The American Revolutionary War, as it’s never been told before

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777
By Rick Atkinson
Henry Holt and Co., 2019, 800 pp.

5 Stars

My interest in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) was kindled by my parents. Our family excursions to Fort Niagara (Niagara Falls), Fort Ticonderoga (near Lake Placid), and the Freedom Trail in Boston sparked my curiosity and I read all of the books about the ARW I could get my hands on at our local library branch while in junior high and high school.

I’ve continued my interest in the ARW over the years with a book here and there and recently came upon Rick Atkinson’s “The British Are Coming.” It’s unique among the many books I’ve read in a couple of ways: 1) it tells the story from the British perspective as well as the American, and 2) the details are copious. All of the other books I’ve read about the ARW provided a history almost strictly from an American perspective so it was refreshing and informative to get the British view. As for the details, military and personal, they were both helpful and a distraction. In some cases, Atkinson’s persnickety slavishness to detail seems to detract from the overall sweep of a battle or campaign, while in other cases it seems to enhance it.

In this volume, Atkinson follows the ARW from its beginning on the roads to Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, to the New Jersey campaign (late-1776-early-1777) and Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware. Two more volumes are planned for the final six years of the war (the conflict was over for all intents and purposes following the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, excepting some minor and inconsequential skirmishes).

As I read this book on my Kindle, I also used the Google Earth app on my iPhone to get an eagle-eye view of the various locales and even some of the surviving structures that were mentioned. Using Google Earth greatly enhances reading a history book such as this one.

Postscript: I would like to research further how believers living in Colonial America (especially pastors), were able to justify their rebellion against the God-ordained British monarch, George III.

27 thoughts on “The American Revolutionary War, as it’s never been told before

    1. I’m glad I came across this one. Easily one of the best treatments of the Am Rev War I’ve ever read. The research Atkinson put into this is amazing. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to his future analyses of Saratoga and the Southern Campaign.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This was one of the best, if not THE best history of the ARW I’ve ever read. The research is very impressive. Yup, using Google Earth was so beneficial. For instance, I have read about the Battle of Long Island in 1776 many, many times, but for the first time I had a good understanding of the movements of both armies by using Google Earth to check the locations referred to in the book. It was so great to view things like Valcour Island and the ruins of Fort Lee and Fort Crown Point, places I always wanted to visit, but probably never will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m still working on getting my reading queue down to a reasonable level. Had to start listing all my unread books on an Excel spreadsheet to keep them all straight. Pretty nerdy, huh? I’ll finish one book today and another one probably Friday. But my calendar tells me I do have to hit the Comic Shop tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

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