Eric Hinderaker, Professor of History at the University of Utah, has just published Boston’s Massacre (Harvard University Press, 2017). On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston’s Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an unprovoked act of violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, and yet one of the least understood. Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.
“In Boston’s Massacre, Eric Hinderaker brilliantly unpacks the creation of competing narratives around a traumatic and confusing episode of violence. With deft insight, careful research, and lucid writing, Hinderaker shows how the bloodshed in one Boston street became pivotal to making and remembering a revolution that created a nation.”
—Alan Taylor, author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804
“Seldom does the book appear that compels its readers both to rethink a signal event in American history and reexamine powerful assumptions about historical knowledge itself. It’s even rarer for an author to accomplish so formidable a feat in prose of sparkling clarity and grace. But this is such a book, and Eric Hinderaker just such an author: Boston’s Massacre is a gem.”
—Fred Anderson, author of Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766