Academic journal article Military Review

SEALED WITH BLOOD: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America

Academic journal article Military Review

SEALED WITH BLOOD: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America

Article excerpt

SEALED WITH BLOOD: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America, Sarah J. Purcell, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2002, 276 pages, $35.00.

Sarah J. Purcell's book, as a work on the idea of public memory, establishes how Revolutionary War heroes were integrated into the burgeoning political culture of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This is no small task, because many consider political culture an area that is soft among a soft science like history and has a tendency to scare people off.

Purcell uses numerous sources to buttress her arguments in favor of the idea of Revolutionary War heroes and their effect on the early years of the United States. She specifically discusses "Palmetto Day" in Charleston, South Carolina, and annual events in Bennington, Vermont.

Purcell also writes about some of those who fell during the Revolutionary War, such as Doctor Joseph Warren, who died at Bunker Hill, and Richard Montgomery, who died during the Quebec Campaign. Purcell even strives to assimilate the roles of women and Blacks in the Revolutionary War, putting special emphasis on Marquis de Lafayette's recognition of African-American soldiers.

The main problem with the book is that Purcell fails to draw a line where Revolutionary War heroics end. …

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