"A revisionist view of the Revolution's most crucial year...it explodes many of the myths surrounding Burgoyne's Canadian expedition and Howe's Pennsylvania campaign. There is a wealth of fascinating detail in this book, including information on arms and supplies, rations for women camp followers, and even the numbers of carts (30-odd) carrying Burgoyne's luggage." (History Book Club Newsletter)
"A revisionist view of the Revolution's most crucial year... it explodes many of the myths surrounding Burgoyne's Canadian expedition and Howe's Pennsylvania campaign. There is a wealth of fascinating detail in this book." (History Book Club Newsletter)
"Smooth and easy reading, enlivened by anecdotes (with which the author has a sure touch) and based on extensive research." (Journal of American History)
"A timely addition to the literature of the War of Independence, useful both to scholars and to general readers." (American Historical Review)
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I was surprised how good this one turned out to be. It was required in our grad school seminar recently and most of my friends in class enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes it is a discussion of history but often it sounds like dramatic historical fiction and packs a punch. Certainly the audio made the text itself sing and it was far more easy to understand the parts of the book that might have been over done a bit or just very sophisticated.
I found the character of Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne to be quite fascinating. How does a man with limited qualifications maneuver himself into a position of considerable power and then command the Northern Invasion of America from Canada? An eccentric, a gambler by instinct and a true product of the British Imperial system of that time.
I would say the character of the Narrator. He keeps many of the historical characters reigned in during the book which was sensible and this let me make up my own mind about who these people may have been and he does not use a British accent for the English characters, only sparingly at times with good effect. But the Narrator character is very sophisticated and driven and I liked him the most.
Burgoyne and Howe the 2 British Generals were quite funny at times, their arrogance was amusing. Washington's sense of irony and restraint ended up being quite funny. His recruitment of soldiers after the victory at Trenton when the Continentals were running out of men was moving and sad. The entire early campaign was frightening as it felt like the War was lost by the Americans on many separate occasions.
Its just me but I think almost every history piece is a bit over written and this book was no exception to that. One of the early chapters could have been cut and towards the end the author who was otherwise very excellent, repeats himself, but all and all this was a very original and sometimes moving account of the early days of the Revolution,- challenging, a fine choice by our Prof. because it was comprehensive, scholarly but also very engaging.
I am studying different perspectives on the American Revolution in grad school. This book was assigned to us, the teacher said the approach was original and he likes the author, a Southern gentleman, now deceased. Though the weight of the text supports the Americans, the writer is not shy about his critique of American generalship and strategy in the War, nor does he hesitate to lambast and expose the incompetent, the drunks and those that were cowardly or self serving on the American side. I found this refreshing and original and I tend to agree with some of the reviews I've read on Amazon on this.
Benedict Arnold. He has been painted with such a broad brush by History. I always suspected this was unfair. In fact, if this book is to be believed, Arnold was dynamic, passionate and daring and was regarded as one of Washington's finest Generals. This makes his betrayal of the cause in the later years of the Revolution all the more poignant and disillusioning.
There were many. The book is extensive and comprehensive. Washington at Valley Forge. Washington crossing the Delaware and moving on Trenton. Washington surprise attacking at Germantown. Daniel Morgan on the field at Freeman's Farm. Howe's letters to the Home Secretary Germaine. His idiotic decision to move his entire army by sea in the dead of summer. Details on battle tactics and strategy were excellent I thought.
Yes, very much.
The writer was keen and had a good wit. He takes a chapter or 2 to get going. Battle of Bunker Hill is interesting early but all the stuff about preparations for war from England may be unnecessary. He does lay a strong foundation, then all of a sudden you get lost in the story and some of the characters and really begin to get a feel for the period.