Lanning fills in many unknown details about the defiant fugitive slave who instigated and was the first victim of the Boston Massacre, blacks who fought with the Minutemen at Lexington, and Battle of Bunker Hill hero Peter Salem, who was introduced to General Washington as ``the man who shot [British commander] Pitcairn.'' Lanning identifies Salem as one of two black rebels painted by eyewitness John Trumbull, whose work hangs in the US Capitol rotunda. While many slaves, free men, and escapees enlisted, they were often relegated to noncombat roles or uncounted among those who fell on the battlefield. Many thousands of African-Americans, including sailors under John Paul Jones and some of the first marines, fought for a country that then took its time offering liberty to all. Some British loyalist units did promise freedom, and so an entire Ethiopian Regiment wore red coats. Bowing to pressure from southerners, Washington officially-opposed enlisting blacks, but Lanning documents that undermanned militias like Rhode Islands were the first to ignore this decree and ``to recruit an all-black battalion.