Military History

Revolutions & Rebellions

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    Two hundred and forty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States, the story of how America overthrew the British is as meaningful today as it was when the ink was still wet on the document. There are lavishly illustrated accounts of every major military action, many supported by maps, with comprehensive timelines for every stage of the Revolutionary War. Including revealing first-person accounts by soldiers and civilians. And features on broader topics such as the treatment of prisoners, and what the wars meant for women, Native Americans and African Americans. The American War of Independence: A Visual History brings the drama of the Revolutionary War to life with DK's unique visual approach and compelling narrative.
    Todd Andrlik
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    The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2016, presents the journal's best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution studies. The forty-five articles in the 2016 edition include: "Why Did George Washington Become a Revolutionary?" by Ray Raphael; "Governor Franklin Makes His Move" by Thomas Fleming; "Enlisting Lasses: Women Who Aspired to be Soldiers" by Don N.Hagist; "Tides and Tonnage: A Different Take on the Boston Tea Party" by Hugh T. Harrington; "How Was the Revolutionary War Paid For" by John L. Smith, Jr.; "Murder Along the Creek: Taking a Closer Look at the Sugarloaf Massacre" by Thomas Verenna; "The Loyalist Refugee Experience in Canada" by Alexander Cain; "Lafayette's Second Voyage to America" by Kim Burdick; "How Paul Revere's Ride was Published and Censored in 1775" by Todd Andrlik; "A Melancholy Accident: The Disastrous Explosion at Charleston" by Joshua Shepherd; "A Spy Wins a Purple Heart" by Todd Braisted; "Faking It: British Counterfeiting During the American Revolution" by Stuart Hatfield.
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    The American Revolution was neither inevitable nor a unanimous cause. It pitted neighbours against each other, as loyalists and colonial rebels faced off for their lives and futures. These were the times that tried men's souls: no one was on stable ground and few could be trusted. Through the fascinating tales of the first Americans, Legends and Lies: The Patriots reveals the contentious arguments that turned friends into foes and the country into a warzone. From the riots over a child's murder that led to the Boston Massacre to the suspicious return of Ben Franklin, the First American;" from the Continental Army's first victory under George Washington's leadership to the little known southern Guerrilla campaign of "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion, and the celebration of America's first Christmas, The Patriots recreates the amazing combination of resourcefulness, perseverance, strategy, and luck that led to this country's creation. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that brings this important history to vivid life, and told in the same fast- paced, immersive narrative as the first Legends and Lies, The Patriots is an irresistible, adventure packed journey back into one of the most storied moments of America's nation's rich history.
    Harlow Giles Unger
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    Before Washington, before Jefferson, before Franklin or John Adams, there was Lee--Richard Henry Lee, the First Founding Father.Richard Henry Lee was the first to call for independence, and the first to call for union. He was "father of our country" as much as George Washington, securing the necessary political and diplomatic victories in the Revolutionary War. Lee played a critical role in holding the colonial government together, declaring the nation's independence, and ensuring victory for the Continental Army by securing the first shipments of French arms to American troops. Next to Washington, Lee was arguably the most important American leader in the war against the British.Drawing on original manuscripts--many overlooked or ignored by contemporary historians--Unger paints a powerful portrait of a towering figure in the American Revolution.
    Paul Staiti
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    A vibrant and original perspective on the American Revolution through the stories of the five great artists whose paintings animated the new American republic. The images accompanying the founding of the United States--of honored Founders, dramatic battle scenes, and seminal moments--gave visual shape to Revolutionary events and symbolized an entirely new concept of leadership and government. Since then they have endured as indispensable icons, serving as historical documents and timeless reminders of the nation's unprecedented beginnings. As Paul Staiti reveals in Of Arms and Artists, the lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted, and their works contributed mightily to America's founding spirit. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases, the results often eliciting awe and praise, and sometimes scorn. Ever since the passing of the last eyewitnesses to the Revolution, their imagery has connected Americans to 1776, allowing us to interpret and reinterpret the nation's beginning generation after generation. The collective stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.
    Tim Voelcker
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    Captain Broke's victory in 1813 over Captain Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, which was to have far reaching influence on the future of North America, did much to restore the morale of the Royal Navy, shattered by three successive defeats in single-ship duels with US frigates, and stunned the American nation which had come to expect success. 2013 sees the bicentenary of the battle and this new book seeks to reverse the neglect shown by most modern historians of one of Britain's finest frigate captains, who by his skill, determination and leadership won one of the bloodiest naval duels the world has seen. Even now both Britain and the USA claim to have won the war but only Canada, the third country heavily involved, can fully claim to have done so, for the peace that followed established her as an independent nation. Leading historians from all three countries have joined to give their sometimes conflicting views on different aspects in a way to interest and entertain general readers, as well as challenge academics. It is a tale of political and military blunders, courage and cowardice in battle, a bloody ship-to-ship fight, and technical innovation in the hitherto crude methods of naval gunnery. It also tells the human story of Broke's determination to achieve victory so he could return to his wife and children after seven lonely years at sea. The near-fatal wound Broke received in hand-to-hand fighting as he boarded the Chesapeake meant that he never served again at sea, but his work on naval gunnery, paid for out of his own pocket, transformed Admiralty thinking and led to the establishment of the British naval school of gunnery, HMS Excellent. This Bicentenary year of his victory is timely for an up-to-date, wide-ranging work incorporating the latest thinking; this is the book.
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    Between the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773-a period historians refer to as "the lull"-a group of prominent Rhode Islanders rowed out to His Majesty's schooner Gaspee,which had run aground six miles south of Providence while on an anti-smuggling patrol. After threatening and shooting its commanding officer, the raiders looted the vessel and burned it to the waterline. Despite colony-wide sympathy for the June 1772 raid, neither the government in Providence nor authorities in London could let this pass without a response. As a result, a Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by Rhode Island governor Joseph Wanton zealously investigated the incident. In The Burning of His Majesty's Schooner Gaspee: An Attack on Crown Rule Before the American Revolution, historian Steven Park reveals that what started out as a customs battle over the seizure of a prominent citizen's rum was soon transformed into the spark that re-ignited Patriot fervor. The significance of the raid was underscored by a fiery Thanksgiving Day sermon given by a little-known Baptist minister in Boston. His inflammatory message was reprinted in several colonies and was one of the most successful pamphlets of the pre-Independence period. The commission turned out to be essentially a sham and made the administration in London look weak and ineffective. In the wake of the Gaspee affair, Committees of Correspondence soon formed in all but one of the original thirteen colonies, and later East India Company tea would be defiantly dumped into Boston Harbor.
    Sam Willis
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    "For the first time, Sam Willis offers a fascinating naval perspective to one of the greatest of all historical conundrums: How did thirteen isolated colonies, who, in 1775 began a war with Britain without a navy or an army, win their independence from the greatest naval and military power on earth? The American Revolution was a naval war of immense scope and variety, including no less than twenty-two navies fighting on five oceans - to say nothing of rivers and lakes. In no other war were so many large-scale fleet battles fought, one of which was the most strategically significant naval battle in all of British, French and American history. Simultaneous naval campaigns were fought in the English Channel, the North and Mid-Atlantic, the Mediterranean, off South Africa, in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the North Sea and, of course, off the Eastern Seaboard of America. Not until the Second World War would any nation actively fight in so many different theatres. In The Struggle for Sea Power, Sam Willis traces every key military event in the path to American Independence from a naval perspective and he also brings this important viewpoint to bear on economic, political and social developments that were fundamental to the success of the Revolution. In doing so Willis offers valuable new insights to American, British, French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian history. The result is a far more profound understanding of the influence of sea power upon history, of the American path to independence and of the rise and fall of the British Empire."
    Michael Harris
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    Brandywine Creek meanders through the Pennsylvania countryside, but on September 11, 1777, it served as the scenic backdrop for the largest battle of the American Revolution, one that encompassed more troops over more land than any combat fought on American soil until the Civil War. Overshadowed by the stunning American victory at Saratoga, the British campaign that defeated George Washington's colonial army and led to the capture of the capital city of Philadelphia was one of the most important military events of the war. Michael C. Harris's impressive Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777, is the first full-length study of this pivotal engagement based upon primary source materials and a complete understanding of the battlefield's topography. General Sir William Howe launched his campaign in late July 1777, when he loaded his army of 16,500 British and Hessian soldiers aboard a 265-ship armada in New York and set sail. Six difficult weeks later Howe's expedition landed near Elkton, Maryland, and moved north into Pennsylvania. Washington's rebel army harassed Howe's men at several locations, including a sharp skirmish at Cooch's Bridge in Delaware on September 3. Another week of hit-and-run tactics followed until Howe was within three miles of Chads's Ford on Brandywine Creek, behind which Washington had posted his army in strategic blocking positions along a six-mile front. The young colonial capital of Philadelphia was just 25 miles to the east. General Howe initiated his plan of attack at 5:00 a.m. on September 11. Obscured by darkness and a heavy morning fog, he pushed against the American center at Chads's Ford with part of his army while the bulk of his command marched north around Washington's exposed right flank to deliver his coup de main, destroy the colonials, and march on Philadelphia. Warned of Howe's flanking attack at the last moment, American generals turned their divisions to face the threat. The bitter fighting on Birmingham Hill drove the Americans from the field, but their heroic defensive stand saved Washington's army and proved that the nascent Continental foot soldiers could stand toe-to-toe with their foe. Although more fighting followed, Philadelphia was doomed and fell on September 26. Harris's Brandywine is the first complete study to merge the strategic, political, and tactical history of this complex operation and important set-piece battle into a single compelling account. Nearly a decade in the making, his sweeping prose relies almost exclusively upon original archival research and his personal knowledge of the terrain. Enhanced with original maps, illustrations, and modern photos, and told largely through the words of those who fought there, Brandywine will take its place as one of the most important military studies of the American Revolution ever written.
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    The documents that made the United States the country it is Collected in this volume are some of the most significant documents and writings that helped lay the foundation of the United States of America and shape this country into the great democracy we know today. Included are the Constitution of the United States, The Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and much more. This elegantly designed clothbound edition features an elastic closure and a new introduction by Andrew Trees.
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    Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the logical force of the Declaration facilitated the survival of a nation. The Ultimate Guide to the Declaration of Independence explains the document more thoroughly than any book previously published. With the aid of colorized step-by-step diagrams, the authors deconstruct Jefferson's masterpiece into the six elements of a proposition to demonstrate how the scientific method is basic to its structure. David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften, the critically acclaimed authors of Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, are the first to discover and demonstrate Jefferson's use of the six elements of a proposition. Hirsch and Van Haften diagram and explain how six-element structure helped Jefferson organize and compose the Declaration. The result is a much deeper and richer understanding and appreciation of the Declaration that was not previously possible. This concise full-color examination of one of our nation's most treasured and important documents is perfect for all ages and especially for those interested in history, the use of language, and logic.
    Rene Chartrand
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    Though primarily fought in the field, the American Revolution saw fortifications play an important part in some of the key campaigns of the war. Field fortifications were developed around major towns including Boston, New York and Savannah, while the frontier forts at Stanwix, Niagara and Cumberland were to all be touched by the war. This book details all the types of fortification used throughout the conflict, the engineers on all sides who constructed and maintained them, and the actions fought around and over them.
    Andrew O'Shaughnessy
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    The loss of America in 1781 has traditionally been blamed on incompetent British military commanders and political leaders whose arrogant confidence and out-dated tactics were no match for the innovative and determined Americans. But this is far from the truth. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent characters, including King George III, Prime Minister Lord North, General Burgoyne, and the Earl of Sandwich, Andrew O'Shaughnessy demolishes the myths, emerging with a very different and much richer account of the conflict - one driven by able and even brilliant leadership.
    David Smith
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    As the American Revolution continued, the British refocused their fight on the southern colonies in the hopes of triggering an outbreak of loyalism that would sweep the rebels aside. Under Sir Henry Clinton they captured Savannah at the end of 1778, and Charleston in May 1780, with Lord Cornwallis being left in command with just 8,500 men under him. Too thinly spread to guard the 15,000 square miles he was responsible for, Cornwallis went on the offensive, invading North Carolina and using Camden as a launch pad. This new history reveals how Cornwallis was able to use his aggressive strategy to great effect and how the overconfidence of the re-formed American forces under Horatio Gates was to result in a shocking defeat on the night of 15 August 1780 - a defeat that would allow Cornwallis to push deep into North Carolina the following year, where he would only be stopped by the American victory at Yorktown.
    Carl Lane
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    When President James Monroe announced in his 1824 message to Congress that, barring an emergency, the large public debt inherited from the War for Independence, the Louisiana Purchase, and the War of 1812 would be extinguished on January 1, 1835, Congress responded by crafting legislation to transform that prediction into reality. Yet John Quincy Adams,Monroe's successor, seemed not to share the commitment to debt freedom, resulting in the rise of opposition to his administration and his defeat for reelection in the bitter presidential campaign of 1828. The new president, Andrew Jackson, was thoroughly committed to debt freedom, and when it was achieved, it became the only time in American history when the nation carried no national debt. In A Nation Wholly Free: The Elimination of the National Debt in the Age of Jackson, award-winning economic historian Carl Lane shows that the great and disparate issues that confronted Jackson, such as internal improvements, the "war" against the Second Bank of the United States, and the crisis surrounding South Carolina's refusal to pay federal tariffs, become unified when debt freedom is understood as a core element of Jacksonian Democracy. The era of debt freedom lasted only two years and ten months. As the government accumulated a surplus, a fully developed opposition party emerged-the beginning of our familiar two-party system-over rancouring about how to allocate the new-found money. Not only did government move into an oppositional party system at this time, the debate about the size and role of government distinguished the parties in a pattern that has become familiar to Americans. The partisan debate over national debt and expenditures led to poorly thought out legislation, forcing the government to resume borrowing. As a result, after Jackson left office in 1837, the country fell into a major depression. Today we confront a debt that exceeds $17 trillion. Indeed, we have been borrowing ever since that brief time we freed ourselves from an oversized debt. A thoughtful, engaging account with strong relevancy to today, A Nation Wholly Free is the fascinating story of an achievement that now seems fanciful.
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    Based on contemporary records and paintings, this book identifies each cavalry and infantry regiment and illustrates changes in uniforms, their facing colours and the nature and shape of lace worn by officers, NCOs and private soldiers from 1751 to 1783. Regiments that served in the American War of Independence are noted and the book includes more than 200 full-colour plates of uniforms and distinctions. Divided into four sections, it not only details the cavalry and infantry uniforms of the period but also the tartans of the Highland regiments, some of which were short-lived, and the distinction of the Guards' regiments.
    David Smith (University of Che
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    General William Howe was the commander-in-chief of the British forces during the early campaigns of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Howe evoked passionate reactions in the people he worked with - his men loved him, his second-in-command detested him, his enemies feared him, his political masters despaired of him. There was even a plot to murder him, in which British officers as well as Americans were implicated. Howe's story includes intrigue, romance and betrayal, played out on the battlefields of North America and concluding in a courtroom at the House of Commons, where Howe defended his decisions with his reputation and possibly his life on the line. The inquiry, complete with witness testimonies and savage debate between the bitterly divided factions of the British Parliament, gives Howe's story the flavour of a courtroom drama. Using extensive research and recent archival discoveries, this book tells the thrilling story of the man who always seemed to be on the verge of winning the American Revolutionary War for Britain, only to repeatedly fail to deliver the final blow.
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    Ideologically defined by the colonists' formal Declaration of Independence in 1776, the struggle has taken on something a mythic character, especially in the United States. From the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere's ride to raise the countryside of New England against the march of the Redcoats; from the heroic resistance of the militia Minutemen at the battles of Lexington and Concord to the famous crossing of the Delaware by General George Washington; and from the American travails of Bunker Hill (1775) to the final humiliation of the British at Yorktown (1781), the entire contest is now emblematic of American national identity. Stephen Conway shows that, beyond mythology, this was more than just a local conflict: rather a titanic struggle between France and Britain. The thirteen colonies were merely one frontline of an extended theatre of operations, with each superpower aiming to deliver the knockout blow. This bold new history recognizes the war as the Revolution but situates it on the wider, global canvas of European warfare.
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    The Founding Fathers Reconsidered is a concise, accessible overview of the brilliant, flawed, and quarrelsome group of lawyers, politicians, merchants, military men, and clergy known as "the Founding Fathers"-who got as close to the ideal of the Platonic "philosopher-kings" as American or world history has ever seen. R. B. Bernstein reveals Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and the other founders not as shining demigods but as imperfect human beings-people much like us-who nevertheless achieved political greatness. They emerge here as men who sought to transcend their intellectual world even as they were bound by its limits, men who strove to lead the new nation even as they had to defer to the great body of the people and learn with them the possibilities and limitations of politics. Bernstein deftly traces the dynamic forces that molded these men and their contemporaries as British colonists in North America and as intellectual citizens of the Atlantic civilization's Age of Enlightenment. He analyzes the American Revolution, the framing and adoption of state and federal constitutions, and the key concepts and problems that both shaped and circumscribed the founders' achievements as the United States sought its place in the world. Finally, he charts the shifting reputations of the founders and examines the specific ways that interpreters of the Constitution have used the Founding Fathers. A masterly blend of old and new scholarship, brimming with apt description and insightful analysis, this book offers a digestible account of how the Founding Fathers were formed, what they did, and how generations of Americans have viewed them.
    Peter Snow
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    As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. Shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political History Book of the Year Award 2014. In August 1814 the United States' army is defeated in battle by an invading force just outside Washington DC. The US president and his wife have just enough time to pack their belongings and escape from the White House before the enemy enters. The invaders tuck into the dinner they find still sitting on the dining-room table and then set fire to the place. 9/11 was not the first time the heartland of the United States was struck a devastating blow by outsiders. Two centuries earlier, Britain - now America's close friend, then its bitterest enemy - set Washington ablaze before turning its sights to Baltimore. In his compelling narrative style, Peter Snow recounts the fast-changing fortunes of both sides of this extraordinary confrontation, the outcome of which inspired the writing of the 'Star-Spangled Banner', America's national anthem. Using a wealth of material including eyewitness accounts, he also describes the colourful personalities on both sides of these spectacular events: Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, the cautious but immensely popular army commander Robert Ross, and sharp-eyed diarists James Scott and George Gleig. On the American side: beleaguered President James Madison, whose young nation is fighting the world's foremost military power, his wife Dolley, a model of courage and determination, military heroes such as Joshua Barney and Sam Smith, and flawed incompetents like Army Chief William Winder and War Secretary John Armstrong. When Britain Burned the White House highlights this unparalleled moment in American history, its far-reaching consequences for both sides and Britain's and America's decision never again to fight each other.
    Robert A. Mayers
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    In 1775, the first year of the American Revolution, Congress made an appeal for troops. The resulting army of citizen-soldiers began what for many would be more than five years of battle and deprivation. Their consolation, however, was that they would ultimately defeat the most powerful army of the age. John Allison, a New York farmer,answered the call to arms in 1775, joining the Continental Army's 3rd New York Infantry. Allison was surrounded by like-minded volunteers, yet all were equally unprepared for campaigning. Despite the lack of training, equipment, and clothing, Allison and the rest of his company found themselves marching toward Quebec in the winter of 1775-76 as part of the unsuccessful American invasion of Canada. So begins the remarkable story of the wartime experiences of an average soldier of the American Revolution. Using letters, muster rolls, orderly books, service records, and oral family history, Robert A. Mayers reconstructs the campaign life of John Allison from the freezing Canadian wilderness, through the battle of Fort Montgomery and the Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Iroquois, to the bitter winter at Morristown, New Jersey, and the decisive American victory at Yorktown, Virginia. During Allison's eight-year military career, he survived numerous skirmishes and battles across the colonies, was promoted to the rank of corporal, and returned home a local hero. The War Man: The True Story of a Citizen-Soldier Who Fought From Quebec to Yorktown is a unique opportunity to follow the entire course of the American Revolution through the eyes of a front-line volunteer.
    Gerald Horne
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    The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then living in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with the British. In this trailblazing book, Gerald Horne shows that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt. Prior to 1776, anti-slavery sentiments were deepening throughout Britain and in the Caribbean, rebellious Africans were in revolt. For European colonists in America, the major threat to their security was a foreign invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. It was a real and threatening possibility that London would impose abolition throughout the colonies-a possibility the founding fathers feared would bring slave rebellions to their shores. To forestall it, they went to war. The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their right to enslave others. The Counter-Revolution of 1776 brings us to a radical new understanding of the traditional heroic creation myth of the United States.
    Alan Taylor
    • £30.00
    Often understood as a high-minded, orderly event, the American Revolution grows in this masterful history like a ground fire overspreading Britain's mainland colonies, fuelled by local conditions and resistant to control. Emerging from the rivalries of European empires and their allies, the revolution pivoted on western expansion as well as resistance to new British taxes. In the seaboard cities, leading Patriots mobilised popular support by summoning crowds to harass opponents. Along the frontier, the war often featured guerrilla violence that persisted long after the peace treaty. The smouldering discord called forth a movement to consolidate power in a Federal Constitution but it was Jefferson's "empire of liberty" that carried the Revolution forward. This magisterial history reveals the American Revolution in its time, free of wishful hindsight.
    Scott Martin
    • £14.99
    In 1778 Great Britain launched a second invasion of the southern colonies as part of the "southern strategy" for victory in the American Revolutionary War. A force of 3,000 British soldiers, Hessians and Loyalists was dispatched from New York City to capture Savannah, capital of the State of Georgia. The city fell in December 1778, and became a base for British operations in the southern colonies. Desperate to regain one of the most important southern cities, Continental troops under General Benjamin Lincoln joined forces with a French naval expedition under the Admiral Charles-Henri d'Estaing in an an all-out assault on the British fortified positions protecting Savannah. This fully illustrated study examines the costly French and Patriot attempts to retake Savannah. Replete with stunning artwork and specially commissioned maps, this is the complete story of one of the bloodiest campaigns of the American Revolutionary War.