on a farm in Concord, Massachusetts, British army spies located four brass cannon belonging to Boston’s colonial militia that had gone missing months before. British general Thomas Gage had been searching for them, both to stymie New England’s growing rebellion and to erase the embarrassment of having let cannon disappear from armories under redcoat guard.

Anxious to regain those weapons, he drew up plans for his troops to march nineteen miles into unfriendly territory. The Massachusetts Patriots, meanwhile, prepared to thwart the general’s mission. There was one goal Gage and his enemies shared: for different reasons, they all wanted to keep the stolen cannon as secret as possible. Both sides succeeded well enough that the full story has never appeared until now.

The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence by tracing the spark of its first battle back to little-known events beginning in September 1774. The author relates how radical Patriots secured those four cannon and smuggled them out of Boston, and how Gage sent out spies and search parties to track them down.

Drawing on archives in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, the book creates a lively, original, and deeply documented picture of a society perched on the brink of war.

Click on the image above or this link to pre-order the book from Amazon. Meanwhile, I’m staying busy making sure it’s as readable as possible.


Jim Padian said...


Believe those cannon were bronze not brass. I'm in the final rewrite stage of my novel about Dr. Warren. Would love an early peek at your book if at all possible.

Jim Padian

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks for the comment, Jim. In the eighteenth century British-Americans consistently referred to cannons as brass. Dr. Johnson referred to the word "bronze" as a French term, and his definition of "brass" covered what we now call bronze.

Good luck with your novel about Dr. Warren!

Peter Ansoff said...

John, I look forward to the book and to hearing you talk about it in Williamsburg in March.

Joe Bauman said...

Congratulations!! Is Amazon the publisher? This is a wonderful accomplishment.

G. Lovely said...

In Kindle format perhaps?

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks, Joe and G.! The publisher is Westholme, which issued the most recent Journal of the American Revolution collection, John Nagy's biography of Dr. Benjamin Church, and other books of Revolutionary history. I don't know Westholme's plans for a digital edition because the production is still being planned, but I'll make further announcements here as I have news.