- WASHINGTON’S IMMORTALS: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution By Patrick K. O’Donnell
In August 1776, little over a month after the Continental Congress had formally declared independence from Britain, the revolution was on the verge of a sudden and disastrous end. General George Washington found his troops outmanned and outmaneuvered at the Battle of Brooklyn, and it looked like there was no escape. But thanks to a series of desperate rear guard attacks by a single heroic regiment, famously known as the “Immortal 400,” Washington was able to evacuate his men and the nascent Continental Army lived to fight another day.
Drawing on extensive original sources, from letters to diaries to pension applications, O’Donnell pieces together the stories of these brave men—their friendships, loves, defeats, and triumphs. He explores their arms and tactics, their struggles with hostile loyalists and shortages of clothing and food, their development into an elite unit, and their dogged opponents, including British General Lord Cornwallis. And through the prism of this one group, O’Donnell tells the larger story of the Revolutionary War. Washington’s Immortals is gripping and inspiring boots-on-the-ground history, sure to appeal to a wide readership.
Two reviews of the book are at:
- President Joseph Dooley distributed two recent book reviews about books about George Washington.
The first one is Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, edited by Robert M.S. McDonald. In Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, editor Robert M. S. McDonald, associate professor of history at the United States Military Academy, assembles an impressive collection of essays by noted scholars detailing the various relationships that George Washington maintained with his Revolutionary War subordinates. This volume is an outgrowth of Sons of the Father, the first Sons of the American Revolution Annual Conference on the American Revolution. A description of the other conference is contained at the end of the article. The 2016 Conference is entitled Empires of Liberty and the American Revolution. This conference will be held at the Courtyard Hotel and the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA.
A second review covers George Washington: Gentleman Warrior by Stephen Brumwell as well as Sons of the Father, edited by Robert M.S. McDonald. By 1775, Washington had strong ideas about how to run an army. Officers, he said, should be men of independent financial means. By 1775, when he took command of the Continental Army, Washington had developed strong ideas about how to staff a fighting force–ideas that looked more to Old Europe than to the New World. Washington told Gov. Patrick Henry, then assembling battalions from Virginia, that he should avoid “the soldier and the officer being too nearly on a level” Because America didn’t have a long military tradition, and its men lacked experience, Washington thought that other considerations should be weighed: The “true criterion . . . is to consider whether the candidate for office has a just pretension to the character of a gentleman, a proper sense of honor, and some reputation to lose.”
- Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, reviewed Clay Hoffman (prospective member of the San Diego SAR Chapter). Prior to his traitorous acts, Benedict Arnold had a mixed reputation as a military officer. Some of his peers saw him as tactless and imperious; others considered him courageous and a good leader. In his new book, ‘Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution’ (Viking), Nathaniel Philbrick chronicles the events that precipitated Arnold’s fall from grace. Click here for the full review.Other reviews of this book are at:
- Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence by Jack Kelly, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The dust jacket of Jack Kelly’s “Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence” depicts a group of steely-eyed, square-jawed militiamen, dressed in homespun clothing and staring unflinchingly at an unseen foe. Their inexorable enemies will of course be minions of the tyrannical British Empire bent on crushing American liberties: redcoats advancing in solid ranks with robotic precision, presenting a menacing hedge of bayonet-tipped muskets.
Thankfully, “Band of Giants” (the title comes from a remark made by the Marquis de Lafayette, who volunteered for the American cause) is far more balanced than such first impressions suggest. Its lively narrative of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) realistically assesses the motley collection of men who led the military struggle against Britain, revealing both their strengths and weaknesses.
Click here to see the full review.
- Alexander Hamilton, American by Richard Brookhiser, from an interview of the author on CSPAN 3. Alexander Hamilton is one of the least understood, most important, and most impassioned and inspiring of the founding fathers. At last Hamilton has found a modern biographer who can bring him to full-blooded life; Richard Brookhiser. In these pages, Alexander Hamilton sheds his skewed image as the “bastard brat of a Scotch peddler,” sex scandal survivor, and notoriously doomed dueling partner of Aaron Burr. Examined up close, throughout his meteoric and ever-fascinating (if tragically brief) life, Hamilton can at last be seen as one of the most crucial of the founders. Here, thanks to Brookhiser’s accustomed wit and grace, this quintessential American lives again.
Published April 12th 2000 by Simon & Schuster
- Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, reviewed by Walter Isaacson April 25, 2013.
When reading “Bunker Hill”, Nathaniel Philbrick’s vivid narrative of the Boston area militia skirmishes that sparked the American Revolution in 1775, I couldn’t help thinking about more contemporary revolutions.
The Committees of Correspondence conjured up comparisons to the role played in Tahrir Square by Facebook and other social networks. The affair of the purloined Hutchinson Letters reminded me of WikiLeaks, the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes reminded me of Twitter, and the Tea Party reminded me of, well, the tea party. As Philbrick writes, “Samuel Adams and his compatriots had created what was, in essence, an extralegal, colony-wide network of communications that threatened to preempt old hierarchical form of government.” Click here for the full review.
- 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga by Dean Snow. 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga covers the history of the thirty-three days of the Saratoga campaign. Utilizing historical archaeology and the words of the men and women that served in both armies, words taken directly from their letters, journals, diaries, and memoirs, of which many remain unpublished, Snow weaves an intimate and personal telling of the battles. Click here to see the full review.
- American Treasures by Stephen Puleo is a novel perspective on American history that focuses on the story of the country’s founding documents and the Americans who composed, safeguarded, and preserved them for the benefit of future generations. The book describes the secret efforts to save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address. Click here to see the full review on the Kirkus Reviews website.