by Jeffrey H. Hacker
University of Massachusetts Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-62534-575-2 | eISBN: 978-1-61376-831-0 | Paper: 978-1-62534-574-5
Library of Congress Classification E302.6.O8H33 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.30922

As a firebrand attorney and political agitator, James Otis Jr. helped to shape colonial resistance in the decades leading up to the American Revolution, establishing individual rights and "no taxation without representation" as cornerstones of the patriot cause. After his violent coffeehouse altercation and bouts with mental illness, his younger sister, Mercy Otis Warren, took up his cause. Her incendiary plays and poems rallied colonial opinion in the lead-up to the war, and her chronicle of the period established her as America's first female historian.

Minds and Hearts is the dual biography of these remarkable siblings, placing James and Mercy in the spotlight together for the first time, amid the rush of events, competing ideologies, and changing social conditions of eighteenth-century America. Jeffrey H. Hacker crafts a compelling narrative that focuses on the Otises' unique and dramatic relationship and traces their impact on the Revolutionary movement in Massachusetts. If the real American Revolution took place "in the minds and hearts of the people," as John Adams claimed, then the Otises were among the nation's true patriots.