With Zeal and with Bayonets Only

  • by Matthew H. Spring
  • Narrated by John Skinner
  • 13 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The image is indelible: densely packed lines of slow-moving Redcoats picked off by American sharpshooters. Now Matthew H. Spring reveals how British infantry in the American Revolutionary War really fought.
This groundbreaking audiobook offers a new analysis of the British Army during the “American rebellion” at both operational and tactical levels. Presenting fresh insights into the speed of British tactical movements, Spring discloses how the system for training the army prior to 1775 was overhauled and adapted to the peculiar conditions confronting it in North America.
First scrutinizing such operational problems as logistics, manpower shortages, and poor intelligence, Spring then focuses on battlefield tactics to examine how troops marched to the battlefield, deployed, advanced, and fought. In particular, he documents the use of turning movements, the loosening of formations, and a reliance on bayonet-oriented shock tactics, and he also highlights the army's ability to tailor its tactical methods to local conditions.
Written with flair and a wealth of details that will engage scholars and history enthusiasts alike, With Zeal and with Bayonets Only offers a thorough reinterpretation of how the British Army's North American campaign progressed and invites serious reassessment of most of its battles.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful book! Terrible editing and narration.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, because this is a seminal book in understanding the actual functioning of the British army on campaign in North America during the revolutionary war. Excellent use of first person accounts. Some of the material is dense but it's written clearly. Unfortunately, the narrator was not up to the task of bringing this fascinating account to live. I urge the potential listener to persevere, the content is worth it.


What was one of the most memorable moments of With Zeal and with Bayonets Only?

There is no single memorable moment. Overall however, Matthew Spring smashes long-held (and erroneous) beliefs about how the British Army conducted warfare when on campaign during the Revolutionary War. The opening chapters and the contemporary accounts cited liberally throughout the book help the reader understand strategy and tactics employed by the British army, how the army adapted to warfare on the North American continent, and why suppression of the revolution was a doomed enterprise from the outset. I might add, that to me at least, there appear to be obvious parallels between the British strategy and tactics, the rebel response, the geographical and physical context of the war, and the US prosecution of the war in Vietnam.


How could the performance have been better?

This book deserves a better narrator. Non-fiction history requires oral reading skills that the narrator does not possess. The major flaw with this performance is that about the beginning of Chapter Nine (a couple of hours into the second download) the Editors were asleep at the wheel. As a result, the listener will hear 30-45 minutes of the narrator stopping, starting, repeating words and phrases, stumbling over names, trying several different inflections, clearing his throat, making side comments, and the like. It's clear that either no one at the production company listened to the whole book, or they mistakenly uploaded the wrong version. I simply had to skip much of that chapter. Were I the author, I'd be foaming at the mouth.


If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes, and it would be an interesting movie too!


Any additional comments?

I've notified Audible about the problems with Chapter Nine, but have not heard back from them. I hope they will put up a properly edited version soon!

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- John

they recorded the guy while he was practicing!

great book, but in chapter 13 or 14 you cab hear the narrator messing up, and rereading part of the chapter lol
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- jesse

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-02-2014
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks