Books - American War of Independence
British Light Infantryman versus Patriot Rifleman, Robbie MacNiven. Looks at the famous Patriot riflemen and their nearest British equivalent, the Light Infantry, covering their equipment, training, tactics in battle and their relative strengths and weaknesses, before looking at three occasions where the two troop types fought each other directly in significant numbers. Provides a realistic idea of the relative effectiveness of the two troop types, and shows that the American riflemen was a valuable part of the rebel forces, if not quite the war winning weapon many had expected (Read Full Review)
Battle Tactics of the American Revolution, Robbie MacNiven. An impressive look at the tactics used by the four major combatants in North American – the British, American Patriots, Germans and French – covering their regular forces and the various militias, with sections on infantry, cavalry and artillery. Covers both the theoretical organisation of these units, and how they actually performed in combat(Read Full Review)
German Troops in the American Revolution (1) Hessen-Cassel, Donald M. Londahl-Smidt. Looks at the Hessian units that served in North America, where they seem to have performed well despite being most famous for suffering an embarrassing defeat at Trenton in 1776. Starts with a brief explanation of how Hessian troops came to be in British service, details of the divisions that served and a look at their major actions, before moving onto a detailed look at the uniform colours of the individual regiments. (Read Full Review)
British Light Infantry in the American Revolution, Robbie Macniven. Looks at the most flexible infantry in the British Army of the period, a force capable of scavenging, skirmishing, fighting in the line and raiding, and a sign that the British Army of the period was more flexible than is often imagined. Looks at the British use of light infantry before the War of Independence, how they were trained and equipped, and how they were actually used during the war, (Read Full Review)
The Queen's American Rangers, Donald J. Gara. A history of the unit first raised by Robert Rogers early in the American War of Independence, but that was soon taken from him, and that eventually gained an impressive reputation, become one of only four Loyalist units to be incorporated into the British Army. During that time they took part in a wide range of activities, fighting at some of the major battles of the war (including Yorktown), as well as acting as light infantry and taking part in many of the small scale raids (Read Full Review)
Camden 1780 - The annihilation of Gates' Grand Army, David Smith. An account of the last successful British campaign of the American of Independence, which saw them capture Charleston and then destroy Gates' Grand Army at the battle of Camden, but which failed to have any long term success, as the Americans were soon able to regain control of everywhere outside the reach of a large British garrison, marking the failure of the 'Southern Strategy', and the beginning of the end for the British (Read Full Review)
Point Pleasant 1774 - Prelude to the American Revolution, John F Winkler . Looks at a war between Virginia and a largely Shawnee army fought on the eve of the American War of Independence. With good use of sources from both sides of the conflict, Winkler traces the course of a war that allowed the United States of America to claim the area between the Ohio and the Appalachian Mountains as part of the new country. [read full review]
With Musket & Tomahawk Vol II: The Mohawk Valley Campaign in the Wilderness War of 1777, Michael O. Logusz. Looks at the second prong of the British invasion from Canada of 1777, the campaign in the Mohawk valley that ended in defeat at Fort Stanwix, thus removing one of Burgoyne's hopes of help when he got bogged down at Saratoga. Excellent use of eyewitness accounts of the campaign make this an atmospheric read. [Read Full Review ]
1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War, Robert L. Tonsetic. Starts with the American cause at a low ebb over the winter of 1780-1 and traces its revival and triumph during 1781, the year that saw the failure of the British southern strategy and the dramatic surrender of Cornwallis's army at Yorktown, the defeat that effectively ended any chance of British success. [read full review]
George Washington's Westchester Gamble, Richard Borkow. An interesting study of the impact of the American War of Independence on Westchester County, just to the north of New York, combined with a history of the major events that happened in and around the county, most notably the encampment at which George Washington decided to march to Yorktown, where he won the decisive battle of the war. [read full review]
Black, Jeremy, War For America: The Fight for Independence 1775-1783. Provides a clear narrative of the war, taken year by year, with good chapters on some of the later years that are often skipped over. Also contains a good selection of quotes from participents in the conflict.
Middlekauff, Robert, The Glorious Cause, The American Revolution 1763-1789. A very well researched book that is especially strong on the events that led up to the Revolution, which take up the first third of the book. Unlike many similar books it also covers the years immediately after the war and up to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Ramsay, David The History of the American Revolution, vol I. One of the earliest histories of the revolution, first published in 1789 this work provides an invaluable insight into the way the earliest Americans saw their recent past. This first volume starts with a brief history of the colonies from their foundation, through the causes of the war and up to 1776.
Ramsay, David The History of the American Revolution, vol II , The second volume continues from 1777 until the end of the war, and up to the ratification of the Constitution, then a very recent event. Despite it's age, Ramsay's work still has great value. He was a member of the Congress in between 1782 and 1786 and as such had easy access to the documents produced during the war, and to people who had been important during it. His work was highly rated when first published.
Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill , Richard M. Ketchum. A very well received book on the battle and the period immediately before it.
American Hannibal, Jim Stempel. A look at one of the key battles of the American War of Independence, a British defeat that began the series of events that ended with the surrender at Yorktown. Structured around the two main leaders at Cowpens, Daniel Morgan and Banastre Tarleton, tracing how they got to the battlefield, their respective military experiences and how that played into the eventual American victory (Read Full Review)
A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens , Lawrence E. Babits. A very detailed re-examination of the relatively unknown American victory at the battle of Cowpens, based heavily on a detailed examination of original eyewitness accounts.
Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War, Richard M. Ketchum. A well respected account of the Saratoga campaign that deals well with the individual clashes that gave the campaign much of it's character.
Yorktown 1781, Brendan Morrissey, Ospre, 1997. Well illustrated and detailed account of the decisive battle of the war. Has a good set of 3D maps of the battlefield. Morrissey has written widely on the War of Independence.
Long Journey with Mr Jefferson - The Life of Dumas Malone, William G. Hyland Jr. A biography of a biographer who wrote a magisterial six volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, finishing the last volume late in life when almost totally blind. This is an interesting biography of an impressive figure, although perhaps of interest to a rather limited audience - other historians or those with an interest in Jefferson. [read full review]
George Washington, Mark Lardas. One of the more successful entries in the command series, with an interesting emphasis on how Washington learnt from his early unsuccessful campaigns and on his overall strategic ideas during the War of Independence, focusing on the survival of his army rather than the defence of any particular city. [read full review]
Mattern, David, Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution, a detailed and sympathetic biography of this undeservedly obscure American revolutionary general.