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Extended Audio Sample American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People, by T. H. Breen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (54 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: T. H. Breen Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Before there could be a revolution, there was a rebellion; before patriots, there were insurgents. Challenging and displacing decades of received wisdom, T. H. Breen’s strikingly original book explains how ordinary Americans—most of them members of farm families living in small communities—were drawn into a successful insurgency against imperial authority. This is the story of our national political origins that most Americans do not know. It is a story of rumor, charity, vengeance, and restraint. American Insurgents, American Patriots reminds us that revolutions are violent events. They provoke passion and rage, a willingness to use violence to achieve political ends, a deep sense of betrayal, and a strong religious conviction that God expects an oppressed people to defend their rights. The American Revolution was no exception.

A few celebrated figures in the Continental Congress do not make for a revolution. It requires tens of thousands of ordinary men and women willing to sacrifice, kill, and be killed. Breen not only tells the history of these ordinary Americans but, drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen documents, restores their primacy to America’s road to independence. Mobilizing two years before the Declaration of Independence, American insurgents in all thirteen colonies concluded that resistance to British oppression required organized violence against the state. They channeled popular rage through elected committees of safety and observation, which before 1776 were the heart of American resistance. American Insurgents, American Patriots is the stunning account of their insurgency, without which there would have been no independent republic as we know it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A scholarly, unnerving account of the American Revolution’s darker side—the violence, death threats, false rumors, and extremist rhetoric that introduced a new political order.”

    The New Yorker

  • “Generation after generation, students are taught that the Founders inspired a hesitant, though hardy, American populace to reclaim its rights…The truth is a good deal messier and more interesting. Historians in our own time—Mr. Breen, Gary B. Nash and Gordon S. Wood, among others—have shifted the emphasis to the common people.”

    Wall Street Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Naomi | 11/2/2013

    " Interesting read about many revolutionary war participants that non-historians wouldn't know about. I gave the book 2 stars because it was dryly written and I felt the author really could have "puffed" it up since it isn't a text book history book and is written for the general public. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by John Hansen | 3/24/2013

    " A revolution created and led by the people, and largely reacted to by the elite? That is Breen's hypothesis, and it is a fascinating one, with a lot of research and great stories to provide evidence for his argument. Agree or disagree with his theory, it's a provocative and useful book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Pesha | 12/27/2011

    " A really interesting idea with a compelling argument, but tends to get a little bogged down in the details and perhaps-excessive examples. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Meg Winkler | 6/28/2011

    " Very nice comprehensive work that discusses the domino effect of insurgent passions during the Revolution. As you read it, Breen illustrates the developments well so you can see how things fell in line. Great read for the student of history or those interested in terrorism. "

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About the Author

T. H. Breen is the William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University. The author of several works of history, including The Marketplace of Revolution, Breen has also written for the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and the New York Times Book Review. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.