HISTORY

American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution

St. Martin’s. Mar. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9781250163288. $29.99. HIST
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Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts) follows the lives of sons and daughters of the Adams, Quincy, and Hancock families from colonial Braintree, MA, who became influential rebels (and some loyalists). She claims that the common heritage of John Adams, John Hancock, and Josiah Quincy, Jr. (most notably) instilled in their offspring an indomitable sense of duty to community and devotion to liberty. Friends as youths, their lives intertwined in adulthood. Inspired by their independent-thinking forebears, especially the Rev. John Hancock Sr., they had intellect, courage, weaknesses, diplomacy, and indefatigable faith in freedom and self-determination. All of it drove them to resist the British imposition of taxes and punitive measures, and, ultimately, to galvanize inter-colonial support for American independence. Sankovitch highlights the significant impact of Braintree daughters and wives Abigail Smith Adams and Dorothy (Quincy) Hancock, among others, who shared their husbands’ beliefs, influenced their work, and endured their trials; she includes the challenges of loyalists Samuel Quincy and Jonathan Sewell (husband of Esther Quincy and close friend to John Adams).
VERDICT Sankovitch has woven a compelling, potent chronicle of members of three principal American families that will be valued by readers of American history at all levels.

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