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brooke barbier and stacy schiff

Boston Tea Party 250th - Stacy Schiff w/ Brooke Barbier - at The Colony House

Charter Books and the Newport Historical Society commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in this special evening event at The Old Colony House. Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff (author of The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams) will be in conversation with Brooke Barbier (author of King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father).

In both writers' works, the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773 is a pivotal moment and a point of no return for two Boston men. One was a failed businessman and a firebrand for a nascent Patriot movement. The other was an enormously privileged merchant whose paradoxically moderate radicalism would prove crucial in the march toward American independence.

Schiff and Barbier will discuss Adams, Hancock, and the circumstances in New England that led to Revolution less than a year and a half after the Tea Party. And what better location than the center of Rhode Island's colonial government in the 1770s? Get your tickets now!

Interview and discussion followed by Q&A and book signing. Both authors' works are available for pre-order below and for sale at the event.


The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff

This "glorious" revelatory biography from a Pulitzer Prize winner is about the most essential Founding Father (Ron Chernow)—the one who stood behind the change in thinking that produced the American Revolution.

Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, “Samuel Adams was the man.” With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.   Stacy Schiff returns Adams to his seat of glory, introducing us to the shrewd and eloquent man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution. A singular figure at a singular moment, Adams amplified the Boston Massacre. He helped to mastermind the Boston Tea Party. He employed every tool available to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to be arrested for treason. In The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams’s improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies. Arresting, original, and deliriously dramatic, this is a long-overdue chapter in the history of our nation.





And named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by The New Yorker, TIME, Oprah Daily, USA Today, New York Magazine, Air Mail, Boston Globe, and more!

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Ambassador Book Award; Cleopatra: A Life, winner of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography; and most recently, The Witches: Salem,1692. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in New York City.


King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father by Brooke Barbier

A rollicking portrait of the paradoxical patriot, whose measured pragmatism helped make American independence a reality.

Americans are surprisingly more familiar with his famous signature than with the man himself. In this spirited account of John Hancock's life, Brooke Barbier depicts a patriot of fascinating contradictions--a child of enormous privilege who would nevertheless become a voice of the common folk; a pillar of society uncomfortable with radicalism who yet was crucial to independence. About two-fifths of the American population held neutral or ambivalent views about the Revolution, and Hancock spoke for them and to them, bringing them along.

Orphaned young, Hancock was raised by his merchant uncle, whose business and vast wealth he inherited--including household slaves, whom Hancock later freed. By his early thirties, he was one of New England's most prominent politicians, earning a place on Britain's most-wanted list and the derisive nickname King Hancock. While he eventually joined the revolution against England, his ever moderate--and moderating--disposition would prove an asset after 1776. Barbier shows Hancock appealing to southerners and northerners, Federalists and Anti-Federalists. He was a famously steadying force as president of the fractious Second Continental Congress. He parlayed with French military officials, strengthening a key alliance with his hospitable diplomacy. As governor of Massachusetts, Hancock convinced its delegates to vote for the federal Constitution and calmed the fallout from the shocking Shays's Rebellion.

An insightful study of leadership in the revolutionary era, King Hancock traces a moment when passion was on the side of compromise and accommodation proved the basis of profound social and political change.

Brooke Barbier is a public historian and independent scholar with a doctorate in American history from Boston College. The author of Boston in the American Revolution: A Town versus an Empire, she founded and operates Ye Olde Tavern Tours, a popular guided outing along Boston’s renowned Freedom Trail.

Date: 10/24/2023
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm

55 Washington Square
Newport, RI 02840
United States