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Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought
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Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Michael Stephenson's Patriot Battles is a comprehensive and richly detailed study of the military aspects of the War of Independence, and a fascinating look at the nuts and bolts of eighteenth-century combat. Covering everything from what motivated those who chose to fight to how they were enlisted, trained, clothed, and fed, it offers a close-up view of the war's greatest ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2007)
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Nov 08, 2009 William rated it it was ok
Heavy readers interested in any topic got there by reading a "gateway book," some volume that opened up their interest to deeper reading. "Patriot Battles" by Michael Stephenson would have qualified.

The book is treatment of the American Revolution that starts out as a "nuts and bolts" examination of how the American and british Armies fought each other, from training through tactics, to logistics and medical services. The book's second part is a quick compendium of battles. Apart, either half o
I didn't like this nearly as much as I was expecting to. The author starts off with some jarring political points that struck me as silly, needless, and out of place. That didn't help. The author also clearly tries to do his revisionist best, but some of his points aren't backed up very well. For example, when arguing that the American regular army was made up of poor dumb people, he cites the average soldier's meager holdings. But most soldiers were young and didn't own much property, thus maki ...more
Jun 10, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Stephenson has done a great job condensing large amounts of information into short, crisp, logically structured data on the Revolutionary War. If you enjoy the period and want to get a feel for the realities of this war period (and especially the soldiers who fought the war), this book deserves serious consideration.

Given its brevity, the book naturally has omitted some areas of the war, viz. the stories of war prisoners, many of the naval battles and minor actions, detailed biographical inf
Mar 19, 2012 Panzagl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
A mediocre rehashing of secondary sources ruined by poor writing/editing, almost to the point of dishonesty- quotes repeated within pages of each other, quoting of quotes, etc. The author tries to be controversial, but in an off-hand way that lacks conviction. For example, at the end of his section describing patriot militias he makes a comment comparing them to Communist political officers in their role of violently suppressing Loyalist sentiment. An interesting idea, but one that only gets an ...more
Daryl Nichols
Feb 25, 2012 Daryl Nichols rated it it was amazing
One of the top 5 history books I've read and I've read thousands.
The author covers all motivations - from the people to the privates to the generals. Dispels myths with well documented sources.

Very easy and entertaining to read. Highly recommend if you have any interest in this particular period in history.

I was familiarizing myself with it once more after several episodes of listening to Icabod Crane's accounts of his time during the war.
Mar 17, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is split into two sections. The first half gives you details about the two sides of the American Revolution: what each soldier wore, what kind of gear they carried, firearms, why they chose to fight, etc. The second half gives quick synopses of the major battles.
I liked both halves but the second half seemed unnecessary. There are dozens of other books that will give you a more detailed look into each battle.
I very much enjoyed the first half.
Apr 26, 2013 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too much in the way of political commentary ruined what could have been a really good read.

Other mistakes have been mentioned thoroughly in other reviews/sites so I won't go into them here.

I did enjoy the book but found it a little too scattershot in some chapters. That combined with the commentary really dropped its rating from me.
Sean Chick
Writing about this war is difficult. Americans love their militia myth of virtuous citizens and the British often deride the war as unimportant, unneeded, not very revolutionary. Being by a Brit this one takes that well trodden path. There are some insights, but like many British historians the conclusions are often a reach and the research is sloppy.
Aug 12, 2014 Ward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly detailed and readable account of the logistics, combatant forces, and military outcomes of the principal battles of the American Revolution with some unnecessary and overdrawn comparisons between the 18th century efforts of Britain to suppress the American Revolution with the 20th century American intervention in the War in Viet Nam.
Dec 13, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
As a novice to military history, I found it a terrific introduction to the nuts and bolts of how the war was fought, and why it was fought that way. It finally makes sense to line everybody up in columns and fire your muskets!
Jul 07, 2007 Jeremiah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
This book has a great deal of specific information about how soldiers lived and fought in the Revolution. As a former re-enactor, the accuracy of this is excellent. The discussion of battles is less interesting, and can be found in many other sources.
Really enjoyed the perspective of HOW the combatants fought the war, not just the who, when, and where that is usually covered.
Nov 10, 2014 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First half is background on the politics and social aspects of the armies, second half is good overviews of all the major campaigns and battles.
Sep 24, 2012 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great, thought-provoking book that is well-sourced and blows up some of more dearly-held ideas about our Founders and their war with England.
Aug 24, 2009 Tyger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Micheal Stephenson used his book as a platform to compare George Bush to King George. To much political posturing for a history book MS.
Kyle Dohlen
Jul 17, 2010 Kyle Dohlen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting brief read about the nuts and bolts of the american revolution and it helps debunk several myths.
Hunter Marks
Nov 13, 2012 Hunter Marks rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting perspective, but poorly written and full of errors. One of the very few books I did not finish and felt no regret in not doing so.
Philip rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2012
Big John
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"In addition to his writing, Stephenson spent more than twenty-five years as a professional book editor, for much of that time with a particular focus on military publishing."

"Stephenson is the former editor of the Military Book Club and the editor of National Geographic's Battlegrounds: Geography and the History of Warfare. He is also the author of Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was
More about Michael Stephenson...

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