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

Jack Kelly. Palgrave Macmillan, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-137-27877-7
George Washington, Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, and Anthony Wayne are names written indelibly into the history of the American Revolution, yet they all started out green, working their way into legend by learning and adapting on the battlefield. Journalist Kelly (Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics) opens this fast-paced military history in 1754 as the young Lt. Col. Washington, devoid of formal military training, prepares to confront the French over control of North America’s Western frontier. Following his account French and Indian War, Kelly’s fast-forwards to the volatile years of the 1770s when businessman Greene and bookseller Knox meet in Boston to discuss the colony’s rapidly deteriorating relationship with England. By early 1775, both men had taken up arms against the mother country. Knox would develop a genius for artillery and Greene would go on to command the Southern campaign. Kelly smoothly recounts the major and most familiar battles of the war, from Lexington and Concord to the incursions into Canada to Brandywine to Charleston. Kelly is stingy with attendant political and foreign-policy matters—hewing closely to all things military—and there are no fresh insights into either here, but the writing is lively, and he offers a serious reminder of the brutality of the American Revolution. Illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 09/09/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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