John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot

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Wiley, Sep 21, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 383 pages
3 Reviews
Applying his historical expertise and storytelling gift, Unger details the fascinating life of one of our most extraordinary business and political leaders?the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. As Unger reveals in this unflinching portrait, Hancock was one of the most paradoxical figures of his time. Arguably the wealthiest man in the American colonies, he unabashedly reveled in his riches, adoring all the foppish trappings he could buy. But his commitment to individual liberty eventually transformed him into a fervent revolutionary, venerated equally by his establishment peers at Harvard as he was by the rebels?the Minutemen who did the fighting and the Boston street mobs who declared him their hero even as they burned the homes of other aristocrats. To repay their respect, he sacrificed his fortune and risked death by hanging to win independence from the British. A brilliant orator, he combined his wealth and political skills to unite Boston?s merchant and working classes into an armed might that forced Britain?s vaunted professional army to evacuate Boston, assuring the success of the Revolution.

America?s first great philanthropist and humanitarian, Hancock rebuilt whole neighborhoods devastated by Boston?s periodic fires, fed the poor, sent orphans to college, and bought the city its first fire engine. He rebuilt the city and the magnificent Boston Common after the vicious British devastation, and the people of Massachusetts elected and reelected him their governor for the rest of his life?nine terms in all. Here is the fascinating story of the man with the most recognizable signature in American history. Intertwining Hancock?s story with that of the colorful Samuel Adams, his fellow Bostonian (and Harvard man) who was both comrade in arms and political enemy, Unger etches a finely drawn portrait of one of the Revolutionary War?s greatest?and possibly least known?leaders.

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User Review  - MichaelDeavers - LibraryThing

I thought Mr. Unger wrote an excellent book regarding John Hancock. The book was easy to follow and made for a very pleasant and informative read. I had the feeling that the author spent a lot time in ... Read full review

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User Review  - cogman - LibraryThing

Easy to read as it brings to life John Hancock. A man as outstanding as his bold and disciplined signature. Connects the dots and fills in the portrait of our early American culture and history. Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Harlow Giles Unger is author of Noah Webster: The Life and Times of an American Patriot. A veteran journalist, he was a news editor at the New York Herald Tribune Overseas News Service, and foreign news correspondent for the Times (London). He lives in New York City and Paris.

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