"The British Are Coming"

It is difficult to work up much interest in the American Revolution because the men wore powdered wigs and stockings, the guiding ideological opposition between monarchy and Republicanism is not salient today while slavery versus freedom and North versus South, issues from the Civil War, are still with us today, and because the Revolutionary War seems so episodic, Bunker Hill here and Washington crossing the Deleware there, and the surrender of two British armies, Burgoyne at Saratoga and Cornwallis at Yorktown, separated by four years. Wars should have the unities provided by the Second World War: retreat followed by advance, climaxing on D-Day, and victory after that. Well, Rick Atkinson has remedied these deficiencies and presented in “The British are Coming”, the first volume of his three volume history of the Revolutionary War, a compelling narrative of the first two years of the Revolutionary War that does justice to its various elements and though it does not present fresh interpretations, helps make that war comprehensible by making it dramatically whole.

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