When writing a book, one of the most important initial aspects is picking a title. The author needs one that is expressive, attracts attention, but has some overall tie-in that provides a fitting capture of the essence of the book.
One of the advantages of writing history is the use of quotes. Let the participants, combatants, or witnesses of the event provide the context for a title. When one resonates, go with it!
With the recent publication, the co-author, Robert Orrison and myself bounced various potential titles off each other. Then we had a list of our favorites included in the initial information sheet sent to Ted Savas, of Savas Beatie, LLC, the publisher. Yet, one continued to stand out, as it was written in a diary by a British junior officer slightly more than a month before the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
The entire inscription is below:
“It is certain both sides were ripe for it, and a single blow would have occasioned the commencement of hostilities.” —Lieutenant Frederick Mackenzie, Royal Welch Fusiliers, March 6, 1775.
Mackenzie’s uncanny foresight predicted the exact outcome of the fighting that erupted on April 19, 1775. With casualties suffered by both sides, the war of words and near-misses became a war of shot and shell.
Hostilities had commenced and we had a title. A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the The Beginning of the American Revolution.