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Book review: John Hancock by Harlow Giles Unger

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John Hancock
What do you know about John Hancock beyond his giant signature? Quick trivia: He was president of the Second Continental Congress, and rumor has it he hankered after the position of Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.

John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot by Harlow Giles Unger looks more in depth at the leader’s life before the Revolution and his personality.

Know before you read

This might be obvious, but judging from other reviews I’ve seen it is apparently not: This is not a history of the American Revolution. It is a biography of a man who had a small part in making that war successful. That said, my library does not carry any other (non-child-version) biographies of John Hancock so for the moment this is all I’ve got.

John Hancock

John Hancock was one of the riches men in America and risked it all on the Revolution. If the Americans had lost he would have lost everything – and been hanged for treason. In fact, the British soldiers were after Samuel Adams and Hancock when the war began at Lexington and Concord.

This is an excellent book to read if you are looking for more concrete examples of how the taxes and economics influenced the colonists. As a huge merchant and employer in Massachusettes, Hancock and his company was effected in every way. Even to being accused of being a smuggler.

Sidenote: This is what I am loving about putting myself through this totally made up U.S. History class. There are SO many “minor” characters that 99% of Americans know nothing about but who had been heavily influential and involved in history. See: Governeur Morris, John Quincy Adams, Lafayette and so many others.

So far I have enjoyed what I’ve read from Harlow Giles Unger and if you’re looking to learn more about the lesser-known names involved in the American Revolution, definitely check out John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot by Harlow Giles Unger

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