Academic journal article Military Review

The War for American Independence

Academic journal article Military Review

The War for American Independence

Article excerpt

THE WAR FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, Samuel B. Griffith 11, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, (1976), 2002, 725 pages, $55.00.

The War for American Independence is a reissue of a 1976 book that is well worth a new look. While other classics, such as Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 1763-1789 (MacMillan & Co., Ltd., UK, 1971) and Don Higginbotham's The War of American Independence (Oxford University Press, New York, 1982), are still the best treatments of the American Revolution, Samuel B. Griffith's study is solid scholarship and a valuable contribution to the literature on the subject.

The War for American Independence is a straightforward chronological narrative with a focus on the political and military aspects of the American Revolution. Griffith does not attempt to present a dominant thesis; instead he provides analyses of several key issues as they appear.

Because Griffith writes extensively about the British side of the struggle, many of his insights focus on British errors. For example, he is critical of the British Government's inability to grasp the political realities of America, and he provides an excellent appraisal of the shortcomings in British strategy during the Saratoga Campaign. Still, Griffith maintains balance in his assessments of both sides and provides praise and criticism.

Griffith's detailed look at the British Government's internal conflicts during the American Revolution describes the events leading to the war. The first three chapters contain extensive, useful descriptions of the British parties, their leaders' personalities, and the shifting governmental policies toward the Colonies. …

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