A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin
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A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  240 ratings  ·  38 reviews
With a new afterword by William Chad Stanley

Here a private in the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War narrates his adventures in the army of a newborn country.
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Signet Classics (first published 1830)
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Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper
I started a much longer review, but there is not enough that can be said about this, and, saying too much tends to water down the overall impact. So, I'll keep it short and to the point, as much as i am able to anyway.

The autobiographical story of Joseph Plumb Martin is a must read for any citizen of the United States. Though it is relatively unappreciated compared to stories about Jefferson, Washington, Horatio Gates and even Benedict Arnold, this is the story of an everyman, a blue collar, har...more
Wayne S.
In 1775, Joseph Plumb Martin (November 21, 1760 – May 2, 1850) was a wide-eyed fifteen-year-old boy who decided to leave his grandfather’s Connecticut farm and join the Continental Army, first as a private then a sergeant, to fight the English during the American War for Independence. During the next eight years, he participated in some early battles, such as White Plains, Kipp’s Bay, and Redbank; spent the famous winter of 1777-1778 near Valley Forge, though not in the camp itself but at Millto...more
Gary Hoggatt
First published in 1830, Joseph Plumb Martin's Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier is a remarkable account of the Revolutionary War as experienced by Martin, who first enlisted as a private in 1776, was promoted to sergeant in 1780, and finally left the army after the war concluded in 1783. There are many memoirs, biographies, and histories that center on the generals and political leaders of the Revolution, but Martin provides us with the everyman's perspective, and does so with intelligence and...more
Joseph Howard
Mar 25, 2013 Joseph Howard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs and military enthusiasts
One of the few books actually written by a veteran of the Revolution, and I appreciated that very much. The book can be slow at times, funny at other times, and then very sad in others. The first-hand accounts of starvation and feezing is so unfortunate, but it should make anyone appreciate what those men did back then. If you're looking for a book that has first-hand accounts of violent battles where blood and guts are flying all over the place, then this is not the book for you. There are very...more
James Spurgeon
I actually wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars instead of just 3. It is a definite read for anyone studying the American Revolution. Joseph Plumb Martin was an enlisted soldier during the length of the war. Though he doesn't give a personal hand-by-hand account of the major battles he was involved in (though there are some details), he is able to give us a glimpse into the world of what the ordinary enlisted soldier had to endure while serving our new nation. Most of us have heard the infamous...more
Bob
One of few personal accounts of the Revolutionary War written by the common soldier in the ranks of Continental Army. What makes this book the best is that it covers almost the entire war and is well written, with humor and keen observations. I read this book over 30 years ago, and the two things that stand out in my mind are Martin's descriptions of always being hungry and the time he saw a white woman living with a black man, as he described, in a husband and wife situation, in Virginia. It su...more
Jerri
My son recommended that I read this. He is a history buff and was captivated by this narrative written by a revolutionary war soldier--not during the war but years later. I approached it with some trepidation, but I also found myself amazed to be reading such an honest work some 200 years after it was written--finding opinions and situations that might be similar to those of a soldier or veteran today. The introduction and afterward give depth and understanding along with a credibility afforded...more
Grumpus
I’ve always enjoyed reading diaries and/or narratives they always make me wish I could have be there to live the events with them but not in this case!

This narrative is the unique perspective of a young man as a private in the Revolutionary War. I’ve read many books on this war from the perspective of Washington or other leaders in the war but this is the first I’ve come across it through a simple foot soldier’s eyes—and what a difference there is between those perspectives. While he had many “a...more
Brian Mumford
What a treasure of a book. Joe Martin was a teenager when he joined the Continental Army in 1775 and spent the next eight years suffering as most of the soldiers did until they won our independence. We're lucky this soldier took the time to pen his memoirs about his experience in the war of independence. It's one of the best descriptions we have about the war--maybe the best--and its a great reminder about what our veterans of the American Revolution went through both before and after the war. M...more
Belcatar
Joseph Plumb Martin's adventures are accessible and relevant more than 200 years after he penned them. He writes with wry humor and a keen memory, which brings the suffering of private soldiers-all private soldiers, regardless of which army they serve-into intimate focus. He spends very little time writing about battle; most of the book deals with the struggle for basic life-sustaining things like food, clothing and shelter. Hunger stalked Martin and his companions constantly. He and his fellow...more
Bob Schmitz
This short book is apparently the most complete of the few first person accounts of an ordinary American soldier during the Revolutionary war. You will not get the sweep of battles or strategy but only the recollections of what happened to the Joseph Martin. I did use Wikipedia to look up some of the incidents and battles and they are as he describes. The information is eye-opening and the story is told with amusing and fanciful language that it is a pleasure to read. An example:
“We've this fore...more
Nick
"Here we suffered again for eatables."

This single sentence sums up the bulk of this rather dark story. Martin was a Continental for the duration of the war, and his memoir encompasses the whole of the revolutionary soldier's experience. This book is one of the best possible resources for someone wanting to peel back the veneer of patriotic fervor attached to the period. The commentary essays point out that never once does Joseph mention "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." He takes it...more
Hotavio
Joseph Plumb Martin reflects towards the end of his life on his days as a soldier during the Revolutionary War. His thoughts cover his intense sufferings, particularly the struggle with starvation, but also with a few fierce battles, close-calls, and the general mischief that a young adult is wont to get into.

Martin has a wonderful sense of humor and, provided that the reader can discern what he is talking about, is apt make one laugh on some of his hijinks or playful introspections, even when...more
Thom Swennes
A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier by Joseph Plumb Martin tells the trials and tribulations of a private soldier during the United States war for independence. One thing that occurred to me while I was reading this narrative is that wars and soldiers differ little through the centuries. The weapons change, as does the geography but the soldiers seems to just stay the same. The vast majority of a soldier’s time is spent in marching and standing watch and his mind is always on his empty stomac...more
Ryan
I really enjoyed this book. I find the time of the American revolution very interesting but never have had a clue what the day to day tasks and hardships for the enlisted soldier consisted of. It is hard to believe that men could live on the verge of exhaustion and starvation for such a long period of time. Don't pick up this book thinking it will be action packed and battle filled. It mainly focuses on the daily sufferings of a soldier. There are plenty of close calls and battles but the author...more
Les
An interesting narrative of Joseph Plumb Martin's service during the American Revolution. It's not filled with details of battles as much as it is with scenes from a soldier's daily life. One thing I wish he wrote more on was why he endured all those hardships. He mentioned love for the country, but wonder what that exactly means. At the end, he describes the broken promises made to the veterans. I had read about with passing interest, but this made it much more personal. A large debt of gratitu...more
Isidore
Joseph Plumb Martin was a young man when he went off to war. He didn't go to be part of some great cause or to help found a nation. Rather, he went because the idea of being a soldier seemed a lot more interesting than staying on his grandfather's farm.

It wasn't until much later in life that he decided to write up his experiences in the Revolution. This book is quite amazing because it allows the reader to see the American fight for independence from the grunt's eye view. There are no grand stra...more
April
The author said in the beginning of the book that this was his story and it was not remarkable, I very much agree with him. I had to read this book for history class but nevertheless I was excited to hear about a real account of the revolutionary war. Throughout the book it was a constant repetition of procuring piece of salt pork, stopping to rest, marching. I expected some action, but was thoroughly disappointed. One has to wonder why he even bothered writing down such a boring account of such...more
Holly
I picked this book up at Valley Forge. I learned so much about the life of a soldier during the Revolutionary War. I know there is no way I could have done what those men did. They suffered for my freedom. Joseph Martin spent spent 8 years as a soldier. He was only 16 when he first joined the army. He suffered extreme hunger, nakedness, exposure to the weather and cold. He marched for days without rest or food. He came near to death many times. What a trying time! What a miracle America finally...more
Julene
Wow! What a an amazing book! This is a first-hand account of the Revolutionary War as told by a lowly, private who helped with the grunt work of the war that won our freedom. Such a unique and heart-wrenching perspective. This is not an ode to General Washington, or a discussion of strategic moves by the contending sides. It is just the story of one man's experiences during the war. Loved the humor and and the sarcasm sprinkled throughout.
Rachel
A firsthand account of the Revolution. Written by a soldier from Connecticut who was in the army for the majority of the war. Humorous, interesting and sad--it's amazing what those men suffered for their country. "Starving and freezing" is an oft-repeated phrase.

Very similar to Yankee Doodle Boy; from what I gather this is a more full account. It seems like Yankee Doodle Boy is a trimmed-down version of this book.
Juddelise Santana
The story of Joseph Plumb Martin is an incredible account that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interesting in having a better idea of what a soldier's life is like. More than just so, the author doesn't escape the idea he is narraring a history book which at times can be tedious and even a boring reading, so he makes sure that his account besides touching sounds hillorious as well. I enjoyed so much reading it..
Gary Kay
Although often viewed (mistakingly) as a journal of a revolutionary soldier, it is actually more of a memoir as Martin wrote his story after the war. Regardless, this is incredibly interesting. Plumb Martin fought in the Continental army for the duration of the 7 year war, and he shares some amazing stories about life on the front lines, and some of the high command, including Washington.
Lora Innes
I can't believe I forgot to add this book! Joseph Martin's account of his experiences in the Revolutionary War (from Long Island to Yorktown) are a must read for any history buff. Martin got through the war using his sense of humor, and it comes out pricelessly in his memoirs. If I could recommend one book on the American Revolution, it would be this one.
Paul Abbott
Wonderfully dark story of a revolutionary war soldier and his friends and how they did everything they could to create the new country of the United States of America. Joseph Plumb Martin is captivating in his story telling even though he wrote it from memory years later. His humor is only overshadowed by how badly the new found "Americans" had it.
Jeremy Hurren
Nov 04, 2008 Jeremy Hurren rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeremy by: lordjeb@lordjeb.com
This book took me quite a while to finish... it wasn't real easy reading, but it was very worth the effort. I feel like I gained a better understanding of what the beginnings of our country were like from the view of an average person. And the view short glimpses of George Washington, while not given any special attention, were most interesting.
Brad
Joseph Plumb Martin was a young man that served in the Colonial Army during the American Revolution. Years later, Marting decided to write down his experiences, which have now become one of the most important sources of information on the experiences of common soldiers. It is a very entertaining and eye-opening read.
John
Wanted to read about what went on battle wise during the war, this book is more about daily life of a soldier. Joseph has a bone to pick with the people in charge and it shows to often, also this was written 50 years after the war from notes he kept so don't know what is fact or embellished thoughts
Jenny Hamrick
I LOVE this book! I think my Connecticut Revolutionary War ancestor was probably along with him in these marches and adventures. It's new to get the enlisted man's version of life in the Continental Army, to be sure. And this guy is funny too, and he would fit right into a family picnic around here.
Valerie
Fascinating account of a man who served in the Revolutionary War. I was especially impressed with how educated he was. The writing is fabulous. You will get great insight as to what our soldiers went through during those terrible (but necessary) days of war.
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Joseph Plumb Martin 1 27 Mar 20, 2009 05:30PM  
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Wrote the best memoir, 1830, about an ordinary soldier, in the American Revolutionary War.It was vital to future historians.
More about Joseph Plumb Martin...
Private Yankee Doodle:  Being A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier Ordinary Courage: The Revolutionary War Adventures of Joseph Plumb Martin A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin (Signet Classics) Yankee Doodle Boy: A young soldier's adventures in the American Revolution told by himself. (American Biography Series) Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier: The Narrative of Joseph Plumb Martin (Dover Value Editions)

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