Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

George Rogers Clark: "I Glory in War."

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

George Rogers Clark: "I Glory in War."

Article excerpt

George Rogers Clark: "I Glory in War." By William R. Nester. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012. Pp. [xii], 386. $39.95, ISBN 978-0-8061-4294-4.)

Since 1990 William R. Nester, a professor of government and politics at St. John's University, has published prolifically and produced capable work in several fields, but he is perhaps best known for his writings on the contest for control of North America during the eighteenth century. In connection with this interest, he has now provided a new biography of George Rogers Clark, conqueror of the Old Northwest.

The subject of Nester's biography is no stranger to those interested in the American War of Independence. As Dale Van Every wrote a half century ago, "In the ... storied roll of remarkable frontiersmen, there has been not one whose exploits and achievements have ever approached those of George Rogers Clark" (A Company of Heroes: The American Frontier, 1775-1783 [New York, 1962], 44). In his book, Nester ably recounts the campaigns for which Clark is celebrated, particularly his seizure of Kaskaskia in 1778 and his celebrated winter expedition that resulted in the capture of Vincennes the following year. Working with a small force of militia, Clark succeeded in disrupting the British hold on the Illinois country.

Appropriately, Nester's work deals extensively with the wartime record of his subject. Nevertheless, Clark's early years receive significant coverage, and even more attention is paid to the years after 1783, which saw him engage in erratic behavior and hatch bizarre schemes as he became increasingly embittered by economic reversals and by the sense that his achievements during the war were being ignored by the new nation. …

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