In retelling the incendiary tale of a city and a battle that sparked our revolution, the author introduces the reader to some famous, infamous, and not-so-famous characters. Future President John Quincy Adams was just seven when he and his mother Abigail watched and listened to the battle some miles distant. The moment would have a profound impact on Adams for the rest of his life. His father John was away in Philadelphia at the Continental Congress, while others, such as Dr. Joseph Warren, manned the front lines. George Washington would not appear to lead the New England fighters for more than two weeks after Bunker Hill.
The author presents Dr. Warren, 34 in 1775, as the precocious patriot who might have been president, or at least as famous as Founding Fathers John and Samuel Adams. It was Warren who overruled established protocols and decided that the movement of British troops toward Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 required a full-blown call up of the Massachusetts militias.
A Harvard graduate, a widower with four children, and an accomplished physician, Warren was at the center of the resistance to the British on all fronts, whether it required negotiations, propaganda, or preparations for the final rupture. Massachusetts was viewed, and not unreasonably, by many other colonists as a hotbed of hotheads, and Warren and other local leaders had to be careful not to get too far ahead of the parade.