Defiance of the Patriots The Boston Tea Party & the Making of America Benjamin L. Carp

Publication date:
03 Sep 2010
336 pages: 234 x 156 x 30mm
32 black-&-white illustrations

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On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of disguised Bostonians boarded three merchant ships and dumped more than forty-six tons of tea into Boston Harbour. The Boston Tea Party, as it later came to be known, was an audacious and revolutionary act. It set the stage for war and cemented certain values in the American psyche that many still cherish today. But why did the Tea Party happen? Whom did it involve? What did it mean? The answers to these questions are far from straightforward. In this thrilling new book, Benjamin Carp tells the full story of the Tea Party - exploding myths, exploring the unique city life of Boston, and setting this extraordinary event in a global context for the first time. Bringing vividly to life the diverse array of people and places that the Tea Party brought together, from Chinese tea-pickers to English businessmen, Native American tribes, sugar plantation slaves, and Boston's ladies of leisure, Carp illuminates how a determined group shook the foundations of a mighty empire, and what this has meant for Americans since. As he reveals many little-known historical facts and considers the Tea Party's uncertain legacy, he presents a compelling and expansive history of an iconic event in America's tempestuous past.

More about this title

Winner of the 2010 Best Book on the Era of the American Revolution Award given by the American Revolution Round Table of New York

Benjamin Carp is Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University, where he teaches the history of early America. He has a broad interest in revolutionary political activity, cities and the American Revolution, with a particular focus on the Boston Tea Party - about which Carp has given talks across the eastern seaboard, written articles and posted blogs and podcasts. He also covered the 'tea party' protest in April 2009 for the Sunday Washington Post (writing an oped piece), and was consultant to an episode on the BTP in the 'Days That Shook the World' series, aired on BBC2, BBC4 and The History Channel. Educated at Yale and Virginia, and having taught at the University of Edinburgh, Carp brings a strong transatlantic perspective to bear on his research. The previous recipient of Mellon and Leverhulme Research Fellowships, his first book was Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution.

"A sterling account."—Michael Kenney, The Boston Globe

"A thoughtful, balanced corrective to partisan treatments of the Boston Tea Party."—Maya Jasanoff, Guardian

"Carp is an historian with a talent for people and place."—David Aaronovitch, The Times

"Carp's book will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about the Boston Tea Party. His research is meticulous."—Raymond Seitz, Literary Review

"An illuminating account of a singular moment in history."—Siobhan Murphy, Metro

"Carp’s excellent book offers much to those interested in America, past and present."—Jeremy Black, Journal of American Studies