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Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  667 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
In the summer of 1777 (twelve months after the Declaration of Independence) the British launched an invasion from Canada under General John Burgoyne. It was the campaign that was supposed to the rebellion, but it resulted in a series of battles that changed America's history and that of the world. Stirring narrative history, skilfully told through the perspective of those ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published May 15th 1999 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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Washington's Crossing by David Hackett FischerPaul Revere's Ride by David Hackett FischerThe Winter Soldiers by Richard M. KetchumSaratoga by Richard M. KetchumBunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick
American Revolution - Warfare
4th out of 27 books — 12 voters
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Best History Books
426th out of 1,825 books — 1,852 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,595)
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'Aussie Rick'
Apr 11, 2016 'Aussie Rick' rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-military
I don't think much more can be added to the previous reviews of this excellent book. The author has produced a well written and researched account of this great and interesting period of history. At times I felt for the British and wanted them to win and at other times I felt for the American forces.

It's a great book if you can see both sides of the story and come away impressed with both points of view. I thoroughly loved reading this book, at no time did it get bogged down or boring. The use
Bryan Alexander
Sep 29, 2014 Bryan Alexander rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This book came highly recommended from a historical reenactor on a Revolutionary War battlefield. This past July my wife and I were visiting Hubbardtown, Vermont, site of a notable American defeat in 1777. A reenactor representing a British soldier enthusiastically praised Richard Ketchum's account of the Saratoga campaign, in which Hubbardtown played a part.

And the book is a treat. Ketchum does a marvelous job of telling the story of "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne's bold attempt to win the Revolu
Mark Singer
Feb 03, 2013 Mark Singer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American history and the American Revolution.
Recommended to Mark by: No one
Edited 2/3/13:
Third time through this book. One thing that was obvious but not stated outright is that Burgoyne's defeat was as much caused by his own hubris as well as the American dispositions. Furthermore, although General Horatio Gates was in command of the American forces at Freeman's Farm, the background for the victory was laid on a foundation of support by the then-deposed general Philip Schuyler, the decision to evacuate Fort Ticonderoga by General St. Clair, and the American victory a
Jan 22, 2009 Elh52 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best books on a military campaign I have ever read. And believe me, I've read a LOT of them. Makes you all wistful about Benedict Arnold.
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Sep 18, 2014 нєνєℓ ¢ανα rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
The late Richard M. Ketchum's book is about the British army's summer 1777 offensive against the rebellious American Colonies. General John Burgoyne led a force consisting of regular army units, German mercenaries, Indians, loyalists and Canadians South into New York from Canada, in an amphibious operation which intended to span Lake Champlain and Lake George, then onto the Hudson River and into Albany, where a link-up would occur with another British force under General William Howe. The coloni ...more
Jul 22, 2010 Chuck rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at the Saratoga Battlefield park when it was recommended by several of the Park Rangers. They are right. It is indeed a wonderful read. I stayed up very late four nights running because I couldn't put the book down.

Ketchum covers the entire campaign, from it's inception in Canada and London, down to the disposition of the pow's and the Courts Maritial for Schuyler and St. Clair. (Courts Maritial in those days were a combination of peer review, after action review, and milit
Pat Gang
Feb 11, 2016 Pat Gang rated it it was amazing
Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War

Richard M. Ketchum. New York: Henry Holt, 1997. 545 pp. Ill. Notes. Bib. Index $25.00.

When it comes to the American Revolution we should always remember that putting noble words on paper is one thing. Making those words a reality is something else entirely. 1777 was a year of great trial and difficulty for the new republic. Not only were the thirteen former colonies divided by petty bickering and shameless maneuvering for choice appointments
Feb 04, 2015 Dana rated it it was amazing
I am definitely not a military history buff, so this is an unusual book for me to read. But I'm so glad I did!

Why I read it: The Revolutionary War has always been kind of a cipher for me. Before reading this book, I couldn't have named a single battle from the Revolutionary War except Bunker Hill, which we lost. How do you win a war without winning any battles? It didn't make sense to me.

"Saratoga" satisfied my curiosity on that point, while giving me so much more that I hadn't expected. First,
Dan Rogers
Jan 30, 2012 Dan Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-adult-books
Quite an interesting read with lots of detail which really helps me better understand 1) the importance of this battle to the overall outcome of the American Revolution, and 2) how serious the privations suffered by the army during the course of the war really were. I am now in complete awe of those who put their all on the line for the cause of independence. Now, having finished the book, I am looking forward to my NEH teachers workshop at Fort Ticonderoga next week.
Robert Krenzel
Apr 24, 2016 Robert Krenzel rated it really liked it
A very readable, well-researched study of one of the pivotal battles of the American Revolution. It gives the reader a good understanding of the political infighting on both sides, and the tremendous efforts of the soldiers involved.
Aug 08, 2011 Rodney rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
This is one of the best historical books I have ever read. Ketchum tells the story of the Saratoga campaign from start to finish like he was there.
Steven Peterson
Aug 16, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
"Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne presented a plan to end the Revolutionary War and stifle the American colonists' bid for independence. It would involve a three-pronged campaign, with Burgoyne leading a contingent from Canada down to Albany, NY. The end result, he believes, would be the destruction of the Revolution itself.

However, as the Preface notes at the outset, "At Saratoga, the British campaign that was supposed to crush America's rebellion ended instead in a surrender that changed the histor
Nov 10, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Ketchum, Richard M. SARATOGA: Turning point of America’s Revolutionary War. (1997). ****. Ketchum traces the events at Saratoga from the early efforts by our best statesmen to bring Canada into the anticipated war with England by asking them to be the 14th colony. They laughed at us. It’s no wonder, given out past history along the border between our two countries. With Canada remaining faithful to England, British troops could use it as a base to move into the colonies and deal their blows to t ...more
Gary Braham
Apr 26, 2013 Gary Braham rated it really liked it

Third try to write a review of this book...

I live about a half hour from Saratoga, and have always had an interest in history, so it was only a matter of time before I read this book. I was hoping to find it for my kindle, but it could not be had. At over 550 pages, the book is quite hefty. It wasn't always easy to find a way to sit comfortably with it. Only about 450 pages are actual story. For as long as it was, it read fairly easily, and was interesting enough to keep you going.

The book itsel
Aug 27, 2015 Mmetevelis rated it really liked it
Very interesting account of the Saratoga campaign. Excellent narrative that gives a very full account to the major players and the strategic realities. Draws heavily from journals and other first hand accounts. All that I felt was lacking were more accounts of the events of the actual battles. Much of the material covers the slog of the campaign and misses out on the drama of the actual battle. But otherwise this is an excellent resource to study the Saratoga Campaign.
Jennifer Taw
Jun 23, 2014 Jennifer Taw rated it liked it
Though interesting because so much is derived from primary research, this book is also dense, difficult to follow, and not for those who don't already have a good grasp of the course of the war or of the major players in it. Ultimately, a truly fascinating and exciting and terrible story of war is made dry and academic in this telling.
David Orphal
Jun 14, 2016 David Orphal rated it liked it
A nice, straight forward history of the battle and the early northern campaign.

The book was at it's best for me when Ketchum was describing the heroics of Gen. Arnold. In traditional history classes, Arnold is only briefly described as the traitor of the Revolution, but early in the war, he contributed greatly to the American cause. I would have enjoyed a slightly deeper look at Arnold's earlier career and his actions at Saratoga, but that's just me.

Ketchum does good research, based on his bib
Sean Chick
Sep 22, 2015 Sean Chick rated it it was amazing
Highly readable account, a bit short on details, but long on fair analysis. Introduction is geography heavy, which is apparently a pet interest of Ketchum's.
Ron Ciola
Jun 30, 2014 Ron Ciola rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
Incredible account of the defeat of the arrogant and scandalous gambler, General Burgoine, and the resulting turn of the tide for the Colonial Army.
Adrian Stephens
The book written by Richard Ketchum,tells a story about the summer of 1777 after the Declation of Independence was signed and the invasion from Canada. It tells the story of how the colonists fought and did what they could to continue the fight for independence.
So What?
I would use this text in a middle school classroom to discuss the Battle of Saratoga.
Now what?
After learning a bit about the Revolutionary War, I would have my students create K-W-L charts, to see what they knew about the Ba
Scott Carmody
Jul 17, 2014 Scott Carmody rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, history
I picked the book up a decade ago in Saratoga. It is a wonderful read about the build up and eventual battle of Saratoga. The personality clashes of the characters are in many ways more important/decisive than the battle itself. If it was a novel or movie you might not believe it but history is often stranger.

As a side note: those who talk about political infighting now, should see how much occurred before the US was even a country!
Nov 20, 2014 Dave rated it it was amazing
It was wonderfully written and researched. It brings great light to a seminal moment in American history while following the entire campaign as all parts of a fluid and dynamic whole. He has the same opinion that I hold if General Gates and gives due credit to lesser commanders and their men. He also did not demonize the British or Germans. The Mohawks earned their reproach. All in all a very fair minded look at the Northern Campaign and I look forward to reading the rest of his books.
Jun 13, 2014 Colleen rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Good for those who want battle details. I enjoyed the occasional letter or diary entry and even a couple of female voices
Nov 04, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
A detailed account of the pivotal battle of the revolution. if you're interested at all in the Revolution , this is a must read.
Oct 12, 2014 Drew rated it really liked it
Very good about the Northern Campaign of 1777. Book focuses a great deal about the events leading up to what we actually know as the battle(s) of Saratoga. Provides great depth of insight into the campaign, from genesis to surrender, through the signing of the alliance with France.
Jan 15, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing
A great recounting of the Saratoga campaign. Not a bland military history at all, just a wonderfully written book on one of the pivotal chapters of the American Revolution. Any follower of history will enjoy this book.
Nov 02, 2010 Bartholomew rated it really liked it
Very informative account of the battle which changed the course of the U.S. Revolutionary War. Strongly recommended for those interested in early U.S. history, particularly in this pivotal battle and those that led up to it.
Scottsdale Public Library
Very informative account of the battle which changed the course of the Revolutionary War. Strongly recommended for those interested in early U.S. history, particularly in this pivotal battle. -- Terrence A.
Sep 18, 2008 Carol rated it liked it
It's like homework, but I'll get through it. Update - I lied - Gave up on it. Too many details, I need to start with the remedial version and work my way up.
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“Our people are not calculated to be confined in garrisons or kept in any particular service; they soon grow troublesome and uneasy by reflecting on their folly in bringing themselves into a state of subjection when they might have continued free and independent'. This was a society unlike any in the world, in which people placed great value on their status as independent individuals, beholden to no man. They were suspicious of standing armies and impatient of discipline, and while they realized the need to resist the enemy, they preferred to do so on their own terms at a time and place of their own choosing. It did not make for the kind of army on which generals could pin great hopes.” 1 likes
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