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I don't normally post reviews of books, but this one has become so irritating that I feel like speaking out. On the surface it is a biography of John Hancock, but in reality it is an extended rant against another Bostonian--Samuel Adams. There must be an underlying reason for the snide comments about Adams that are generously sprinkled throughout the book, but that reason isn't revealed by the author. This was especially surprising because I just finished reading a biography of Adams by Paul Lewis that mentioned friction between Hancock and Adams, but didn't take sides. The Lewis book was much more balanced.
Another irritating feature of the book is its constant mentioning of Harvard College. No matter how minor an introduced character is, we are told if he was a graduate of Harvard. If you wonder where other Founding Fathers were educated you must look elsewhere because the author doesn't tell us. It almost seems like the author has some connection to Harvard from the gratuitous mentioning of the school throughout the book.
Speaking of Founding Fathers, the author tries to convince the reader that John Hancock was the first president of the U.S., even titling one of the chapters as such. This is because Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress, under which the Declaration of Independence was written. Although the author acknowledges that Peyton Randolph was the president of the First Continental Congress, his fixation on Hancock blinds him to Randolph's precedence. He also conveniently ignores the fact that the office of 'President of the United States' was not established until the U.S. Constitution was ratified many years later.
Otherwise, the book is written in an easily readable style and there are interesting facts about Hancock's life, which is why I chose to read it. Some Revolutionary War events that Unger writes about don't match the descriptions of other authors on the same subjects, but I'm not enough of a historian to know who is right and who is wrong. Overall, this is a highly slanted, fawning biography.
 

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