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Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero

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A rich and illuminating biography of America's forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who migh A rich and illuminating biography of America's forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act in the Boston area for a decade, from the Stamp Act protests to the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, and his incendiary writings included the famous Suffolk Resolves, which helped unite the colonies against Britain and inspired the Declaration of Independence. Yet after his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence. Christian Di Spigna's definitive new biography of Warren is a loving work of historical excavation, the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed primary-source documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his professional success and political radicalization to his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna's thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it deepens our understanding of the nation's dramatic beginnings.


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A rich and illuminating biography of America's forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who migh A rich and illuminating biography of America's forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act in the Boston area for a decade, from the Stamp Act protests to the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, and his incendiary writings included the famous Suffolk Resolves, which helped unite the colonies against Britain and inspired the Declaration of Independence. Yet after his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence. Christian Di Spigna's definitive new biography of Warren is a loving work of historical excavation, the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed primary-source documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his professional success and political radicalization to his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna's thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it deepens our understanding of the nation's dramatic beginnings.

30 review for Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Joseph Warren was an honest, intelligent, upstanding doctor and orator in Boston during the Colonial and Revolutionary period. This man whom author Christian Di Spigna calls The Founding Martyr rose from humble beginnings to attend Harvard and become an outstanding physician and leader in the Whig Party. His persuasive writing and oratory skills would lead to his influencing the Suffolk Resolves, inciting the citizenry to resist Crown policies..Unfortunately Warren did not live to see the end pro Joseph Warren was an honest, intelligent, upstanding doctor and orator in Boston during the Colonial and Revolutionary period. This man whom author Christian Di Spigna calls The Founding Martyr rose from humble beginnings to attend Harvard and become an outstanding physician and leader in the Whig Party. His persuasive writing and oratory skills would lead to his influencing the Suffolk Resolves, inciting the citizenry to resist Crown policies..Unfortunately Warren did not live to see the end product of his efforts. On June 17, 1775, Major General Joseph Warren was killed in battle. I cannot explain what drove Warren to risk his family, fortune and life but I didn't get to know him. The book chronicles all his achievements but not with angst or emotion. Everything Warren does he does well, and with seemingly little pain and discomfort. When his family is in danger in Boston, he packs them up and sends them to the country under the care of his brother. He remains in Boston and continues giving speeches. British soldiers threaten assassinations but he is never harmed nor worried. I wish more attention had been paid to human interaction than to achievements. A page and a half of the book is denoted to Mrs. Warrens death. The painting of Dr. Warren by Jonathan Singleton Copley is extensively detailed for over three pages of the book. I know more about the painting than about Warrens relationship with his wife and her views. The book is well researched and very detailed. Dr. Warren is not an unknown Colonial patriot but unfortuntely this book does not raise his to the rank of outstanding leader of the Revolution. I give this book 2.5 stars. I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley,. My reviews are unbiased and completely my own. #Netgalley #FoundingMartyr

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Colonial

    When considering the explosive developments that took place in the Thirteen Colonies shortly after Great Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War, there were a few Bostonians in particular who led the loudest cries against the tyrannical machinations of an overseas Parliament and an ever-encroaching imperial empire. Historian Christian Di Spigna recognizes one such reactionary and esteemed leader, in which he chronicles the short-lived yet remarkable life of Dr. Joseph Warren. With a rousi When considering the explosive developments that took place in the Thirteen Colonies shortly after Great Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War, there were a few Bostonians in particular who led the loudest cries against the tyrannical machinations of an overseas Parliament and an ever-encroaching imperial empire. Historian Christian Di Spigna recognizes one such reactionary and esteemed leader, in which he chronicles the short-lived yet remarkable life of Dr. Joseph Warren. With a rousing introduction, Di Spigna makes it quite clear that this well-respected patriot was also an accomplished Renaissance man—wearing multiple hats as a spymaster, doctor, professor, propagandist, orator, author, and even the commission of major general shortly before his martyrdom. As Di Spigna approaches Warren’s birth and childhood, he first and foremost covers a fascinating social history of New England and the greater Boston Neck territory that the doctor would eventually practice in—noting both the topography and landmarks that brought in the most traffic—as well as relating stats on such matters as the rate of violence within the area. Those who committed acts of brutality, highway robbery, petty theft, bestiality, or even the breaking of the Sabbath were punished severely—whether by ear cropping, public whipping, or branding. Di Spigna carries this informative cultural history over to Warren’s boyhood spent on the family farm in Roxbury, where the audience is given a copious amount of detail pertaining to the farmhand activities that the youthful Warren would lend a hand in, including the very livestock that were butchered. Warren’s parents valued an education for each of their children, and therefore sent their firstborn son to Latin school at the age of ten with promising aspirations. Indeed, both his brilliance in intellect and oratory were already being noticed in his adolescence, and it was no surprise that he gained admittance to the prestigious Harvard University. As a freshman at Harvard, Warren and his fellow peers eagerly partook in the extracurricular activities of gambling and the drinking of both cider and punch—with the alcohol-rich “flip” in particular being a popular beverage of choice at the time. Upon graduating, Warren returned home and immediately signed on as a teacher at the local Roxbury Latin school, in order to help his destitute mother and siblings after his father’s untimely death during his studies. As noted, Di Spigna has not only meticulously researched that of his subject’s life, but also on occasion will provide highly pertinent facts to the world that Warren lived in—where surprisingly Boston had a higher rate of literacy than that of Great Britain as a whole. It’s here that he joins a Masonic fraternity (among such classmates as Samuel Otis, brother of the fiery Mercy and James Otis Jr.) where he becomes acquainted with the likes of Paul Revere and John Hancock. As Warren heads back to Harvard in order to fulfill the two-year requirement for those wishing to pursue a degree in medicine, Di Spigna all the while adds the assorted medicinal standards and techniques of the age—from remedies, inoculations, and prescriptions—to the rather superstitious notions that were then hopefully used as a last resort. Following his apprenticeship, Warren’s practice takes off, where he makes house calls to slaves, convicts, and the local gentry alike—and it’s during this career growth period that a terrible bout of smallpox hits Boston, which keeps the doctor busy inoculating such patients as the cousins Samuel and John Adams. Meanwhile in the interim, Di Spigna also dutifully chronicles the events outside of Warren’s life, explaining that a devastating fire destroyed his Alma mater’s hall, taking the Harvard public library and its irreplaceable archives with it. As Warren marries Elizabeth Hooton and his name joins among the most reputable of Boston’s medical professionals, about 3000 miles away Grenville’s ill-fated measures of taxation for the empire’s colonies are pushed through—stirring the flames that only months before had remained relatively cool in Warren’s province. Di Spigna captures the essence and terror of both Pope’s Day and the Stamp Act crisis in his by now familiar and engaging prose—with Warren’s patients, former classmates, Masonic brethren, and friends all taking part in the riots. As this act is eventually repealed, Parliament nonetheless blunders yet again into the colonists’ lives with the Townshend Duties, where Di Spigna focuses on Warren’s effective role as a propagandist and outspoken leader, penning articles of condemnation, as well as letters of due respect and approval to the Whig-minded John Wilkes, and such firebrands as John Dickinson: Though many Boston Tories considered town meeting participants a “herd of fools and knaves,” Warren recognized their significance, not only serving on several town committees but also urging his less radical friends to join the proceedings. Years later John Adams wrote, “I was solicited to go to the town-meetings, and harangue there. My friend, Dr. Warren, most frequently urged me to do this.” Warren served on several town meeting committees. He wrote to John Dickinson, thanking him for his Letter from a Pennsylvania Farmer… With mob brutality on the increase after the Boston Massacre in 1770, Di Spigna makes it clear that Warren’s services as Patriot orator and physician were required—in which he takes on the role of medical examiner for the ailments and autopsies of both Tories and rebels alike. Di Spigna appropriately shifts focus throughout the text to that of Warren’s family and their prospects—even down to the very renovations taking place at their luxurious estate. Indeed, he shows his defining research capabilities by including the Warren’s window draperies, fashion tastes, furniture designs, serving dishes, and the formative portraits painted by none other than the accomplished John Singleton Copley. With the birth of their fourth child, tragedy strikes in 1773 when Elizabeth is taken ill and her subsequent premature death leaves Warren a widower—and Di Spigna adds an interesting tidbit in which coincidentally, Paul Revere would lose his wife that very same week. Upon suggesting that Warren may have orchestrated the events of the Boston Tea Party, Di Spigna follows the romantic interests of Mercy Scollay (a strong-minded patriot in her own right) who pursues the eligible doctor with passion and determination. He aptly covers Warren’s penning of the revolutionary Suffolk Resolves, as well as his rather groundbreaking role as spymaster in setting the stage of events for Lexington and Concord. Di Spigna extensively recounts Warren’s final achievement with his fall at Breed’s Hill, where afterwards he engages the reader with the powerful and lasting effects that this martyr had with both compatriots and enemies alike. Especially heartrending was the concluding tribute paid to his fiancée Mercy, who diligently pursued keeping both his memory and offspring’s prospects in the minds and hearts of all Bostonians. Enjoyable throughout, this is unquestionably the definitive biography of Warren—which Di Spigna completes with both maps and photo inserts, as well as an expansive epilogue that defines his legacy. Read the Full Review and More

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Alkire

    Not that great. It’s awfully light and is mostly about Boston before the war than about the subject’s life. It has the feel of a book designed to grab the Revolutionary War publishing trend. Warren’s life is covered, but the authors tends to say the same things over and over. It got tiresome. Otherwise, it’s another standard book about pre-war and early war events in Boston. The author tends to oversell his subject’s contribution to the run-up to the war. Sure, he was a leader, but so were a lot Not that great. It’s awfully light and is mostly about Boston before the war than about the subject’s life. It has the feel of a book designed to grab the Revolutionary War publishing trend. Warren’s life is covered, but the authors tends to say the same things over and over. It got tiresome. Otherwise, it’s another standard book about pre-war and early war events in Boston. The author tends to oversell his subject’s contribution to the run-up to the war. Sure, he was a leader, but so were a lot of other folks. He died a martyr to the cause which always inflates reputation. Might be worth checking out from the library but not money.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rama

    Joseph Warren, the forgotten American revolutionary During American bicentennial celebration, patriotic zeal and nostalgia swept the country and President Ronald Reagan delivered his first inaugural address calling Joseph Warren as “the greatest among the founding fathers.” The Broadway musical Hamilton in 2015 captured the thoughts of American revolutionaries. Warren is remembered on the Bunker Hill Day but for most Americans he remains in the shadow of his revolutionary brothers. His work prio Joseph Warren, the forgotten American revolutionary During American bicentennial celebration, patriotic zeal and nostalgia swept the country and President Ronald Reagan delivered his first inaugural address calling Joseph Warren as “the greatest among the founding fathers.” The Broadway musical Hamilton in 2015 captured the thoughts of American revolutionaries. Warren is remembered on the Bunker Hill Day but for most Americans he remains in the shadow of his revolutionary brothers. His work prior to 1776 laid a foundation for the declaration of independence. The role he played in the decade prior to Bunker Hill battle illuminates a human story in a political and military landscape. Warren’s life was an inspiration for American revolutionaries and he had chosen his life to the virtues of honor and liberty. Although Warren’s fate was sealed in 1775, the values and principles he championed has endured In this book the author has chronicled the life and times of a true American champion. The book reads effortlessly and the chapters leading to number 13 that describes the brutalities of English army against brave freedom fighters. Even after the fighting ended, horrific acts of violence were committed upon Warren’s body. It was desecrated and butchered by the British colonial army under General Gage before his remains was handed over to his family. Chapter 10-12 sets the tone for American revolutionaries against the corrupt British colony. On June 17, 1775, early in the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts was lost, but their loss was minimal since the inexperienced colonial forces inflicted significant casualties against the enemy, and the battle provided them with an important confidence boost. Subsequently, the battle discouraged the British from any further frontal attacks against well defended front lines. American casualties were comparatively much fewer, although their losses included General Joseph Warren and Major Andrew McClary. This detailed biography of Warren rescues the figure from obscurity and reveals a remarkable revolutionary who dispatched Paul Revere on his famous ride and was the hero of the battle of Bunker Hill. Warren comes to life in this comprehensive biography meticulously grounded in original scholarship. Warren's insistence on the strict separation of representative government from a subordinate military is an enduring contribution to the American experience. He advocated for a military accountable only to elected government.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    With extensive citations, Di Spigna reconstructs the tragically short life of Dr. Joseph Warren, central to the decade preceding the revolution, but dead on Bunker Hill near its opening shots. Warren is the prototypical Whig son of New England--from a farming family, but the product of Harvard's social stratification and his own charming upward mobility, builder of a network of patients, allies and in-laws supporting his politics and financial success, always anchored by the Great Awakening's fe With extensive citations, Di Spigna reconstructs the tragically short life of Dr. Joseph Warren, central to the decade preceding the revolution, but dead on Bunker Hill near its opening shots. Warren is the prototypical Whig son of New England--from a farming family, but the product of Harvard's social stratification and his own charming upward mobility, builder of a network of patients, allies and in-laws supporting his politics and financial success, always anchored by the Great Awakening's fervent religious enthusiasms. The epilogue covers the many ways in which Warren (and his physical body) were invoked for various reasons--reburial before the Civil War, use in early Republican histories, as well as the ways in which Congress quickly forgot his orphaned children and the woman who was nearly his second wife.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    FOUNDING MARTYR is a must-read for anyone interested in the American Revolution. Well-researched and compellingly written, this essential biography resurrects the life of Dr. Joseph Warren — a “lost hero” until now, largely neglected by historians, even though he might have been an early President if not killed at Bunker Hill. Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an advance copy. Opinions are mine. FoundingMartyr #NetGalley

  7. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    I received an advanced copy of the book for a review at the Journal of the American Revolution. See the full review at http://allthingsliberty.com/2018/08/f... A summary of that review: As a fan of Dr. Joseph Warren and having researched him thoroughly for my own two Revolutionary War books (available on Amazon), I was interested to see what new research there could yet be. The book’s introduction repeatedly declares this is Warren’s “untold story”, that “Warren has largely escaped attention”, and I received an advanced copy of the book for a review at the Journal of the American Revolution. See the full review at http://allthingsliberty.com/2018/08/f... A summary of that review: As a fan of Dr. Joseph Warren and having researched him thoroughly for my own two Revolutionary War books (available on Amazon), I was interested to see what new research there could yet be. The book’s introduction repeatedly declares this is Warren’s “untold story”, that “Warren has largely escaped attention”, and the back cover proclaims that “Little has been known about… Warren.” In fact, much is known. Di Spigna’s book is the now the fifth Warren bio. (My books also include extensive details about Warren.) While there are a few eyebrow-raising claims in the short introduction, the book is overall well written. The book flows chronologically and runs through Warren’s life as you would expect: from boyhood, to Harvard student, to his rise as a successful Boston physician, and then to influential political and Revolutionary leader. A few episodes are glossed over, such as Warren’s possible struggle with money prior to the Revolution, and his suspected engagement to Mercy Scollay. Yet the book also adds a few new minor details to Warren’s life, based on new research. For example, there is new scholarship on that argues Warren’s house in Boston was not where other books have claimed. The book therefore does a good job giving a survey of Warren’s life. It flows nicely and presents a narrative style better than other biographies on the subject. But the problems with this book are not readability. The real issue is that it suffers from major problems that can be broken down into the following categories: 1) falsely bolstering of Warren’s importance (Di Spigna repeatedly conflates Warren’s roles with those of George Washington); 2) undeserved bias against the British (making them one-dimensional villains and cherry-picking evidence to do so); 3) lack of scholarly judiciousness (example below); 4) academic dishonesty (example below). Without repeating my entire review here, examples of the two most important problems are as follows. Lack of scholarly judiciousness (p. 188 ff.): Di Spigna writes that after Warren was killed in battle, “a small group of seething redcoats circled the body of the ‘murdered worthy … Doctr. Warren’… His Majesty’s executioners repeatedly bayoneted his corpse in a violent butchering. Lt. James Drew of the Royal Navy, it was later claimed, returned to the redoubt, walked over to Warren’s body, and spat in his face before cutting ‘off his head and commit[ing] every act of violence upon his Body.’” Di Spigna adds that Warren’s body was continuously mutilated for some time thereafter. Here we see bias against the British tied with lack of scholarly judiciousness. The above description likely never happened (or if it did, Di Spigna has the burden of proof but fails to deliver). Di Spigna provides only one source for this sensationalized story: a rumor reported by Abigail Adams a month and half later. However, Di Spigna conveniently ignores a part of this source which is known to be false. That false part is that Warren's head, according to the rumor, was taken in triumph into Boston. Except, it wasn't, and Warren's body was identified by his teeth after the British evacuated Massachusetts. If half of a piece of evidence is known to be false, the entire piece of evidence becomes suspect and must be doubted without further supporting information. Instead, Di Spigna cherry-picked the rumor and claimed it as truth, and ignores evidence to the contrary. Academic dishonesty: Di Spigna’s introduction concludes (p. 8) that his is “the first completely nonfiction book writing about Dr. Joseph Warren in almost sixty years.” He repeats similar claims in various places. But it is false. He knows it too, and made an overt decision to dismiss Samuel A. Forman's “Dr. Joseph Warren” (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co., 2011). Note Di Spigna’s words: “first completely nonfiction book.” His argument is that Forman’s book, which has a fictional account (that Forman twice explicitly notes as hypothetical), is therefore not a biography. Yet Forman’s book remains the best researched to date. Beyond this dismissal, there is quite a bit of overlap between Di Spigna’s book and that of Forman. I am certain of it in one case (p. 273-274), where Di Spigna writes at length about Sally Edwards, a possible mistress of Warren’s. This mistress idea is really first put forth by Forman and soon after another author (Nathaniel Philbrick, who repeatedly cites Forman), but while Di Spigna spends a page refuting the mistress idea, he refuses to cite Forman as the source of the material he is refuting. The conscious attempt to ignore a biography that is at least in some part used by the author is suspicious to say the least. Bottom line, there seems to be an overt effort to make Warren more important, more the hero, and then make his death more tragic than it was. And this is done by use of false or dubious information and by dismissing the recent scholarship on the subject. This is not the definitive book on Warren, though it still has some value, as does the previous biography by Forman. Perhaps the ideal telling of Warren is somewhere in between, and the definitive book has yet to be written.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Audiobook narrated by Mark Bramhall, and borrowed from MidYork Library System's Libby. Fascinating biography of Dr Joseph Warren, killed at Bunker Hill, pioneer in vaccination for smallpox. So much of this book had information that I hadn't read in other histories/biographies of the period. Audiobook narrated by Mark Bramhall, and borrowed from MidYork Library System's Libby. Fascinating biography of Dr Joseph Warren, killed at Bunker Hill, pioneer in vaccination for smallpox. So much of this book had information that I hadn't read in other histories/biographies of the period.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This book exceeded my expectation. At first I wasn’t sure who Joseph Warren was and why should I even read this book. As the book stated many times it’s unfortunate that people haven’t understood the contribution of Joseph Warren with the independence of America. His legacy has been overshadowed by other founding fathers such as George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin largely because of Joseph Warren’s early and untimely death at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Yet Warren was an important This book exceeded my expectation. At first I wasn’t sure who Joseph Warren was and why should I even read this book. As the book stated many times it’s unfortunate that people haven’t understood the contribution of Joseph Warren with the independence of America. His legacy has been overshadowed by other founding fathers such as George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin largely because of Joseph Warren’s early and untimely death at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Yet Warren was an important figure with the American independence more than most people today realized, even among those who are interested in things with the War of Independence since those that know something about Warren often know him only as a soldier who died in Bunker Hill (others who are even more knowledgeable will know he was the one who worked with Paul Revere during that famous “The Redcoats are coming!” event). This book is rather overdue in narrating the contribution of Joseph Warren to America’s independence. The author should be commended for doing a good job of maximizing the limited primary resources and also for using new primary sources to give us a better picture of the man Joseph Warren. The challenges of finding primary sources is very real since Warren as a spy master destroyed many of his writings and also because when he passed away many of his belongings were broken or stolen. So kudos to the author Christian Di Spigna for his research! I learned quite a bit about this Bostonian name Warren. One get the sense that he is a likeable character and someone whom I wouldn’t mind sitting in a tavern to talk about politics and society (not that I drink…). He was a likeable man even for those in his era. The book describes how he slowly became the leader of the Radical Whigs in the Colonies who was one of the early figures that talked about breaking away from Imperial Britain during a time when many of America’s founding fathers were not willing to go that far—yet. I don’t think the author is exaggerating when he called Warren our American founding grandfather. Nor was it an exaggeration when the booked quoted someone saying that if Warren wasn’t killed Warren would have surpassed General Washington’s reputation. Warren was not only a military leader but he was also a leader politically in terms of influencing people’s thoughts and also one of the important organizers of the players that would later be in the Continental Congress. While historians today give a more significant role of Samuel Adams’ contribution the book and even making it seem that Adams was a mentor for the younger Warren the book argues that this was not so; though Warren was younger Adams esteemed Warren and Warren even helped Adams financially. Warren was also more esteem by other revolutionaries than Samuel Adams was. I like how the book went over Warren’s upbringing, his early childhood and his entrance into Harvard. The discussion of Old Harvard was very fascinating to me as it was a window into the times in giving us a picture of the social hierarchy of the era. Class standing back then was based upon one’s family’s honor and though Warren was ranked lower in his freshman year by the school he eventually rose in prominence and respect among his peers and classmates. This climb up the social strata would continue after he graduated Harvard and after he became a doctor. Although he was a doctor to many influential people during his life yet he was also gracious with the poor. He experienced a big rise in popularity and esteem as one of the early doctors vaccinating people from Smallpox. I also thought it was an interesting to read of how people even then were afraid of vaccination and when the famous preacher and Pastor Cotton Mather promoted vaccination he faced opposition. There’s so many good stuff in the book that I can’t go over at length in this review. Towards the end of the book the author really picks up the pace with Warren’s spy network and Warren’s involvement with the Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. In fact Warren is the only leader of the Revolutionaries who was involved in all four of the major battles whether directly as a combatant leader or other ways such as political decisions and in terms of intelligence on the enemy. The book has a long epilogue after Warren’s death focusing on his children and the fiancé he never got to marry. This was rather sad to read about this young woman Mercy who was left without marriage till her death, without the rights to the children whom Warren wants her to take care of and also being neglected financially by the Revolutionaries, the Continental Congress and others. The epilogue also had an extended discussion about Warren’s legacy and how people have misunderstood and even believed inaccuracies downplaying Warren and his contribution. An excellent book. Get it!

  10. 5 out of 5

    John Bohnert

    Dr. Joseph Warren deserves more recognition of his role in the movement leading to American independence. I learned about Joseph Warren while watching an excellent TV series about the American revolution.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    To be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. First, the author writes well and does a nice job of telling the reader how important Warren was to the people of Boston and to the colonies at large during the lead up to Bunker Hill and the start of the Revolution. My problem is that I felt like the author tried too hard to show us Warren's importance. There were quite a few passages that basically made the argument that because of X, it shows that Warren must have been thought of as amaz To be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. First, the author writes well and does a nice job of telling the reader how important Warren was to the people of Boston and to the colonies at large during the lead up to Bunker Hill and the start of the Revolution. My problem is that I felt like the author tried too hard to show us Warren's importance. There were quite a few passages that basically made the argument that because of X, it shows that Warren must have been thought of as amazing. There is very little writing from Warren to add to a narrative history, so I felt like the author used the term "likely" to describe most of Warren's life. One example would be the early chapter on Warren's time at Harvard. Other the the facts of Warren's attendance and record from the school, there are not any quotes from Warren about his time there. All of the information was from secondary sources about the school at the time and that is how the author presents the story. That is not a fault of the author, just the reality of the source material and it took away from the read for me. I will give the author credit for bringing an important figure to our attention because Warren did play a major role that often gets overlooked (likely because of the lack of letters and personal writings). I just felt that most of this book revolved around the events Warren was a part of, and those stories brought nothing new to someone who reads a lot about this time period.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this biography of my historical crush Dr. Joseph Warren for months now, so I was delighted to make it my yearly “Revolutionary History on the Fourth” book. The information was terrific and it was a nicely put together book. Ultimately it was saved by its subject matter, because the writing was not terribly impactful. I’m not going to criticize the author for not including more about Warren’s emotional life - this was an extremely historically grounded book, a I’ve been looking forward to reading this biography of my historical crush Dr. Joseph Warren for months now, so I was delighted to make it my yearly “Revolutionary History on the Fourth” book. The information was terrific and it was a nicely put together book. Ultimately it was saved by its subject matter, because the writing was not terribly impactful. I’m not going to criticize the author for not including more about Warren’s emotional life - this was an extremely historically grounded book, and he can’t write about things he didn’t have sources for. I also understand that he wasn’t setting out to write “popular history.” I think my frustration came from the fact that he had soooo many sources, but not a great sense of how to deploy them carefully to serve his storytelling. For example, clearly he had found business records that told him about the furnishings in Warren’s new house (cool!), but listing them out, even with a few desultory descriptive words thrown in, doesn’t actually help us picture the house. Clearly he closely examined Warren’s portrait by Copley (love that picture!), but if it’s being reproduced in the images and on the cover, he didn’t need to describe every visual detail. Clearly he had a lot of sources about Warren’s legacy being forgotten (interesting!) but we don’t need excerpts from every source to get the point. Even despite the flaws in the writing, Warren as an incredible man comes through in this book. The extent of his connections to all elements of colonial society was pretty amazing, and his personal bravery in the face of medical, political, and military threats is inspiring. This book couldn’t quite hold a candle to the depiction of Warren in Nathaniel Philbrick’s book Bunker Hill, but I won’t complain about more serious attention being paid to this fantastic man.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shoshana

    “Founding Martyr” is about Doctor Joseph Warren, a man who was very influential in the years before the American War for Independence, but whose untimely death at Bunker (Breed’s) Hill on June 17,1775 robbed the nascent nation of a unique voice. Dr Warren of Boston was radicalized earlier than most Americans, and was in the mix with Samuel Adams and his cousin John, John Hancock, and other Whigs and radicals. Joseph Warren was the eldest son of a Roxbury, Massachusetts farmer, and attended Harvar “Founding Martyr” is about Doctor Joseph Warren, a man who was very influential in the years before the American War for Independence, but whose untimely death at Bunker (Breed’s) Hill on June 17,1775 robbed the nascent nation of a unique voice. Dr Warren of Boston was radicalized earlier than most Americans, and was in the mix with Samuel Adams and his cousin John, John Hancock, and other Whigs and radicals. Joseph Warren was the eldest son of a Roxbury, Massachusetts farmer, and attended Harvard, after which he apprenticed with a Doctor Lloyd in Boston, before setting up his own practice. He soon became rich and prominent, having Whigs and Tories among his patients. He also ministered to poor people, and accounts of his show that he was often paid in kind. If Joseph Warren had not died so young, and so early in the fight for Independence, he would have been remembered as one of the most influential Founders. His loss was a grave one, and came at a horrible time. I would have liked to have seen more discussion about Warren as a person; Di Spignia is excellent at recounting what happened, and when, but there is not really enough why. This may be no fault of the author as Warren is known for having burned a lot of his papers in order to keep them from falling into enemy hands. Still, a really great biography helps the reader to get under the skin of the biography’s subject, and this “Founding Martyr” fails to do. So often in history we look back and think of what might have been. If Joseph Warren had not been killed in battle he would have undoubtedly been accorded a place with the greatest of the Founders; who knows, he might even have become president or vice-president himself. The country and posterity lost a great man on that summer day in Boston, his contemporaries knew it at the time, and it is good to see Warren recalled from obscurity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    I'd never heard the name of Dr. Joseph Warren until I read Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution a few months ago. I was deeply affected by his story in that book, to the point that I had to shut the book and set it aside for a while after his death (I had no idea that he was going to die, and since he was one of the main "sets of eyes" in that book, it really threw me for a bit). The man has nearly been forgotten from history, which is a complete shame because he was I'd never heard the name of Dr. Joseph Warren until I read Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution a few months ago. I was deeply affected by his story in that book, to the point that I had to shut the book and set it aside for a while after his death (I had no idea that he was going to die, and since he was one of the main "sets of eyes" in that book, it really threw me for a bit). The man has nearly been forgotten from history, which is a complete shame because he was instrumental in the events leading up to the Revolution. He was only thirty-four years old when he died, but he had managed to accomplish more in those three and a half decades than many people who have eight or nine decades at their disposal. He was a very successful physician in his own right, but he became one of the most prominent Whigs in Boston before the Revolution. He was involved in numerous committees and wrote a great deal of articles and pamphlets, and he was also named a Major General and was on site of every major (and relatively minor) battle and skirmish in the Boston area until his death on Breed's Hill. I wonder if the man ever slept, he was spread so thin. This was a good look at a fascinating person. The author goes out of his way to paint a portrait of the times Warren lived in (much like Philbrick does in the aforementioned "Bunker Hill"), so the reader can really get a feel for the world Warren inhabited and influenced. Recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    William Haverinen

    I expected to learn about a forgotten Revolutionary War hero: Dr. Joseph Warren, and got so much more. The book drops one into the heart of Boston, into the dawning of the rebellion, and ends with Major General Warren's death at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Had barely heard of Warren, and now think he had a more significant role in leading the rebellion than Sam or John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock. I gave this 5 stars because of the feel the book brings of being there, in Boston, as events un I expected to learn about a forgotten Revolutionary War hero: Dr. Joseph Warren, and got so much more. The book drops one into the heart of Boston, into the dawning of the rebellion, and ends with Major General Warren's death at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Had barely heard of Warren, and now think he had a more significant role in leading the rebellion than Sam or John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock. I gave this 5 stars because of the feel the book brings of being there, in Boston, as events unfold. Thank you Christian Di Spigna for this tribute to Dr. Joseph Warren. An interesting side bar is the role Benedict Arnold plays after Warren's death. He met Warren once, and they planned Arnold's winter expedition to Fort Ticonderoga to borrow the cannons. After Warren dies, Arnold spends thousands of pounds to support, educate Warren's family.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dan Downing

    Christian Di Spigna proves himself a gifted researcher with the usual pedestrian writing skills found among Academicians. In this case, he is fortunate to have a fascinating subject: a man who would have been counted among the great Founding Fathers of this nation had he their propensity to avoid physical battle. Instead, Dr. Joseph Warren possessed a marked fondness for joining in the fight. Sadly, his doggedness and courage led to his death on the battlefield, namely at Breeds Hill, commonly c Christian Di Spigna proves himself a gifted researcher with the usual pedestrian writing skills found among Academicians. In this case, he is fortunate to have a fascinating subject: a man who would have been counted among the great Founding Fathers of this nation had he their propensity to avoid physical battle. Instead, Dr. Joseph Warren possessed a marked fondness for joining in the fight. Sadly, his doggedness and courage led to his death on the battlefield, namely at Breeds Hill, commonly called the Battle of Bunker Hill. One could make an argument that by being present at the battle, by directing militia movements, by dying there, Dr. Warren ensured a war would follow. If he had been a less notable personage, the Battle might have been written off as a mere skirmish. It seems that, while lost to us, his name and fame were vaunted and praised among the people of America at the time. His death and the mutilation of his body led to an outrage which sealed the bargain: it would be a Revolutionary War, something he had been advocating for some time. Besides the details of his life, Di Spigna reveals everyday circumstances existing during the Eighteenth century. We've seen a lot of this history recently, and we can learn from it. For instance, Dr. Warren's success in fighting a smallpox epidemic using inoculation. At the time it was a disputed therapy which, due to thoughtful minds such as Dr. Warren's, has led to the eradication of the pox in the modern world. We learn here that history is written by the survivors and one's place is best preserved if one survives. Dr. Warren did disappoint in his personal preparations for death: soldiers, especially Major Generals who fight at the front lines, should make preparations for their families before seeking glory. Warren failed to do so, adding a great burden to the life of his children and fiancee. With the war gearing up and the following decades of strife and adjustments, his fame and glory were eclipsed. Only recently has his name begun to surface in modern accounts of his times. Readers would do well not to skip the Notes. Some of the best stories lie within, for instance, that of Abiel Leonard. Recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    George

    I grew up with Dr. Joseph Warren: my father and brother were named for him, his dressing table, candle stand, and medicine chest were in our living room and copies of the Copley portrait and Trumbull’s Death of General Warren hung on our wall. I am thrilled whenever his long neglected but vitally important role in America’s founding is recognized; especially in President Reagan’s inauguration speech. Founding Martyr by Christian DiSpigna, a summa cum laude Columbia University graduate in history, I grew up with Dr. Joseph Warren: my father and brother were named for him, his dressing table, candle stand, and medicine chest were in our living room and copies of the Copley portrait and Trumbull’s Death of General Warren hung on our wall. I am thrilled whenever his long neglected but vitally important role in America’s founding is recognized; especially in President Reagan’s inauguration speech. Founding Martyr by Christian DiSpigna, a summa cum laude Columbia University graduate in history, represents a ground-breaking historiographical approach to Warren. With the skills of a professionally trained historian, DiSpigna reveals a stunning new vision of this mysterious and fascinating man. Warren is mysterious because so few primary sources remain from which to analyze his life. His early death at 34, intentional destruction of personal papers, and later house fires left few documents for historians. With his exhaustive 20 year search of primary sources to fill in many blank pages of Warren’s life, DiSpigna has made an invaluable contribution to early American history. Such discoveries include additional facts as well as corrections to previously held beliefs. For example, DiSpigna’s comprehensive and thoroughly documented research reveals that Warren did not dispatch Dawes and Revere on their historic rides from the Green house on Hanover Street as formerly believed. DiSpigna discovered that it was in fact from a house owned by a neighbor named Chardon. His biography is filled with such discoveries that the reader will find fascinating. The reader is stunned to discover a man so young, so accomplished, and yet so unrecognized. DiSpigna’s enthusiasm for his subject may initially appear overblown until seen in its entirety. Warren was a young man, less than halfway into his thirties, who, as author of the Suffolk Resolves, penned the first statement of principles approved by all thirteen colonies which became the first cornerstone of agreement leading to the Declaration of Independence. He was simultaneously the chief executive of Massachusetts, heads of its Committee of Correspondence (equivalent to Secretary of State), Committee of Safety (equivalent to Secretary of Defense), a spy network, and was nominated to be a Major General in the Provincial forces. Maybe even more remarkable is that he was able to earn the respect and loyalty from the prominent men of an earlier generation and established veterans of the French and Indian wars. He has no equivalent in the Revolutionary generation. How does a historian deal with errors found in earlier works? He can challenge each fact one by one in a polemical argument that quickly becomes personal, opinionated and unappealing to a general audience. Or the historian can present his facts, and his interpretations of those facts, and let his analysis stand on its own merits. DiSpigna chose the latter, more professional approach by opting to present his own narrative. He does not explicitly point out significant errors found in earlier works or crow about his own discoveries. In fact, DiSpigna explicitly praises earlier works as “extensively researched” and “more informative that previous works,” professional courtesies deceptively ignored in some reviews of his work. As a trained historian, DiSpigna sticks to the standards of his discipline and eschewed filling empty portions of the record with digressions into the genre of historical romance. DiSpigna has made considerable contributions to Warren scholarship. His book should be read and discussed by academics, government and military leaders, business men, and all scholars of the American Revolution.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Biography of a little-known, yet nearly indispensable Founder and key leader in the Revolutionary events in Massachusetts. A few nuggets: - "Our liberty must be preserved; it is far dearer than life." Joseph Warren, 1775 (Ch. 11) - Paul Revere's mission on Apr. 19 (1775) has overshadowed the fact that Warren not only sent Revere on his mission, but that Warren himself also willingly rode into the battle that morning and fought in the most dangerous portion of the conflict (Lexington & Concord). (Ch Biography of a little-known, yet nearly indispensable Founder and key leader in the Revolutionary events in Massachusetts. A few nuggets: - "Our liberty must be preserved; it is far dearer than life." Joseph Warren, 1775 (Ch. 11) - Paul Revere's mission on Apr. 19 (1775) has overshadowed the fact that Warren not only sent Revere on his mission, but that Warren himself also willingly rode into the battle that morning and fought in the most dangerous portion of the conflict (Lexington & Concord). (Ch. 12) - During the intense fighting in Menotomy, Warren was nearly killed while leading his men. A musket-ball came so close as to take off a lock of his hair. (Ch. 12; cf George Washington in battle) - At the Battle of Bunker (and Breed's) Hill, Warren was described as one who led his men and urged them to fight, even when all others had quit the redoubt. Indeed, Gen. Warren had sacrificed himself to protect his men, giving his life for the Patriot cause. (Ch. 13) - The phrase "First in War, First in Peace, and First in the hearts of his countrymen" could have just as well been uttered about Dr. Joseph Warren after his death at Bunker Hill as it was to George Washington. (Epilogue)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I found Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero a fascinated read. I recommend it! 4 stars. I found Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero a fascinated read. I recommend it! 4 stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Scroggins

    I saw this review in the WSJ a few months back. It intrigued me as my husband is from Bunker Hill Illinois and grew up on Warren street. No one in the family knew where the name came from. Now I think we do. The book is very well written and the insight after his death is fascinating. It’s a good read about a dedicated man fighting for independence.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Terry Wilson

    Exceptional, Interesting and an Easy Read Many a man helped ignite the American Revolution. Sam and John Adams, John Hancock, John Lamb, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin… all were among the major players, but based on my own research, Doctor Joseph Warren was the prime mover providing the inspiration bringing the war to fruition. I obtained a copy of FOUNDING MARTYR to further my research for the writing of the second of a multi saga set of historical novels of the events leading to Exceptional, Interesting and an Easy Read Many a man helped ignite the American Revolution. Sam and John Adams, John Hancock, John Lamb, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin… all were among the major players, but based on my own research, Doctor Joseph Warren was the prime mover providing the inspiration bringing the war to fruition. I obtained a copy of FOUNDING MARTYR to further my research for the writing of the second of a multi saga set of historical novels of the events leading to the founding of the United States. Research already completed identified the importance of Dr. Warren, but I was in need of additional information. Writing historical novels requires giving voice to the players in as accurate a fashion as possible. Many of the patriots’ character and voice can be determined from thousands of pages of documents (letters, diaries, broadsides) these men wrote. For Doctor Warren I have found few, and this book by Christian Di Spigna has provided me the insight I desired. As a plus the book is well written and a very enjoyable read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erica Robbin

    FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an uncorrected proof via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program. All opinions are my own. Not sponsored. I enjoyed this book! I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading biographies and non-fiction wartime, as well those interested in learning what life was like during the 18th century. More specifically, those who would like to know about events surrounding the American Revoluti FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an uncorrected proof via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program. All opinions are my own. Not sponsored. I enjoyed this book! I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading biographies and non-fiction wartime, as well those interested in learning what life was like during the 18th century. More specifically, those who would like to know about events surrounding the American Revolutionary War/American War of Independence and the life of Dr. Joseph Warren. The author, Christian Di Spigna, did a wonderful job presenting the story of Dr. Joseph Warren who held multiple titles and roles as a well-respected physician and key political activist during the early days of the American Revolution. It's presented in a well-constructed, well-organized, semi-chronological timeline that preserves several historical dates of interest. This was balanced with excerpts from Dr. Warren’s personal life, excellent scene descriptions, and insight into the fascinating social norms of the time, which made for a pleasurable read that wasn't overwritten or boring. As someone who is familiar with Dr. Joseph Warren, I appreciated the level of detail that was contained in this historical account. The beginning chapter did contain a few long-winded bits, but the sentences made for case in point and weren’t overly distracting. The author was able to cleverly depict interesting differences in the knowledge and culture of the time to a more common worldview of today without interjecting loads of personal bias/opinions or unnecessary embellishment to the storyline. I enjoyed the careful placement of 18th century prose by use of direct quotes along with the occasional summarization. I also really liked the inclusion of words that were used for certain items at the time instead of substituting them with overly descriptive imagery and explanations. Though I had to reach for my dictionary a couple times, I found it refreshing to learn the names of objects that are not common in today's daily life and language. As far as the storyline is concerned, people familiar and unfamiliar with it will find it intriguing and the writing compelling. It would make a great addition to anyone's historical or medical biography literary collection.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A fascinating look at a lesser known figure of the American Revolution. Joseph Warren's role has been acknowledged less and less over time and this book does a great job of both humanizing him and showing exactly how huge of an impact he had before his death at Bunker Hill. A fascinating look at a lesser known figure of the American Revolution. Joseph Warren's role has been acknowledged less and less over time and this book does a great job of both humanizing him and showing exactly how huge of an impact he had before his death at Bunker Hill.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    I received a free Kindle copy of Founding Martyr by Christian Di Spigna courtesy of Net Galley  and Crown Publishing, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages. I requested this book as  I am an avid reader of american history and the description of the book sounded interesting and covered a subject about which I I received a free Kindle copy of Founding Martyr by Christian Di Spigna courtesy of Net Galley  and Crown Publishing, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages. I requested this book as  I am an avid reader of american history and the description of the book sounded interesting and covered a subject about which I have not previously read. This is the first book by Christian Di Spigna that I have read. The subtitle of the book "The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero" is a very good summation of the book. It covers the brief life of Dr. Warren from a child to his death at the end of the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was a leader of revolutionary thought in the Boston area and was well liked or at least admired by both sides of the conflict. Although, towards the end the Tories and the British both despised him as indicated by the desecration of his body after it was found by them. I found the book to be well written and researched. The author does an very good job of showing how Joseph Warren is one of the forgotten early heroes of the American Revolution. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in American history and the events leading up to the Revolutionary War in particular.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cian O hAnnrachainn

    History is written by the winners, it is said, but it's the winners who survive that live to tell their tale. FOUNDING MARTYR is the biography of one who died early in a conflict, a work that brings to light the many contributions of Dr. Joseph Warren. By rights, he was one of America's founding fathers, and Christian Di Spigna does a fine job of illuminating the life and times of a man who has been largely forgotten. Dr. Warren had a comfortable life and a booming medical practice, yet he did not History is written by the winners, it is said, but it's the winners who survive that live to tell their tale. FOUNDING MARTYR is the biography of one who died early in a conflict, a work that brings to light the many contributions of Dr. Joseph Warren. By rights, he was one of America's founding fathers, and Christian Di Spigna does a fine job of illuminating the life and times of a man who has been largely forgotten. Dr. Warren had a comfortable life and a booming medical practice, yet he did not hesitate to join the resistance to British interference in colonial self-government. To read about a man's dedication to what he thought was right and just makes for fascinating reading. Imagine yourself, with young children to provide for, but you are so incensed about unfair taxation that you organize resistance, even at risk of imprisonment or death. The man was an intriguing character, and the narrative lays out a timeline of events that show how one thing led to another until the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired. Readers will come away with a strong sense of what made a gentleman in those trying times, and what was expected of those who dared to step forward and lead. Well worth reading for history buffs or anyone enjoying the liberty bought at a high price. As always, thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Founding Martyr by Christian Di Spinga follows the life of Dr. Joseph Warren and the early days of the revolution. Joseph Warren is one of the often unsung and forgotten heroes of the revolution. He served as a catalyst for unifying the many splintered cells of patriots that were forming in Boston into a cohesive group and although unproven is likely one of the strong voices and architects of the Boston Tea Party. His role as a physician of all sides allowed him to establish one of the early spy Founding Martyr by Christian Di Spinga follows the life of Dr. Joseph Warren and the early days of the revolution. Joseph Warren is one of the often unsung and forgotten heroes of the revolution. He served as a catalyst for unifying the many splintered cells of patriots that were forming in Boston into a cohesive group and although unproven is likely one of the strong voices and architects of the Boston Tea Party. His role as a physician of all sides allowed him to establish one of the early spy rings and formulate plans against the British and he was one of the last patriots to remain in Boston leading up to Lexington and Concord. Following the dissolution into war with Great Britain he would go on to organize many of the early actions and serve at Bunker Hill where he would be killed and have his body desecrated in a fit of rage by the British. Not knowing of his death in Philadelphia a flurry of letters were headed towards Massachusetts employing Dr. Warren to prepare for George Washington and setting him up to be a key point person in the coming war for independence. Alas we will never know the role he might have played had he lived but this book does a great job of showing his importance in the early struggle for independence and helping to serve as a catalyst for the American Revolution.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Although I knew about Joseph Warren and political outlook and death at Bunker Hill, that is about all I knew. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about both Warren and Boston politics prior to the start of the American Revolution. Although personal information is limited due to the lack of sources, his public life is fairly well documented through official records and personal letters and remembrances of his contemporaries. Yes there are always biases contained in letters and remembranc Although I knew about Joseph Warren and political outlook and death at Bunker Hill, that is about all I knew. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about both Warren and Boston politics prior to the start of the American Revolution. Although personal information is limited due to the lack of sources, his public life is fairly well documented through official records and personal letters and remembrances of his contemporaries. Yes there are always biases contained in letters and remembrances, but considering the lack of source materials and the practically nonexistent documentation in Warren's own hand I think the author did a good job of elucidating his life. I was somewhat surprised at how controversial Warren was during his own lifetime. I suppose we are taught a very one sided view of both the revolution and our founding fathers. We tend to forget how controversial the revolution and all that occurred before it was to the people then living and the Tories are sometimes universally condemned in this country. The author brought out Warren's views and that they were considered radical even among some revolutionaries. He clearly pictured the extreme partisan arguing which occurred which reminded me of today's politics, especially the way both sides demonized their political opponents. It has given me much to think about which is why I enjoy reading history.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Retiredbibliophile

    It’s not often to find a book both engaging and scholarly, but Founding Martyr delivers on both ends. I thought the author did a great job explaining why we don’t know more about Dr. Joseph Warren. The Epilogue and Legacy chapters provide a lot of information on the years following Warren’s death. What interested me most was how far back the book went to chronicle the political rivalry and not just start with events of the 1770’s. I’ve read other books about the period but none that discuss Warr It’s not often to find a book both engaging and scholarly, but Founding Martyr delivers on both ends. I thought the author did a great job explaining why we don’t know more about Dr. Joseph Warren. The Epilogue and Legacy chapters provide a lot of information on the years following Warren’s death. What interested me most was how far back the book went to chronicle the political rivalry and not just start with events of the 1770’s. I’ve read other books about the period but none that discuss Warren so thoroughly. The authors accounts of Harvard and Boston are vivid and descriptive. I would highly recommend Founding Martyr. If you’re into footnotes you’re in for an extra bonus.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    An interesting book on someone who I never heard of before. Dr. Joseph Warren started the colonial revolution against the British that started the American Revolution. Warren took part in the Boston Tea Party and the battles of Lexington and Concord. He later was killed during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Ford

    Joseph Warren, an underrated, often forgotten founding father, is well served by Christian Di Spigna. Terrific historical account.

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