Monday, November 30, 2020

Book Review: The British Are Coming

I’ve recently finished reading Rick Atkinson’s “The British are Coming”, volume 1 of his planned trilogy on the American Revolution. I’ve read his Liberation Trilogy about the US Army in the ETO during WWII and was pleased with that. I like this too and await his next volume.
Atkinson has a number of details that I’ve missed in other accounts, like British General Clinton’s talented violin playing, or the full story of the attempted attack by Bushnell’s early submarine "Turtle" in New York harbor. You can see the maps and illustrations here.  The maps are not the detailed tactical maps that we gamers crave, but they do give a better idea of the operational situation than usual in books about this war.
I like the illustrations, which include a number of telling portraits of the principal characters.
'Brigadier Hugh Earl Percy, son of a duke, led a brigade from Boston to reinforce the battered British regulars retreating from Concord. “I had the happiness,” he told his father, “of saving them from inevitable destruction.” '

I got my copy from the local library. If you’re interested in this war, I recommend it. He doesn’t spend that much time on the causes of the war. For more on that topic, I heartily suggest Fred Anderson’s “Crucible of War”. This excellent history of the French and Indian War concludes with the best explanation of the break between Great Britain and the American colonies I’ve read.