Jim Christ

Sep 302020
 

OnLine Meeting

The speaker will be Virginia DeJohn Anderson. She is a history professor at the University of Colorado. Dr. Anderson has co-authored a U.S. history textbook, and three books on history. Her last book, The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution, was the honorable mention recipient of the ARRTOP 2017 Book of the Year award. In addition to contrasting the lives of Nathaniel Hale and Moses Dunbar, Dr. Anderson’s book examines in great detail how the Revolutionary War impacted towns and non-soldiers in Connecticut.

In September 1776, two men from Connecticut each embarked on a dangerous mission. One of the men, a soldier disguised as a schoolmaster, made his way to British-controlled Manhattan and began furtively making notes and sketches to bring back to the beleaguered Continental Army general, George Washington. The other man traveled to New York to accept a captain’s commission in a loyalist regiment before returning home to recruit others to join British forces. Neither man completed his mission. Both met their deaths at the end of a hangman’s rope, one executed as a spy for the American cause and the other as a traitor to it.

2017 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention)

Neither Nathan Hale nor Moses Dunbar deliberately set out to be a revolutionary or a loyalist, yet both suffered the same fate. They died when there was every indication that Britain would win the American Revolution. Had that been the outcome, Dunbar, convicted of treason and since forgotten, might well be celebrated as a martyr. And Hale, caught spying on the British, would likely be remembered as a traitor, rather than a Revolutionary hero.

In The Martyr and the Traitor, Virginia DeJohn Anderson offers an intertwined narrative of men from very similar backgrounds and reveals how their relationships within their families and communities became politicized as the imperial crisis with Britain erupted. She explores how these men forged their loyalties in perilous times and believed the causes for which they died to be honorable. Through their experiences, The Martyr and the Traitor illuminates the impact of the Revolution on ordinary lives and how the stories of patriots and loyalists were remembered and forgotten after independence.

To purchase Ms Anderson’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Martyr-Traitor-Nathan-American-Revolution/dp/0190055626

Sep 302020
 

 

OnLine Meeting:

The speaker will be Colin G. Calloway. Dr. Calloway is the John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. He’s written multiple books on Native Americans, and their interactions with colonists, European and Patriot armies, and Americans. He’ll be speaking about his 2018 book, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation, which won the ARRTOP 2018 Book of the Year award.

George Washington’s place in the foundations of the Republic remains unrivalled. His life story from his beginnings as a surveyor and farmer, to colonial soldier in the Virginia Regiment, leader of the Patriot cause, commander of the Continental Army, and finally first president of the United States reflects the narrative of the nation he guided into existence. There is, rightfully, no more chronicled figure.

2018 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award

Yet American history has largely forgotten what Washington himself knew clearly: that the new Republic’s fate depended less on grand rhetoric of independence and self governance and more on land Indian land. Colin G. Calloway’s biography of the greatest founding father reveals in full the relationship between Washington and the Native leaders he dealt with intimately across the decades: Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Guyasuta, Attakullakulla, Bloody Fellow, Joseph Brant, Cornplanter, Red Jacket, and Little Turtle, among many others. Using the prism of Washington’s life to bring focus to these figures and the tribes they represented the Iroquois Confederacy, Lenape, Miami, Creek, Delaware Calloway reveals how central their role truly was in Washington’s, and therefore the nation’s, foundational narrative.

Calloway gives the First Americans their due, revealing the full extent and complexity of the relationships between the man who rose to become the nation’s most powerful figure and those whose power and dominion declined in almost equal degree during his lifetime. His book invites us to look at America’s origins in a new light. The Indian World of George Washington is a brilliant portrait of both the most revered man in American history and those whose story during the tumultuous century in which the country was formed has, until now, been only partially told.

To purchase Mr. Calloway’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Indian-World-George-Washington-President/dp/019005669X

Aug 272020
 
Online Meeting:
The speaker, Aaron Sullivan, is a local historian, writer, and history professor at Temple University, Holy Family University, and Rider University. In 2019, he released his first book, The Disaffected: Britain’s Occupation of Philadelphia During the American Revolution. Two hundred forty-three years and two days after the British marched in to Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, Dr. Sullivan will be presenting on his recent book. His book is available on Amazon. A meeting invitation with link will be sent out to members a few days before the meeting.
In September, 2013, while a graduate student student at Temple University, Aaron Sullivan gave a presentation before ARRTOP. Since that time he’s gotten a Ph.D. from Temple, been a writer and a historian, and has taught history at Rider University, at Holy Family University, and at his alma mater. In 2019 he released his first book, The Disaffected: Britain’s Occupation of Philadelphia During the American Revolution. On September 28th, two hundred forty-three years and two days after the British marched in to Philadelphia, Dr. Sullivan will be presenting on his book.
For the Amazon link, use this URL:
Aug 272020
 

Everyone recognizes John Hancock’s signature at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence but Nina Sankovitch’s American Rebels explores for the first time the family and community connections that led to it. Sankovitch examines the intertwined lives of John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Jr, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock, and argues for the distinct roles each played in fomenting revolution. Their trajectory from loyal British subjects to American rebels was forged in childhood; and their deeply held convictions, founded in community, fueled their collaborations during the fraught and violent years leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776. Sankovitch presents in vivid detail, backed up by extensive and new research, the ties that bound these men and women together (including faith, love, ambition, and envy) and drove them to rebel against England, while also demonstrating how the desire for independence cut across class lines, and how families could be divided, rebels versus loyalists, in pursuing commonly-held goals of opportunity, liberty, and stability.

Nina Sankovitch has lived an interesting life. She graduated from Harvard Law School. Many years later, after the death of  her older sister due to cancer, she dealt with her grief by reading a book a day for a year, and reviewing the books on her blog. This experience led her to write her first book, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. She followed that up with Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing, a subject for which she also gave a TED Talk. Her third book was her first full-scale foray into history, The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family. Her fourth book, which is the subject of her presentation, is American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution. Ms. Sankovitch’s latest book is also available on Amazon. A meeting invitation with link will be sent out to members a few days before the meeting.

You can purchase Ms. Sankovitch’s book using this link:  https://www.amazon.com/American-Rebels-Hancock-Families-Revolution/dp/1250163285

Jul 232020
 

ONLINE Meeting:

 

From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2018 president of the American Historical Association, a groundbreaking book–the first to look at the critical “long year” of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from December 1773 to mid-April 1775, from the Boston Tea Party and the first Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

This masterly work of historical writing, Mary Beth Norton’s first in almost a decade, looks at the sixteen months during which the traditional loyalists to King George III began their discordant “discussions” that led to their acceptance of the inevitability of war against the British Empire and to the clashes at Lexington and Concord in mid-April 1775.      Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers, and personal correspondence, Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it happened, showing the vigorous campaign mounted by conservatives criticizing congressional actions. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, governors throughout the colonies informed colonial officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of the committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans, even before the outbreak of war in April 1775, had in effect “declared independence” by obeying the decrees of their new provincial governments rather than colonial officials. The much-anticipated new book by one of America’s most dazzling historians–the culmination of more than four decades of Norton’s research and thought.

Jul 232020
 

Online Meeting:

 

When Americans declared independence in 1776, they cited King George III “for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.” In Quarters, John Gilbert McCurdy explores the social and political history behind the charge, offering an authoritative account of the housing of British soldiers in America. Providing new interpretations and analysis of the Quartering Act of 1765, McCurdy sheds light on a misunderstood aspect of the American Revolution.

Quarters unearths the vivid debate in eighteenth-century America over the meaning of place. It asks why the previously uncontroversial act of accommodating soldiers in one’s house became an unconstitutional act. In so doing, Quarters reveals new dimensions of the origins of Americans’ right to privacy. It also traces the transformation of military geography in the lead up to independence, asking how barracks changed cities and how attempts to reorder the empire and the borderland led the colonists to imagine a new nation.

Quarters emphatically refutes the idea that the Quartering Act forced British soldiers in colonial houses, demonstrates the effectiveness of the Quartering Act at generating revenue, and examines aspects of the law long ignored, such as its application in the back country and its role in shaping Canadian provinces.

Above all, Quarters argues that the lessons of accommodating British troops outlasted the Revolutionary War, profoundly affecting American notions of place. McCurdy shows that the Quartering Act had significant ramifications, codified in the Third Amendment, for contemporary ideas of the home as a place of domestic privacy, the city as a place without troops, and a nation with a civilian-led military.

Jul 202020
 

ONLINE Meeting

 

Female loyalists occupied a nearly impossible position during the American Revolution. Unlike their male counterparts, loyalist women were effectively silenced—unable to officially align themselves with either side or avoid being persecuted for their family ties. In this book, Kacy Dowd Tillman argues that women’s letters and journals are the key to recovering these voices, as these private writings were used as vehicles for public engagement. Through a literary analysis of extensive correspondence by statesmen’s wives, Quakers, merchants, and spies, Stripped and Script offers a new definition of loyalism that accounts for disaffection, pacifism, neutralism, and loyalism-by-association. Taking up the rhetoric of violation and rape, this archive repeatedly references the real threats rebels posed to female bodies, property, friendships, and families. Through writing, these women defended themselves against violation, in part, by writing about their personal experiences while knowing that the documents themselves may be confiscated, used against them, and circulated.

Jun 302020
 

ONLINE Presentation:

 

In a world rife with conflict and tension, how does a great power prosecute an irregular war at a great distance within the context of a regional struggle, all within a global competitive environment? The question, so pertinent today, was confronted by the British nearly 250 years ago during the American War for Independence. And the answer, as this book makes plain, is: not the way the British, under Lieutenant General Charles, Earl Cornwallis, went about it in the American South in the years 1778–81. Southern Gambit presents a closely observed, comprehensive account of this failed strategy. Approaching the campaign from the British perspective, this book restores a critical but little-studied chapter to the narrative of the Revolutionary War—and in doing so, it adds detail and depth to our picture of Cornwallis, an outsize figure in the history of the British Empire.

Distinguished scholar of military strategy Stanley D. M. Carpenter outlines the British strategic and operational objectives, devoting particular attention to the strategy of employing Southern Loyalists to help defeat Patriot forces, reestablish royal authority, and tamp down resurgent Patriot activity. Focusing on Cornwallis’s operations in the Carolinas and Virginia leading to the surrender at Yorktown in October 1781, Carpenter reveals the flaws in this approach, most notably a fatal misunderstanding of the nature of the war in the South and of the Loyalists’ support. Compounding this was the strategic incoherence of seeking a conventional war against a brilliant, unconventional opponent, and doing so amidst a breakdown in the unity of command.

Ultimately, strategic incoherence, ineffective command and control, and a misreading of the situation contributed to the series of cascading failures of the British effort. Carpenter’s analysis of how and why this happened expands our understanding of British decision-making and operations in the Southern Campaign and their fateful consequences in the War for Independence.

Jun 082020
 

ONLINE Presentation:

 

An intimate account of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of a Quaker pacifist couple living in Philadelphia

Historian Richard Godbeer presents a richly layered and intimate account of the American Revolution as experienced by a Philadelphia Quaker couple, Elizabeth Drinker and the merchant Henry Drinker, who barely survived the unique perils that Quakers faced during that conflict. Spanning a half‑century before, during, and after the war, this gripping narrative illuminates the Revolution’s darker side as patriots vilified, threatened, and in some cases killed pacifist Quakers as alleged enemies of the revolutionary cause. Amid chaos and danger, the Drinkers tried as best they could to keep their family and faith intact.

Through one couple’s story, Godbeer opens a window on a uniquely turbulent period of American history, uncovers the domestic, social, and religious lives of Quakers in the late eighteenth century, and situates their experience in the context of transatlantic culture and trade. A master storyteller takes his readers on a moving journey they will never forget.

May 182020
 

ONLINE Meeting:

The story of the Boston Massacre—when on a late winter evening in 1770, British soldiers shot five local men to death—is familiar to generations. But from the very beginning, many accounts have obscured a fascinating truth: the Massacre arose from conflicts that were as personal as they were political.

Professor Serena Zabin draws on original sources and lively stories to follow British troops as they are dispatched from Ireland to Boston in 1768 to subdue the increasingly rebellious colonists. And she reveals a forgotten world hidden in plain sight: the many regimental wives and children who accompanied these armies. We see these families jostling with Bostonians for living space, finding common cause in the search for a lost child, trading barbs and and sharing baptisms. Becoming, in other words, neighbors. When soldiers shot unarmed citizens in the street, it was these intensely human, now broken bonds that fueled what quickly became a bitterly fought American Revolution.

Serena Zabin’s The Boston Massacre delivers an indelible new slant on iconic American Revolutionary history.