What Was The Boston Tea Party?

What Was The Boston Tea PartyWhat Was the Boston Tea Party? Written by Kathleen Krull. Illustrated by Lauren Mortimer. Cover illustration by James Bennett. Grosset & Dunlap, An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013. 128 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 8-12.  ISBN: 9780448462882.

I learned about the Boston Tea Party in elementary school many years ago. Now I only remember that a bunch of people in Boston got mad at the British and dumped a lot of tea in the Boston harbor.

In “What Was the Boston Tea Party?” one can almost hear the drumbeat of events starting at the end of the French and Indian War and leading to the Boston Tea Party. To begin with, the British, who had never levied direct taxes against the colonists, demanded the colonists pay for the French and Indian war and levied the Stamp Tax to collect payment. As soon as the Stamp Tax ended, due to universal protest among the colonists, the Townshend Acts passed. In order to keep the colonists in line, British troops were sent to Boston. However, this only enraged the colonists further.  British troops had previously only been used to protect the colonists, not police them. One event like this followed another. Kathleen Krull makes clear, by marching through each of these events, that the Boston Tea Party was inevitable. And the Boston Tea Party was, she says “one of the most powerful protests ever, rocking the world and in time leading to the birth of a whole new country.”

I thought the Boston Tea Party was a chaotic event. Not so! It was very well planned and well-orchestrated and it was quiet. It was also a nonviolent event and is thus significant to the nonviolent political movements that followed.

The book spends a bit of time after the Boston Tea Party explaining the events between the tea party, in 1773, and the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775.

In the middle of the book there are 16 pages of photographs and photos of paintings including portraits of leaders of the Revolutionary War and pictures that record well known events such as an engraving by Paul Revere of the Boston Massacre.

The illustrations are pen and ink with details that add to the story.

In the back of the book there is a timeline of the Boston Tea Party as well as a timeline of the world. There is a bibliography which includes both books and websites. Unfortunately, there is no index.

I am so glad to know the context of the Boston Tea Party. It enhances my appreciation of the generation of Americans that included our founding fathers.

 Nonfiction Monday


7 thoughts on “What Was The Boston Tea Party?

  1. One of my kids recently brought home a book from the school library called “The Boston Tea Party” by Steven Kroll – a title and an author’s name so similar to the book you describe that I had to double-check it wasn’t the same. The Boston Tea Party book you reviewed sounds quite interesting; wish they had more of these when I was a kid…

    • Indeed, Steven’s book is a nice picture book treatment of the same event–mine is a chapter book–& no, we are not related!

      Thank you again, Liz, for this kind review.

  2. One of my favorite biographies is Krull’s treatment of Marie Curie. 128 pages is just long enough, and the Boston Tea Party is certainly covered by our 8th grade curriculum. I will certainly pick this one up. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I would love to see an author include a note about the ways that the colonists dressed. The cover of Krull’s book shows a man wearing feathers and face paint, but that is not the way the colonists disguised themselves. They draped blankets on their shoulders and smudged their faces with ash from the hearth. From my research into it, there were no feathers or facepaint.

    I don’t have the book and am only able to see the first few pages using Amazon’s “peek inside” option. I’m looking at the page “Mohawk Indians.” The text reads “by 1765, the people of the thirteen colonies in America were puffed with pride. They were thriving an ocean away from Great Britain. They’d cleared forests, farmed the land, built homes. There were towns and cities. Colonists now outnumbered the original inhabitants, the American Indians, by twenty to one.”

    What does it say after that? I’d like to see the text be a bit more complete. It could, for example, say something about how the colonists had also burned towns and farms that belonged to members of Native Nations in that area. On one hand, it might take the book the author in a direction the author didn’t want to go to, but, I think we could make the argument that the “cleared forests, farmed the land, built homes” is a positive spin that could use a bit of balance.

    • Debbie, the section immediately following the paragraph you quoted is labeled “The Thirteen Colonies” and doesn’t talk any further about the Native Nations.

      There’s a nice description of the attire of the Tea Partiers. “…about 50 men, some crudely dressed as American Indians, appeared at the back of the Old South Meeting House… They’re costumes varied. Some looked vaguely like Mohawk or Narragansett Indians. The men carried axes and hatchets and wore wool blankets and maybe feathers from goose quills. They had smeared their faces with paint, burnt cork, charcoal, or soot from the fireplace.” On the opposite page there’s an inset entitled “Why Look like Fake Indians?” In that inset, Krull speculates about why some of the participants opted to dress as Indians. She also says: “We have no record of what real Indians thought of the rebels unconvincing disguises.” I hope this helps!

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