My Book Collection: John Adams Under Fire by Dan Abrams

John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial

Title:John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial
Author(s):Dan Abrams and David Fisher
Publisher:Hanover Square Press
Published:March 3, 2020
Date Added:December 27, 2022
calibre ID:e-375
Date Finished:n/a

About the Book


“An expert, extremely detailed account of John Adams’ finest hour.”— *Kirkus Reviews

Honoring the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre

The *New York Times bestselling author of *Lincoln’s Last Trial *and host of LivePD * Dan Abrams and David Fisher tell the story of a trial that would change history.

History remembers John Adams as a Founding Father and our country’s second president. But in the tense years before the American Revolution, he was still just a lawyer, fighting for justice in one of the most explosive murder trials of the era.

On the night of March 5, 1770, shots were fired by British soldiers on the streets of Boston, killing five civilians. The Boston Massacre has often been called the first shots of the American Revolution. As John Adams would later remember, “On that night the formation of American independence was born.” Yet when the British soldiers faced trial, the young lawyer Adams was determined that they receive a fair one. He volunteered to represent them, keeping the peace in a powder keg of a colony, and in the process created some of the foundations of what would become United States law.

In this book, New York Times bestselling authors Dan Abrams and David Fisher draw on the trial transcript, using Adams’s own words to transport readers to colonial Boston, a city roiling with rebellion, where British military forces and American colonists lived side by side, waiting for the spark that would start a war. **


“The story is both compelling on its own terms and a lesson about some eternal truths about criminal justice.” — “Jeffrey Toobin on Lincoln’s Last Trial”

“Dan Abrams and David Fisher present a fascinating window into the former President Roosevelt that is fresh and often surprising. This trial and Roosevelt’s defense of his reputation on the stand, often under fierce questioning, is truly mesmerizing.” — “Brian Kilmeade on Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense”

“Abrams and Fisher do a superb job of clearly presenting the issues in this remarkable and intensely dramatic trial.” — “Scott Turow on Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense”

“Dan Abrams and David Fisher write the heart-pounding pulse of history…This book not only brings a rare transcript to life, it makes you feel as if you are watching a live camera riveted on a courtroom more than 150 years ago.” — “Diane Sawyer on Lincoln’s Last Trial”

About the Author

Dan Abrams is the chief legal affairs correspondent for ABC News as well as the host of top-rated Live PD on A&E Network and The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets the Law on SiriusXM. A graduate of Columbia University Law School, he is CEO and founder of Abrams Media, which includes the Law & Crime network. He lives in New York.

David Fisher is the author of twenty-five New York Times bestsellers. He lives in New York with his wife, Laura.

The first shots in the American Revolution occurred during the Boston Massacre, and this history describes the trial that followed, certainly “the most important case in American colonial history.”

On March 5, 1770, British soldiers, harassed by a mob throwing snowballs and rocks, fired into the crowd, killing five and injuring six. Abrams, the chief legal affairs correspondent for ABC News, and prolific author Fisher (co-authors: Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency, 2018) write that the 34-year-old Adams, a successful lawyer who was sympathetic to the protestors, agreed to defend the officer and eight soldiers accused of murder. He would later write, “Counsel ought to be the very last thing an accused person should want in a free country….” This was a moderately courageous act that did his growing law practice no good. To his dying day, Adams grumbled that opponents used the trial to impugn his patriotism. This may have been true, but since then, historians have given him high marks. There were two trials. In the first, the defense had little trouble convincing the jury that Thomas Preston, the officer in charge, did not order his men to fire. In the second, Adams and colleagues strived to show that the soldiers feared for their lives, thus giving them the right to kill in self-defense. They largely succeeded. The jury exonerated six and convicted two of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The letter “m” was burned onto their thumbs as punishment. A transcript exists of the soldiers’ trial, which is perhaps too much of a good thing, as the authors quote liberally from it. Despite variations, readers will encounter perhaps 100 pages of witnesses’ descriptions of the same event followed by several lawyers’ careful reviews of those that support the case. Many readers will feel the urge to skim these parts, but on the whole, the narrative is engaging.

An expert, extremely detailed account of John Adams’ finest hour.

Source: Kirkus Reviews

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