38. New Books

I thought I’d take a brief respite from working on my next opus to suggest a few new Revolution-related books for your consideration. These are based on my own reading, listening to author talks, or in one case an author interview.

In no particular order  .  .  .

Surviving the Winters: Housing Washington’s Army during the American Revolution, Steven Elliott (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021) — The author has crafted a detailed narrative and penetrating analysis of how the Continental Army housed its units and camp followers, which explains how the construction and operation of these camps was important to the success of the Patriot cause. When you consider that the army spent a great deal more time in these settings than it did on the battlefield, this is a significant contribution to the literature of the Revolution.

Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, Woody Holton (Simon & Schuster, 2021) — The author offers a new and refreshing look at our struggle for independence that incorporates the story of marginalized  Americans—black people, women, Indians, and religious dissenters—into the mainstream of Revolution-related historiography in a way that general histories of the period have not done until now, while considering other overlooked aspects of the war that factored into its outcome.

The Revolutionary World of a Free Black Man: Jacob Francis, 1754-1836, William L. “Larry” Kidder (S.P., 2021) — This story of a free black man’s struggles with the systemic racism that accompanied enslavement in early America chronicles his youth as an indentured servant, his service in the Continental Army and Hunterdon County militia, and his post-war life as a husband, father, and farmer, as well as his youngest son’s efforts in the abolitionist cause. (BTW see my blog post no. 27, “Jacob’s Ladder,” to read the author’s comments about his work.)

These Distinguished Corps: British Grenadier and Light Infantry Battalions in the American Revolution, Don Hagist (Helion & Company, 2021) — For the authentic military history buff, this should be a real treat to read, being the product of a noted authority on the eighteenth-century British army who is also managing editor of the Journal of the American Revolution. The reader is provided with a thorough and well-written analysis of the role played by British light infantry and grenadier battalions during the Revolutionary War that relies predominantly on a vast array of primary source material.

Happy Reading.

26. Talking about the Revolution & Stuff

For today’s post, I wanted to share with you—through the link at the bottom—my recent appearance on “Back Story with Joan Goldstein” on Princeton Community Television, hosted and produced by Joan Goldstein, Ph.D., a sociologist and retired college professor.

The program, which runs about 28 minutes and was first aired on June 9, focuses on the meaning of the Revolution and how it relates to current circumstances. And any fans of the most famous and least accurate depiction of Washington crossing the Delaware—see above—will get loyts of Lotsa, I mean lots of Leutze. Best of all, there’s no commercial interruption. (For example, you won’t hear me say, “I’m not a historian but I play one on TV.”)

Apologies are due in advance for at least one verbal gaffe—inexplicably substituting “decades” for “centuries” at one point when it’s obvious I meant the latter (no, really)—and excessive use of the convenient but less-than-silver-tongued expression, “um.” My only other regret was not managing to squeeze into our exchange the gustatory aphorism about how democracy resembles pizza. (When it’s good it’s very, very good and when it’s bad it’s still pretty good.)

Hope you enjoy the show.