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Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party,…
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Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of…

by Samuel A. Forman

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This freshman offering from Dr. Samuel Forman was enjoyable and extremely informative. Knowing that the book's subject, Dr. Joseph Warren, died at a young age, I was surprised by the length of this book. I had actually joked to my wife that I have read shorter books on more accomplished men; but that was before I opened the front cover and began reading Dr. Warren's captivating story.

An unassuming author, Samuel Forman, writes with a passion but an honesty as not to promote the Revolutionary War patriot to something more than an honorable man. Drs Forman and Warren have similarities which lend to the heartfelt sharing of Joseph Warren's illustrious contributions to America.

Both being doctors, Dr. Forman, revels in a long chapter discussing and explaining the eighteenth century physician's practice and medicinal options. In addition, making this book more than a simple biography, Dr. Forman reconstructs Dr. Warren's log books and financial records, uncovering a stealthy way of consorting with other Patriots.

Dr. Forman also served America in our navy and apparently is a Revolutionary War reenactor. Dr. Warren forewent his medical practice - or even a safer post in the medical corps - to become a field officer, thus leading to his death in one of the first battles.

Understanding this is Samuel Forman's first biography (not sure if he has authored any other books), it is easy to overlook the change in writing styles in this book. The book begins by reading as a transcript of a PBS or BBC documentary. This approach lends to understanding the reverence Dr. Forman gives to the revolutionary era doctor, as well as the respected experts in particular fields Dr. Forman consulted.

A few chapters later, the book is written in a typical, scholarly biographical fashion. It is substantially completed with excerpts and quotes from those who knew him, as well as from Joseph Warren himself. The author makes no attempt to inflate his status as a novice biographer by virtue of prefacing his inferences or understandings as just being either, respectively. Due to Dr. Warren's lack of letters, documentation, or correspondence, much is left to infer and piece together like a jigsaw puzzle which is missing two-thirds of its pieces.

Just as the book became tedious, the author re-ignites interest in the book with his third writing style, a fictionalized account of Dr. Warren's dispatching of Paul Revere on his midnight ride. Chapter 15 was a fast paced, imaginary account of the fateful night which began the Revolutionary War. I would easily purchase any fiction (historical or otherwise) from Dr. Forman.

The prolific pens of other Founding Fathers make recounting their lives much easier than learning all of the accomplishments of a burgeoning politician, Mason, physician and patriot, Dr. Joseph Warren. A large amount of personally scribed papers by Dr. Warren has been lost due to numerous reasons in the ensuing centuries; this left a massive amount of work for future biographers to undergo to complete his story. Therefore, Dr. Forman describes his book as an exercise in forensics rather than a clear-cut biography.

Five appendices make this book an authoritative tome about the life of the doctor who initiated (but never saw their fulfillment) the creation of both Harvard's Medical School and Massachusetts Medical Association, as well as his legacy.

Despite offering his own opinion, Dr. Forman, leaves the ultimate decision to the reader Joseph Warren's full potential in politics had he not been assassinated on Bunker Hill. ( )
  HistReader | Dec 19, 2011 |
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