Academic journal article Military Review

Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Academic journal article Military Review

Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Article excerpt

BAND OF GIANTS: The Amateur Soldiers

Who Won America's Independence

Jack Kelly, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2014, 288 pages

The book The Band of Giants is an enjoyable, concise coverage of the American War for Independence. At 288 pages, it may seem too concise, but that is not the case. Through Kelly's coverage, a novice on the American War for Independence becomes well educated. Those knowledgeable on the topic are well reminded of how in doubt the outcome of the war actually was--and the extraordinary personalities that eventually achieved an American victory.

The book covers two main themes rather well. First, it depicts major actions with just enough detail to convey the main idea of how they were joined and why the outcomes evolved as they did. Here, the reader needs a warning: although the main title, Band of Giants, hints of glowing accounts of American successes, the book's content is at odds with the title. Kelly explains the battles well while making it clear that all ranks of the American forces were, for the most part, pure novices in the art of war.

That leads to the author's second theme; he shows Americans as something of a bumbling lot. Kelly does not ridicule the Americans but highlights their overall dearth of military experience. For instance, he begins with a rather ghastly account of how George Washington clumsily starts, it seems, the French and Indian War. He also discusses how Gen. Henry Knox learned about artillery from books in his Boston bookstore; Nathaniel Greene hailed from a Quaker family that ran a foundry; and sharpshooting Daniel Morgan was, in reality, a simple backwoods wagoner. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.