The American Revolution, 1774-83 by author Daniel Marston Review by Ben Powers

     The American Revolution altered the balance of power in Europe and set the conditions for the French Revolution and the ultimate rise of Napoleon Bonaparte because of the cost of France’s participation in support of the American Colonies against Great Britain. What began as a protest over government overreach and a population protecting their rights as English citizens grew into an armed independence movement, and the establishment of a new nation on the American continent. Doctor Daniel Marston brings a wealth of experience to authoring this volume, to include teaching at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and the United States Command and Staff College.


     Doctor Marston does an excellent job summarizing the events and personalities that led to the creation of the United States in a book that manages to be both comprehensive and compact. Marston ably discusses the origin of the American Revolution, establishes the orders of battle of the major participants, explains how political resistance led to open warfare, analyzes the campaigns both in North America, and across the globe as the fighting grew from a colonial rebellion against British authority to a clash between European great powers, and explains the lasting impacts of the American Revolution. It’s a tall order for 134 pages, and Marston delivers.

     The descriptions of the battles that comprise the War for Independence are the book’s great strength. Marston dedicates 77 pages to the fighting, from the outbreak of the war at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts to the surrender of the Army under Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. He also covers the major battles in both the Northern and Southern theaters for the years between 1775 and 1781, including the fighting around Quebec, the Battles for New York, the Ten Crucial Days of Trenton and Princeton, Saratoga, Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth Courthouse, Savanah and Charleston, Camden, Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and Guilford Courthouse, just to mention a few. Marston brings a scholar’s touch to this analysis, providing readers with insights and synthesis that make this book valuable to casual readers and serious students alike. As with other books in Osprey’s Essential Histories, the volume is well illustrated and contains several excellent maps interspersed throughout the text. The contemporary artwork and political sketches contained in the book add an additional dimension to the reader’s experience.

This book is available at Osprey Publishing and from a variety of retailers.

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