A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763 - 1789

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9780882952390: A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763 - 1789

When the first edition of this highly successful volume appeared in 1982, the proponents of the “new” military history were just gaining full momentum. Their objective was to reach beyond the traditional focus of military studies—the flow of guns, combat, and tactics that influenced the immediate outcome of battles and martial conflicts, often with little reference to broader historical contexts.

Believing that one cannot fully appreciate the Revolution without reckoning with the War for Independence and its effects in helping to shape the new American republic, Martin and Lender move beyond the deeply ingrained national mythology about the essence of the war effort, so neatly personified by the imagery of the embattled freehold farmer as the quintessential warrior of the Revolution. Then they integrate, not persist in keeping separate, the fascinating history of the real Continental army into the mainstream of writing about the nation-making experience of the United States.

In the process of revising their now-classic text, Martin and Lender drew on their own work as well as the invaluable outpouring of new scholarship over the last two decades. Wherever necessary, they questioned previous arguments and conclusions to render a meaningful new edition that is certain to receive the same kind of positive reception—and widespread acceptance—that its predecessor enjoyed.

Also new to the second edition is a bank of illustrations, a Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography, and a fully revamped Bibliographical Essay, making A Respectable Armyessential reading for anyone enrolled in the U.S. survey or specialized courses in colonial or military history or the American Revolution.

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About the Author:

James Kirby Martin is Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Houston and is the author of many books, including the award-winning Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered.

Mark Edward Lender is Professor of History and Chairman of the History Department a Kean University. He has written widely on early American military and social history, and his books include the award-winning Citizen Soldier: The Revolutionary War Journal of Joseph Bloomfield and Drinking in America: A History (both with James Kirby Martin).

Review:

Praise for the first edition:

"A Respectable Army is an important book for several reasons. It reminds one once again of Washington's contributions to the nation in the 'new modeling' of the army and more particularly in the establishment of a tradition of civil over military authority. It rejects the historical mythology of a patriotic soldiery and demonstrates that, ironically, it was the unpriveleged classes who fought to preserve the liberties of all citizens. Finally, it compresses the 'new' military history into a compact, readable volume and thereby makes current scholarship accessible to a wide audience." (The North Carolina Historical Review, 1983)

"Clear in organization and style... Provocative reading, it should especially appeal to instructors anxious to engender classroom discussion." (The History Teacher, Spring 1983)

"[James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender] have done their job well. Founded on a close reading of the most recent litrerature, A Respectable Army offers a cogent narrative of the social, political, and intellectual developments that shaped the Revolutionary military establishment as well as a fair-minded assessment of current historiographical controversies." (Journal of Southern History, February 1984)

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