John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot



PRAISE FOR HARLOW Giles UNGER S NOAH WEBSTER THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN AMERICAN PATRIOT Noah Webster Was A Truly Remarkable Man Shrewd, Passionate, Learned And Energetic, God Fearing And Patriotic Mr Unger Has Done A Fine Job Reintroducing Him To A New Generation Of Americans Washington Times Superb Biography Don T Miss This Stirring Book Florence King, The American SpectatorJohn Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot

A former Distinguished Visiting Fellow in American History at George Washington s Mount Vernon, Harlow Giles Unger is a veteran journalist, broadcaster, educator, and historian.

!!> Reading ➳ John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot ➬ Author Harlow Giles Unger – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot
  • Harlow Giles Unger
  • English
  • 14 December 2019
  • 0471332097

10 thoughts on “John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot

  1. says:

    Good biography Never read much about John Hancock, so this was a bit new and interesting The author does a good job of keeping the focus on Hancock When there are extended descriptions of events, they re at least tied back to Hancock in terms of role or reaction The author does an excellent job of refraining from commenting on Hancock s personality Instead, he uses letters and events and lifestyle to show that Hancock, while genial and generous, was vainglorious, pompous, shrank from contro Good biography Never read much about John Hancock, so this was a bit new and interesting The author does a good job of keeping the focus on Hancock When there are extended descriptions of events, they re at least tied back to Hancock in terms of role or reaction The author does an excellent job of refraining from commenting on Hancock s personality Instead, he uses letters and events and lifestyle to show that Hancock, while genial and generous, was vainglorious, pompous, shrank from controversy, and a political chameleon The author also did a good job of outlining Hancock s daily life without belaboring the point The writing is readable and often amusing In short, this was a better biography than I was expecting So, I give this a 4 It s a good model of what a biography should be There s life, personality, and events all done in a readable style Probably not for serious scholars or people versed in Boston events during the American Revolution, but good for everyone else

  2. says:

    A very easy to read biography of one of the lesser known founding fathers Having read extensively on the American Revolution and many biographies on several of the patriots, this book is revealing on how underappreciated and unrecognized were Hancock s contributions to the birth of the new nation In many books he is barely mentioned at all, or portrayed as a nonessential character, such as that his role as president of the first Continental Congress was merely a figurehead, worthless position A very easy to read biography of one of the lesser known founding fathers Having read extensively on the American Revolution and many biographies on several of the patriots, this book is revealing on how underappreciated and unrecognized were Hancock s contributions to the birth of the new nation In many books he is barely mentioned at all, or portrayed as a nonessential character, such as that his role as president of the first Continental Congress was merely a figurehead, worthless position This book presents a consistent argument for his importance in American politics, both national and as governor of Massachusetts.Hancock was the owner of a flourishing and very savvy merchant business and was, by today s standards, a multi millionaire He almost singlehandedly funded the new continental army for weapons and supplies, and was very generous to the poor in Boston, using his own funds to help them out of hard times such as providing firewood in the dead of winter, rebuilding businesses burnt down in fires, donating a fire engine to the city, making improvements to the city and beautifying Boston Common, and was very much beloved by the citizens of Boston for his generosity He would drive around the city in his carriage interacting with the people and if someone had a need he would help They loved him, and after the war they continuously elected him governor Hancock used his business acumen to run government in an efficient and just manner He also used his money and stature for political maneuvering, lavishly wooing the French naval commanders after a disastrous battle in Rhode Island, when they were ready to do an about face and sail back to France His skills as an American ambassador played a large role in cementing the French and American alliance He recognized that some of the most important battles could be won in the dining room over a bottle of fine Madeira wine rather than on the battlefield Yes, Hancock loved fancy clothes and even fancier carriages, and loved to parade around Boston Common in fancy regalia with his own little troop, doing drills I feel he can be excused for his foppishness in light of all his contributions to the American cause, his brilliance as a fair and skillful executive as president of the Continental Congress and as governor of Massachusetts, his generosity, and his political acumen as mediator extraordinaire The author treats Samuel Adams harshly, almost depicting him as merely a jealous troublemaker, and treats John Adams only a little better He does not judge Hancock at all for his shortcomings, and emphasizes the positive things he accomplished I enjoyed this biography of this underappreciated patriot, and was shocked to learn at the end of the book that it took 100 years for Mr Hancock to finally receive a headstone on his grave at the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston

  3. says:

    John Hancock by Harlow Unger is an excellent addition to the literature on the Revolutionary War It takes a very fresh approach to the often stale ideas of why the revolution started It alleges that the early phase of the push towards war had little to do with liberty and everything to do with personal vendetta and economics He clearly articulates the personal animosity of Otis and Sam Adams towards the royal governor and their constant push to rally the mob via the Sons of Liberty Also show John Hancock by Harlow Unger is an excellent addition to the literature on the Revolutionary War It takes a very fresh approach to the often stale ideas of why the revolution started It alleges that the early phase of the push towards war had little to do with liberty and everything to do with personal vendetta and economics He clearly articulates the personal animosity of Otis and Sam Adams towards the royal governor and their constant push to rally the mob via the Sons of Liberty Also shown is the merchant class led by Hancock who felt the squeeze of British taxes and policies and pushed back with their agents in London As the situation became untenable in London it became necessary for the merchants via Hancock to take control of the mobs and direct their focus One of the most important contributions to the Revolution that Hancock makes is the funding At various points Hancock is almost single handedly funding out of his own pocket and raising money via the merchant class to buy guns, pay troops, and cover the expenses of entertaining diplomats.There are a few problems with this book that do need to be addressed The author points out that Hancock was in the right place at the right time in many cases and often ended up in his positions via luckthan political maneuvering The author credits Hancock with being ahead of the curve each time and in some cases this is simply not true when events were started by others There is a clear distaste for John Adams and while post revolution it is easy to find fault with the Jacobin tendencies it seems he is treated very harsh by Unger.Overall it is still refreshing to see a different take on why the revolution started and looking past the Sam Adams bias it is a four start book Highly recommended for those who have read a lot of American Revolution and are looking for a fresh approach

  4. says:

    I like Unger s biographies for a few reasons He picks interesting people that are not as covered as people like Lincoln, Washington and Kennedy He has a real knack for telling an interesting story and he keeps it brief I love a great 1000 page biography as much as the next history buff but I don t need 1000 pages on every single person I read about.This Unger book is about an underappreciated founding father John Hancock Like all of the signers he risk his life in signing the Declaration of I like Unger s biographies for a few reasons He picks interesting people that are not as covered as people like Lincoln, Washington and Kennedy He has a real knack for telling an interesting story and he keeps it brief I love a great 1000 page biography as much as the next history buff but I don t need 1000 pages on every single person I read about.This Unger book is about an underappreciated founding father John Hancock Like all of the signers he risk his life in signing the Declaration of Independence and he had as much to lose as anybody A very successful merchant it would have been understandable if he was ok with how things were going under British rule

  5. says:

    Another great work by Harlow Giles Unger A clear and insightful narrative of the life of one of the greatest patriots, John Hancock A must read for any history, leadership or American history buff A very well written book and in many ways a page turner I highly recommend reading this as Unger s Patrick Henry Terrific narratives about often forgotten American Revolutionary heroes.

  6. says:

    John Hancock was a greatly unstudied founding father Author aHarlow Unger provided great research Also this book gives a behind the scenes view of the entire period Hancock was an American aristocrat who lived a flamboyant and yet extremely benevolent life He was well loved by the people A must read to understand the background of the revolution.

  7. says:

    3.5 Stars The story of the man behind the famous signature After reading this book, I could envision Hancock as one of the great Caesar s of Rome A man of immense wealth and expensive taste, yet worried about the common people and public works Unger paints a good picture of the man and did his research, but he has some odd choices For a 330 page book, he spends over 200 pages before he even gets to the Revolutionary War His only 2 children die at a very young age, but he spends about one 3.5 Stars The story of the man behind the famous signature After reading this book, I could envision Hancock as one of the great Caesar s of Rome A man of immense wealth and expensive taste, yet worried about the common people and public works Unger paints a good picture of the man and did his research, but he has some odd choices For a 330 page book, he spends over 200 pages before he even gets to the Revolutionary War His only 2 children die at a very young age, but he spends about one paragraph on them Also, he has the tendency to make very demeaning comments about the looks of the historic women of the story, which seems out of place He also has some biases which I think cloud him from some possible conclusions

  8. says:

    Perhaps my reason for reading this biography was simplistic but I wanted to knowabout the man behind the signature Everyone knows Hancock s bold strokes on the Declaration of Independence However, I knew very little about the man who signed the document, apparently alone at the time After reading Mr Unger s work, I ve decided Hancock was a reluctant patriot at best First and foremost he was a businessman and it wasn t until unrest in the colonies interfered with those ambitions did he Perhaps my reason for reading this biography was simplistic but I wanted to knowabout the man behind the signature Everyone knows Hancock s bold strokes on the Declaration of Independence However, I knew very little about the man who signed the document, apparently alone at the time After reading Mr Unger s work, I ve decided Hancock was a reluctant patriot at best First and foremost he was a businessman and it wasn t until unrest in the colonies interfered with those ambitions did he become a patriot Once the conversion took place, however, he was a very instrumental patriot I was impressed with the detail Unger collected in describing this very colorful man and learned a great deal about the foundation of what would become the Bill of Rights By the end of the biography, I was convinced that Hancock certainly should be included as one of the founding fathers of our country.Yes Mr Unger does lose some of his objectivity especially when describing the actions of Sam Adams but that can be forgiven because the overall weight of his research compensates for that loss of objectivity

  9. says:

    Leave it to Harlow Unger to take a subject topic that we all think we know and make it a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening book This is the first book that I read by the author, and his journalistic style of writing is fresh, offering facts that do not bog down in the historical pitfall, of overloaded information, that befall most professional historians I found the story of Hancock s humble beginnings, being placed into a relative s family, and his native intelligence, abilities, coupled Leave it to Harlow Unger to take a subject topic that we all think we know and make it a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening book This is the first book that I read by the author, and his journalistic style of writing is fresh, offering facts that do not bog down in the historical pitfall, of overloaded information, that befall most professional historians I found the story of Hancock s humble beginnings, being placed into a relative s family, and his native intelligence, abilities, coupled with hard work, that resulted in Hancock reaching the upper echelons of wealth and comfort to be fascinating and deserved This is a tale for Americans today who expect everything to be given to them without working for it

  10. says:

    A must read for anyone who wishes to knowabout John Hancock Still I have two gripes about this book At times it is overly detailed and Unger is very biased He continually puts The Last of the Puritans , Samuel Adams, down Adams is portrayed as a power hungry scoundrel I bring this up because this is the case throughout through much of the book In that respect Unger did almost a too good a job in writing Hancock s biography it is as if he is viewing Adams through Hancock s eyes.

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