Great Battles: Turning Points In The American Revolution, by the editors of Military History and MHQ

Reviewed by Peter W. Johnson, UE

Several UELAC members, and Margaret Carter UE in particular, have asked about the merits of this publication, which was widely available on Canadian magazine racks in the latter part of 2005. Here are a few brief comments – it does not merit a long review.

It is significant that the editors of Military History magazine are in on the project. They have rarely found a Rebel whom they regarded as less than a saint. In this publication several authors look at the following battles or events: Lexington/Concord, Bunker (Breed’s) Hill, Quebec City, Long Island, Princeton, Saratoga, Monmouth, Vincennes, Cowpens, and Virginia Capes (Yorktown). Not surprisingly for events that weren’t Rebel victories, the bravery of the Rebels and what was gained, even in defeat, are emphasized.

As for the Loyalists, they are seldom mentioned, and for the most part not with any degree of hatred. Rather, they are seldom mentioned, because they are deemed somewhat irrelevant in the scheme of things. One telling comment occurs in the Long Island chapter where the author is bemoaning the many Loyalists on Long Island, who could help the British with information, and are referred to as a nest of Tories (p. 42). Old prejudices die hard.

More progressive is a comment located in the Saratoga chapter:

Those braves [Oneidas] appear to have been pretty useful with the hatchet and were constantly bringing scalps and prisoners into the American camp. Burgoyne was constantly censured by the Americans for the depredations of his Indians, but very little is heard about the Indians on the American side. In his diary of September 25, however, Captain Benjamin Warren wrote, “Indians brought in 27 regulars and Hessians, also Tories who were given up to them to buffet.” (p. 55)

Otherwise it is a traditional pro-Rebel take on the Revolution. Save your money.

Authors: the editors of Military History and MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History
Title: Great Battles: Turning Points In The American Revolution
Leesburg VA: Primedia Enthusiast Group. 2005. Magazine $7.99 Cdn