Recently, my studies have deviated from my normal field of the Napoleonic era to that of the American War for Independence. I have been reading two really great books on the subject, Hibbert's Redcoats and Rebels and W.J. Wood's Battles of the Revolutionary War. Though they may sound dry, both of these books have brought the conflict to life in a way I have never before experienced.
Redcoats and Rebels is a rather unconventional take on the subject as most books tend to be from American colonial perspective, rather patriotic volumes glorifying a war well fought. This book, however, is written from the perspective of the side that lost. Using almost exclusively English source documents, Hibbert is able to put together a view of the war through the eyes of the Lobster-backs. It brings a fresh approach to the conflict as it gives eyes to what King George and all his white wigged friends in Parliament and the military were doing while Washington and Adams had a war to win and a nation to forge.
Battles of the Revolutionary War takes a little more conventional approach, the typical "so and so moved his troops here, they did this and this happened" type of feel, though the delivery is almost Hollywood-ized in that it is presented in an almost theatric approach that makes the battles come to life.
The way I am reading them helps out as well. I will read in Redcoats and Rebels until I reach a battle. Then I will read the account of the battle first in Battles of the Revolutionary War, then in R&R. using the two together sheds light on the war in a way that almost makes you want to sign the enlistment papers outside your local tavern. They both discuss the follies and strengths of the leaders involved but do so from a boots in the mud perspective gathering direct info from the diaries of soldiers that were there. This flesh and blood, smoke and powder feel make these both a must read for anyone interested in the war.
My next post will deal with the Battle of Bunker Hill...there are some pretty interesting turns of events that made this almost sure victory into the noteworthy first near defeat the British had of the War.
Purchase Redcoats and Rebels
Purchase Battles of the Revolutionary War