Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
American rebels : how the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy families fanned the flames of revolution
Where is it?
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews
Library Journal Review
Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts) follows the lives of sons and daughters of the Adams, Quincy, and Hancock families from colonial Braintree, MA, who became influential rebels (and some loyalists). She claims that the common heritage of John Adams, John Hancock, and Josiah Quincy, Jr. (most notably) instilled in their offspring an indomitable sense of duty to community and devotion to liberty. Friends as youths, their lives intertwined in adulthood. Inspired by their independent-thinking forebears, especially the Rev. John Hancock Sr., they had intellect, courage, weaknesses, diplomacy, and indefatigable faith in freedom and self-determination. All of it drove them to resist the British imposition of taxes and punitive measures, and, ultimately, to galvanize inter-colonial support for American independence. Sankovitch highlights the significant impact of Braintree daughters and wives Abigail Smith Adams and Dorothy (Quincy) Hancock, among others, who shared their husbands' beliefs, influenced their work, and endured their trials; she includes the challenges of loyalists Samuel Quincy and Jonathan Sewell (husband of Esther Quincy and close friend to John Adams). VERDICT Sankovitch has woven a compelling, potent chronicle of members of three principal American families that will be valued by readers of American history at all levels.--Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY
Publishers Weekly Review
Historian Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts) explores the family connections and revolutionary politics shared by John Hancock, John and Abigail Adams, and Josiah Quincy Jr., in this richly detailed and fluidly written account. Beginning with the 1744 funeral of Rev. John Hancock, whose son John would later serve as governor of Massachusetts and president of the Second Continental Congress, Sankovitch charts the close connections between her central figures--John Hancock married Josiah Jr.'s cousin, Dolly Quincy, and John Adams's wife, Abigail, was also descended from the Quincy line--and details the leading roles that Hancock and Adams played in writing the Declaration of Independence. For many readers, however, the book's biggest revelation will be lesser-known figure Josiah Jr., who served as Adams's co-counsel in the Boston Massacre trial, traveled to England to make a last-ditch effort to avoid armed conflict, and tried, in an attempt thwarted by fatal illness, to convey secret messages to rebel leaders about British intentions. Sankovitch leavens her deeply researched account with wit, and presents a persuasive and entertaining portrait of life in colonial Boston. Revolutionary War buffs will savor this thoughtful addition to popular histories of the period. (Mar.)
Booklist Review
In the mid-eighteenth century, three Braintree, Massachusetts, families began setting the stage for what was to become the American Revolution. The Hancocks were one of the colonies' richest families, having profited from government contracts during the French and Indian War. The Quincys had large landholdings in Massachusetts. The Adams family were early settlers in Braintree. They all appeared prosperous burghers, but they learned early on to respect others and to cherish both this equality and its companion, liberty. These families intermarried, their children attended the same schools in Braintree and Boston, and they all socialized leisurely on the town common. So as relations with Britain over the imposition of duties and taxes began to strain, leaders from each of these families took up the banner of revolt against their overseas government. Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts, 2017) lays out the evolution of eighteenth-century political thought and shows how it arose within these families and their interconnections. Students of American Revolution history will find a fresh perspective here. Maps and genealogies help orient readers.
Kirkus Review
A look at the road to the American Revolution from the perspectives of five patriots.On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, presided over by John Hancock, declared independence from Britain, prompting delegate John Adams to write to his wife, Abigail, that the "Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America." This moment provides a fitting conclusion to this book, in which Sankovitch (The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family, 2017, etc.) argues that Hancock, the Adamses, Josiah Quincy Jr., and Dorothy Quincy Hancock together "led the fight for liberty" that culminated in the Revolution. John Hancock, John Adams, and Edmund and Samuel Quincy were childhood companions, the "Boys from Braintree" who attended Harvard together. In the years following the French and Indian War, Hancock, Adams, and Josiah often collaborated in response to British Colonial policies. Hancock and Quincy worked on an official protest against the Stamp Act, Adams was Hancock's defense counsel in the Liberty case, and Hancock and Quincy helped organize the Boston Tea Party. Sankovitch persuasively claims the importance of the somewhat forgotten Josiah, a brilliant lawyer who succumbed to tuberculosis in April 1775 at the age of 31. She is less convincing in asserting the significance of Abigail Smith Adams and Dorothy Quincy Hancock. The author also commits too many factual errors: The Puritans were not separatists. Thomas Hutchinson was not the governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in August 1765. The committee charged with writing the Declaration of Independence consisted of five men, not six. John Adams was elected president in 1796, not 1797. Sankovitch also contradicts herself when she notes that Abigail Adams anticipated war with Britain ("inevitable, in her view") after the Boston Tea Party only to write that she and others thought war was "still unthinkable" after that event.An occasionally enlightening study hampered by the author's missteps. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Nina Sankovitch's American Rebels explores, for the first time, the intertwined lives of the Hancock, Quincy, and Adams families, and the role each person played in sparking the American Revolution.

Before they were central figures in American history, John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Junior, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock had forged intimate connections during their childhood in Braintree, Massachusetts. Raised as loyal British subjects who quickly saw the need to rebel, their collaborations against the Crown and Parliament were formed years before the revolution and became stronger during the period of rising taxes and increasing British troop presence in Boston. Together, the families witnessed the horrors of the Boston Massacre, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill; the trials and tribulations of the Siege of Boston; meetings of the Continental Congress; transatlantic missions for peace and their abysmal failures; and the final steps that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

American Rebels explores how the desire for independence cut across class lines, binding people together as well as dividing them--rebels versus loyalists--as they pursued commonly-held goals of opportunity, liberty, and stability. Nina Sankovitch's new book is a fresh history of our revolution that makes readers look more closely at Massachusetts and the small town of Braintree when they think about the story of America's early years.

Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1