Editorial: Fourth of July Remembrance: American Revolution Books
The Wargamer staff, in remembrance and celebration of the Fourth of July, would like to recommend a few book titles to check out to get into the mood of the American Revolution.
July 4th is a time that we light up the bar-b-que, crack open the coolers and watch fireworks explode in the night sky. American flags are adorned at every possible fixture, from flagpoles in our front yards to the little plastic ones that fly from our car’s antennas. Americans celebrate this holiday because in 1776 our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, separating the colonies from Great Britain. The war of American Independence was already underway earlier in the year, but would see the war start to heat up when the British returned and landed in New York in July, eventually pushing General Washington’s Continental Army out in August.
Evident today, the colonies won the War of Independence and formed the United States. Each year since the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, there has been a celebration (except in 1779 when July 4th fell on a Sunday, so it was celebrated the next day) to honor not only those who fought for America’s birth but to those who have served and continue to serve to keep the country free from tyranny and evil.
To perhaps put you guys into the mood of the holiday and perhaps for the rest of the week as well, Paul Robinson and myself recommend these books to check out. First up is Paul’s list, which I would recommend heavily as Paul is well-known as Wargamer’s “Book Man” and very adept at his overviews:
So what should
we be reading this Independence Day? Obviously
the first theme that springs to mind is the War of Independence (or the
American Revolution depending on your perspective). Starting with fiction you might go for
Bernard Cornwall’s Redcoat; this is
set in the
Now Mr. Cornwall is a bit of a legend and is famous for the Sharpe series of books (the story of a British Rifleman promoted for bravery on the battlefield and his exploits throughout the Napoleonic wars). However you might, with a more American flavour, also look at the Starbuck Chronicles – a series of 4 books set during the Civil War; Rebel, Copperhead, Battle Flag and The Bloody Ground. And I must say, at the risk of committing military fiction heresy, I found them more interesting by far than the Sharpe books!
Of course if you want the facts then of course you are more than spoiled for choice, the literature on the War of Independence is vast. Our friends at Casemate have a good selection.
Firstly With Musket and Tomahawk is highly recommended; this describes the turning point of the Revolution - the Saratoga Campaign of 1777.
For a more general read try the New American Revolution Handbook - “The authors use clear and concise writing broken down into short and easy to understand chapters complete with original maps, tables, charts, and dozens of drawings to trace the history of the Revolution from the beginning of the conflict through the final surrender in 1783”. This looks a good starter book. And if it is the battles you are interested in try A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution. This is a comprehensive strategic guide to every engagement of the War, from Lexington Green to the Siege of Yorktown.
As for myself (Parrino), I feel dwarfed by my suggestions in comparison to Paul’s, but who am I to argue against the Book Man? One that I have owned up on my shelf personally is James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender’s A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1764 – 1789. The book focuses entirely on the Continental Army and its struggles and triumphs while proving a point that superior leadership and dedicated troops can turn the tide of battle and war.
My second (and final, I am more of a World War reader myself) recommendation is Richard M. Ketchum’s Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. Those that are in love with turning points in wars, Saratoga should be checked out in haste. The battle itself pushed France over to side with the young nation of America and so should not be ignored when any sort of media covers it, be it movie, wargame or book.
So go out and pluck these titles and sit back and enjoy. You are bound to not only appreciate the literature but of course it will bring you in deeper to the importance of the American Revolution and perhaps fuel interest in other hobbies, which will be covered in our next articles of recommended wargames and movies!
Article written by: Paul Robinson, Staff Writer
Scott Parrino, Editor in Chief