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As If an Enemy's Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution (Pivotal Moments in American History)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
In the dramatic few years when colonial Americans were galvanized to resist British rule, perhaps nothing did more to foment anti-British sentiment than the armed occupation of Boston. As If an Enemy's Country is Richard Archer's gripping narrative of those critical months between October 1, 1768 and the winter of 1770 when Boston was an occupied town.
Bringing colonial Bo
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 14th 2009)
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Apr 28, 2013 Jerome rated it really liked it
The American Revolution has long been pliant timber for those with ideological axes to grind. And why not, what better claim to legitimacy could there be than the explicit endorsement of the Founding Fathers? Perhaps fortunately, “original intent” is amorphous; we will never know definitively what Washington meant when he said this or what Jefferson’s intended when he declared that. This may be the point that John Adams was driving at when he asked Thomas Jefferson in one of their many letters, ...more
James Spurgeon
Mar 26, 2014 James Spurgeon rated it really liked it
The Boston Massacre is one of those key events leading up to the American Revolution. However, when simple protests broke out in Boston after the conclusion of the Seven Years War (French & Indian War) and Parliament started taxing the colonies, it was not a foregone conclusion that this would be the end result. Early on, colonists sent petitions to Parliament, but those soon devolved into intimidating royal commissioners and non-importation. However, it was not until royal officials asked f ...more
Glenn Robinson
Mar 11, 2016 Glenn Robinson rated it really liked it
What we were taught in grade school was not entirely accurate. This is a book that describes the events that led up to the Boston Massacre. These include events, politics and personalities in London, Boston and New York.

We generally were taught that the Red Coats opened fire in an unprovoked manner on innocent peoples, but this really was not the case. John Adams, the defense lawyer, proved as such. There were groups of thugs that spent most nights harassing the British soldiers and the day of t
Oct 28, 2014 Lee rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. If you are interested in learning about Boston in the years after the Seven Years War up to the Boston Massacre, this is the book for you. Mr. Archer does a great job of describing what was going on and why. He describes many of the people and their involvement. There are many quotes from the newspapers of the day. It was really an interesting read and really gives you an idea of just why the people of Boston were so angry about the situation. I got angry about it too!! I was ...more
Carter West
Jul 03, 2013 Carter West rated it it was amazing
Bostonians and all others: here's your Fourth of July read! Brisk, informative, even-handed, and downright genial. Archer has a gift for conveying the essentials of complex topics -- e.g., British political maneuvering over the passage of bills to tax the colonies --without getting lost in the weeds. The narrative never flags, nor will your interest in getting behind the events to the causes of things. He gives you a well-rounded view of civic life under the occupation. I had no idea that, at it ...more
Richard Archer's "As If an Enemy's Country" is a dry and at times boring account of the 18 month occupation of colonial Boston by British troops. Archer's meticulous research and command over the information is astounding as seen by the careful details throughout the text and the extensive foot notes.

The book fell short with the prose. I doubt Archer intended this to be a book for the masses, the general population interested in the subject matter and taken in by the cover art. If he had the no
Dec 23, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
As if an Enemy’s Country covers the occupation of Boston by the British from the time of the Sugar Act through the Boston Massacre in detail and makes the case that these incidents put the colonies on the inevitable path to war. The book is well research and as other reviewers note can be dry at times but overall it is a solid account of the year and a half focusing not only on the colonial response but taking a look at the British response as well. The book goes into a good amount of detail wit ...more
Chase Metcalf
Aug 04, 2015 Chase Metcalf rated it liked it
Interesting read looking at the critical years just prior to the Revolutionary War in Boston. Focus of the book is the political and social conflicts that contributed to the war. A key highlight from the book is the resentment produced by the occupation of Boston by British troops and the role that had on ultimately bringing in greater conflict.
Joshua Horn
Jul 28, 2015 Joshua Horn rated it liked it
This book provides a good overview of the events which led up to the British occupation of Boston in the 1760s up until the Boston Massacre. It is brief, very readable, and provides useful analysis on many points. I would have appreciated some more details in some areas, and more lengthy quotes from first hand accounts, but this work is very good as far as it goes.
Rich Humes
Jul 18, 2014 Rich Humes rated it really liked it
A look at how "acting civil" is a myth of the good old days.

Pre-Revolutionary Boston was a powder keg that had to erupt.

It's parallels to today's political climate shouldn't be overlooked. Even if citizens are less politically inclined these days.
Blake Maddux
Jul 10, 2012 Blake Maddux rated it liked it
One of the blurbs on the back of this book is from Robert Allison, who was one of my professors a couple of years ago. I get the feeling that he liked the book more than I did. Then again, I am not an expert on the subject. As If an Enemy's Country is a good book, but I also enthusiastically recommend American Tempest by Harlow Giles Unger. It is less about the Boston Tea Party than its subtitle suggests, and more a general history of colonial Boston.
Dan Rogers
Aug 21, 2012 Dan Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-adult-books
This book was quite informative and gave me a much better understanding into both the colonists' and the English government's perspective of the situation in Boston leading up to the Boston Massacre. There is so much that we don't learn from the history books and this book filled the void between the passage of the Sugar Act in 1764 and the spring of 1770 immediately following the "Boston Massacre." Quite informative and well worth reading.
Jay Perkins
Aug 17, 2015 Jay Perkins rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beginning with the economic issues in Boston as a result of the French and Indian war and ending with the Boston Massacre, the author explains how the city went from a loyal colonial town in the empire, to the hotbed of revolt. The chapter on the Massacre was especially good, dealing with every aspect leading up to that famous event.
Would give the book 5 stars, but part one felt disjointed at times.
D.B. Jackson
Jan 25, 2012 D.B. Jackson rated it it was amazing
I used Archer's book extensively in my research of the second THIEFTAKER book, and have been consulting it again as I research and plot out book three in the series. The book is well-researched, soundly reasoned, clearly written, and at times quite entertaining. I would think it an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in America's pre-Revolutionary period. Highly recommended.
May 08, 2010 Nathan rated it did not like it
This is history as history: a straight record of facts with no attention whatsoever paid to the implications of the main event to the broader narrative - and thus is quite useless. This is boring and narrow in scope, a waste of time with no concept behind it and no new information to offer.
Nov 22, 2011 Louise rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Very interesting. Written in a rather dry manner so it took me awhile to get through it. I recommend it to anyone interested in the history of Boston and the British occupation of Boston. Gives some added insight into the beginnings of the Revolution.
Sep 02, 2012 Mary rated it liked it

This book should probably used more as a reference tool. I found it hard going as I read it cover to cover. It has great information and gave me a much better understanding of why people turned their loyalties away from Britain.
Nov 11, 2011 Michele marked it as to-read
I haven't started this yet, but it was a lovely gift from Boston By Foot, where I volunteer as a guide giving tours of the city's history and architecture. I am excited to read it!
Mar 10, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
It was an interesting and informative work on the turmoils in the city of Boston before the Revolution.
Nov 17, 2013 Drew rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read at portraying what a specific place was like in a specific time.
Jun 27, 2010 Judy added it
I wanted to be engrossed by this book, but I found it heavy going and have laid it aside.
Pat Bennett
Feb 22, 2015 Pat Bennett rated it it was amazing
Great build-up to the Boston Massacre. He made you feel it!
May 30, 2012 Stefan rated it it was amazing
excellent insight into the British occupation of revolutionary Boston
Oct 22, 2013 Raymond rated it it was amazing
Good read, lots if information I did not previously know.
Apr 12, 2010 Princegal is currently reading it
I should probably know this history, but don't
Mar 24, 2013 Mike marked it as to-read
This looks cool.
Aug 22, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
A well-researched look into events around Boston leading to the American Revolution. Archer finds that the economy of the Boston area was declining in the 1760s, which made the leading citizens of the area less inclined to support the policies of the crown when they seemed to infringe on local interests. The turning point is the occupation of Boston by British troops intended to assist the King's men in enforcing new taxes. Archer's assessment is not particularly well written, and does not addre ...more
Mighty rated it it was amazing
Sep 25, 2016
Susan marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
Danielle Fleck
Danielle Fleck marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
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