Preface to the Third Edition|
When I moved to Concord in 1995, I learned as much as I could about Concord's extraordinary colonial, Revolutionary, literary, and natural heritage. I discovered that I had a great interest in these topics, perhaps partly because I am descended from at least three men who participated in the Revolutionary War. After passing an extensive exam, I became a Licensed Concord Guide. I volunteered at the Concord visitor information booth. And, after starting Concord Guides Walking Tours with others, I personally guided visitors from around the world through this rich and varied national treasure.
I was frequently asked if there was a good introductory guidebook to the history of the area, one that was accurate, readable, succinct, and affordable. There were volumes at both ends of the spectrum-from slim brochures to weighty academic tomes-but I knew of nothing in the middle, no comprehensive guidebook with the features visitors seemed to desire. With the sort of optimism and chutzpah that only a naive newcomer can muster I decided to combine my experience as a freelance writer with my curiosity about history and write the book myself. After several publishers rejected my proposal, I decided to publish the book myself. Suffice it to say, I made many mistakes. But with the help of Jim Steinmann of Minute Man Press in West Concord, who met my unreasonable requests with hard work and a smile, we printed the book by my self-imposed deadline of Patriots' Day 1998, with only hours to spare. Reactions to the first edition were generally positive, and we sold out in several months.
A few critics complained about what our short (sixty-four-page) book did not have. Why all the material on Lexington and Concord's roles in the How about more details on Boston? And how about Arlington, Acton, Cambridge, and the other towns along or near Battle Road? Hence, the second edition of April 1999 - which included not only chapters on Boston and other towns but also sections on Revolutionary contributions of often overlooked groups, namely women, blacks, and Native Americans. We also added more photos and tables. This new edition was well received and sold more widely than the first.
To produce the present third edition, I happily teamed up with Editions; its publisher, Webster Bull; and his staff. The entire n reedited and expanded to include chapters on events leading up to the American Revolution and Boston's Freedom Trail. To better portray the diversity of the Revolutionary effort, we also added chapters on the roles of children and Jews. And many new illustrations have been added, including both present-day photographs of historic sites and period illustrations demonstrating how each era has viewed the events of the Revolution through its own subjective lens.