“This book,” Bernard Bailyn writes, “depicts the fortunes of a conservative in a time of radical upheaval and deals with problems of public disorder and ideological commitment.” It is at the same time a dramatic account of the origins of the American Revolution from the viewpoint, not of the winners who became the Founding Fathers, but of the losers, the Loyalists. By portraying the ordeal of the last civilian royal governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Bailyn explains “what the human reality was against which the victors struggled” and in doing so makes the story of the Revolution fuller and more comprehensible.
As political biography, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson is without equal in the voluminous literature on the Revolution. No other public figure of the Revolution has found such skillful and sensitive attention.
Writing this kind of history requires discipline, imagination, and sensitivity, and it presupposes that there is an inner world of intellect and of moral and emotional sensibility which is intimately responsive to external events… [Bailyn’s] probing, taut yet luminous prose weaves together into a single fabric finished explanations, analyses of evidence, flashes of insight, and intuitive understandings. A triumph of historical and literary artistry… The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson is that rare achievement which is at once original and nearly definitive, masterful and provocative.
Professor Bailyn has written a biography that is a work of art: exquisitely written, delicate in insight, and imbued with a wisdom about men and affairs that is the true hallmark of a great historian.
- 448 pages
- Belknap Press
From this author
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