cover image Angel in the Whirlwind

Angel in the Whirlwind

Benson Bobrick / Author Simon & Schuster $30 (560p) ISBN 978-0

At a time when America's most mythic figures are subject to character assault, revisionist ideology and general bad press, Bobrick (East of the Sun) appears as a formidable defense counsel for the Founding Fathers, delivering a deft consolidation of the facts of the Revolution. Many of the stories are familiar--Paul Revere's ride, Arnold's descent into infamy--but the book's strength lies in its many lesser-known details on the battlefield and beyond. Tenuous diplomatic ties that kept the crucial American-French alliance intact are examined, as are battles within nascent America's leadership. Bobrick goes well beyond the standard arguments, and when he ventures to analyze, he is convincing. Superior American ballistics and France's rout of the British fleet at Yorktown are duly noted as linchpins of American victory--though not new ideas, they are often overlooked. And though the format demands only brief treatment of complicated issues, what emerges is a highly impressive show of exhaustive research and engaging storytelling about this greatest of American legends. (July)