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About Christian McBurney

Christian McBurney is an independent historian who has authored the recently released Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island (History Press, 2014) and Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott (Westholme, 2014). He previously authored The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War (Westholme, 2011). He has authored a number of articles for the Rhode Island History and Newport History magazines and Pettaquamscutt Historical Society newsletter. For more information on these books and articles, see christianmcburney.com. He resides in the Washington, D.C. area, after being raised in Kingston, R.I., attending South Kingstown High School, and obtaining his undergraduate degree from Brown University. He frequently returns to Rhode Island to give book lectures and visit his family.
Latest Posts | By Christian McBurney
Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time: Counting Down from Number 10 to 6
2 years ago

Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time: Counting Down from Number 10 to 6

Here is my list of the greatest Rhode Islanders of all time, numbers ten to six. In my last two articles, I counted down from numbers twenty to eleven, and …
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Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time: Counting Down from Number 15 to 11
2 years ago

Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time: Counting Down from Number 15 to 11

Last week, I gave you my list of the top twenty greatest Rhode Islanders of all time, numbers twenty through sixteen (as well as my honorable mentions and five current …
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Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time:  Counting Down from Number 20 to 16
2 years ago

Top 20 Greatest Rhode Islanders of All Time: Counting Down from Number 20 to 16

This is the first article of four counting down my list of the top twenty greatest Rhode Islanders of all time. In this article, I present the greatest Rhode Islanders, …
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Verrazzano Visits the Narragansett Indians in 1524
2 years ago

Verrazzano Visits the Narragansett Indians in 1524

The earliest written descriptions of Indians in North America were by Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian mariner commissioned by the King of France in 1523 to discover whether Asia could …
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The Culper Spy Ring Was Not The First To Warn The French at Newport
2 years ago

The Culper Spy Ring Was Not The First To Warn The French at Newport

On July 10, 1780, a French fleet of seven ships of the line and four frigates under Admiral Chevalier de Ternay, along with thirty-six transport vessels carrying about 6,000 French …
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Jemima Wilkinson: the First American-Born Woman to Found a Religious Movement
2 years ago

Jemima Wilkinson: the First American-Born Woman to Found a Religious Movement

Rhode Island can claim as its own Jemima Wilkinson, an important religious prophet and utopian leader in early America. Recently, she has been highlighted in college U.S. history text books …
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Smallstatebighistory Interviews Bob Ryan of Wakefield Books
2 years ago

Smallstatebighistory Interviews Bob Ryan of Wakefield Books

[Editor’s note: Rhode Island’s independent bookstores have been loyal supporters of authors of Rhode Island state and local history books and their readers. This week we are pleased to interview …
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Top Ten Turning Points in Rhode Island’s History
3 years ago

Top Ten Turning Points in Rhode Island’s History

The following are my top ten turning points in the history of Rhode Island.  You may differ with some of my choices, but that is part of the fun.


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Father of “12 Years a Slave” Protagonist Hailed from North Kingstown
3 years ago

Father of “12 Years a Slave” Protagonist Hailed from North Kingstown

Rhode Island has many claims to fame.  It is unusual, however, to discover a new one.  With “12 Years a Slave” winning the 2013 Academy Award for best picture, its …
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