Find Your Inner Bostonian on the Freedom Trail
Every American–by birth or by choice–is by some measure a Bostonian. The tides of history that shaped that city flow through us as our American birthright, whether deep in our hearts as that understood but unspoken patriotic bedrock of our country or through a more conscious choice to make the ideals of freedom that brought about revolution our own (whether or not you espouse the freedoms of the right or the left politically).
If you’re expecting a glossy, touristy book about the Boston Freedom Trail, you will be surprised. While it does have some pictures of each site along the Trail, as well as occasional watercolors, the photos recall to mind mostly small moments at these places. Some sites have the traditional, done-from-a-distance views, but most are surprisingly small and intimate looks at these famous places, perhaps just the head of a statue or the top of a church steeple or an unobtrusive corner of a building. Along with these photos, the author has given a couple-paragraph synopsis of the historical significance or description of the place.
While I am not a Bostonian, I did visit the city nearly 30 years ago and spent some time visiting the historic Trail. I was amazed at how this book transported me back. Before we even left home, I had done a significant amount of research about the history of what we would be seeing on each leg of our journey. But nothing prepared me for the emotional impact that actually walking the streets of American history would have on me. I wish I could remember the particular place on the Trail where I actually had to sit down and catch my breath because I was so overwhelmed with what Boston means American history and every American. As I looked at each picture and read the commentary in this book, I was struck not only by the history reflected by the sites on the Freedom Trail but also how it continues to grow, showing the impact of other non-Revolutionary war historical events and what they mean to the people of Boston. I would like to see the memorials to the Holocaust and the Irish famine; they were not there when I went.
If you enjoy American history, you will find this book’s narrowly focused look at a small part of Boston to be a treasure. Perhaps you, too, will find the beating heart of your inner Bostonian.