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

Publication date:
14 Oct 2011
Yale University Press
328 pages: 210 x 140mm
33 b-w illus.
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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 L. Carp is associate professor of history at Tufts University.

"His vivid reimagining of this weird event evokes the smell of the tea, the creaking of decks and groaning of ropes, and even the 'satisfying plunk, slap, hiss as the clumps of tea made contact with the water'."—The Guardian

"A highly detailed account of a critical precursor to the American Revolution and a formative event in US cultural identity."—Colm Farren, Irish Times

"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