Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought

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9780060732622: Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought

Michael Stephenson's Patriot Battles is a comprehensive and richly detailed study of the military aspects of the War of Independence, and a fascinating look at the nuts and bolts of eighteenth-century combat. Covering everything from what motivated those who chose to fight to how they were enlisted, trained, clothed, and fed, it offers a close-up view of the war's greatest battles, with maps provided for each. Along the way many cherished myths are challenged, reputations are reassessed, and long-held assumptions are tested.

One of the most satisfying and illuminating contributions to the literature on the War of Independence in many years, Patriot Battles is a vastly entertaining work of superior scholarship and a refreshing wind blowing through some of American history's dustier corridors.

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About the Author:

Michael Stephenson is the former editor of the Military Book Club and the editor of National Geographic's Battlegrounds: Geography and the History of Warfare. He lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

A former editor of the Military Book Club, Stephenson (Battlegrounds) aims to strip away "the slow accretion of national mythology and popular history" that has "embalmed" the American Revolution. The result is a well-documented, entertaining and mildly revisionist military history in two parts. In the first, Stephenson examines "The Nuts and Bolts of War," answering basic questions about who fought, how and why. He concludes, unsurprisingly, that "the war was not revolutionary in any military sense." What's intriguing is how similar the American and British armies were—Stephenson notes that for each, "It was like gazing into a mirror." To analyze prosaic details like supply and transport, weapons and medical care, the author uses an array of statistics and technical data—muzzle velocities, shot weights, equipment lists, etc.—but wisely leavens them with anecdotes. In part two, Stephenson turns to an analysis of the major battles of the war, from the opening skirmishes at Lexington and Concord to the climactic showdown at Yorktown, and concludes that the Continental Army's victory was always predicated on its numerical superiority. This excellent popular history should attract a wide audience with its fresh perspective. 16 maps. (Apr.)
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