American Spring

American Spring Maybe 3.5 starsI live in Concord MA, so April 19th is a date not, shall we say, unknown to me Fortypical Americans, April 19th, 1775 was the day that British troops marched to Lexington and Concord to seize weapons and supplies, and perhaps arrest folks like Sam Adams and John Hancock This all led to the first actual battles of the American Revolution American Spring tells that story in deep, occasionally excruciating detail The best parts, for me, were the explanations of he events that led to April 19, as well as the descriptions of the key players though there were perhaps too many for a book of its scope Also, for whatever reason, the author decided to continue the story through the Battle of Bunker Hill, which doesn t seem to belong here Finally, like a lot of military history, the actual battles are a tough slog in audiobook format I know this terrain intimately, I run over the North Bridge nearly every day, know exactly where Barrett s Farm, Punkatasset Hill and other important locations are and I still had some trouble figuring out who was where when Without a map, it s easy to get bogged down in the details of battles Also, meh, unless you are an actual historian, who cares Nonetheless, this book is comprehensive, well written, and includes some details I didn t know.Grade B A little slow in places, but by far the most in depth review of the battles of Lexington and Concord as well as the battle of Bunker Breeds Hill that I ve read The author has done a great job of researching sources on both sides of the conflict and presents compelling arguments behind why many of the major characters took the actions that they did or reacted in the way history remembers Overall, this is a great recounting of the major historic events of the first half of 1775, the contributing factors leading to those events, and the people on both sides that played a major role in those events. A Vibrant New Look At The American Revolution S First Months, From The Author Of The Bestseller The Admirals When We Reflect On Our Nation S History, The American Revolution Can Feel Almost Like A Foregone Conclusion In Reality, The First Weeks And Months OfWere Very Tenuous, And A Fractured And Ragtag Group Of Colonial Militias Had To Coalesce Rapidly To Have Even The Slimmest Chance Of Toppling The Mighty British ArmyERICAN SPRING Follows A Fledgling Nation From Paul Revere S Little Known Ride Of DecemberAnd The First Shots Fired On Lexington Green Through The Catastrophic Battle Of Bunker Hill, Culminating With A Virginian Named George Washington Taking Command Of Colonial Forces On July , Focusing On The Colorful Heroes John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Franklin, And Patrick Henry, And The Ordinary Americans Caught Up In The Revolution, Walter R Borneman Uses Newly Available Sources And Research To Tell The Story Of How A Decade Of Discontent Erupted Into An Armed Rebellion That Forged Our Nation There seems to be a lot of books discussing the opening salvos of the American Revolution Nathanial Philbrick s book is muchinteresting and tells the exact same story with some attention payed to the larger deliberations and a stronger back story Paul Lockhart wrote a book a few years back which in my mind is a much better book about the Battles of Lexington and Concord even thought it s true focus is on Bunker Hill While Bornerman does a decent enough job he doesn t add anything new to the discussion and seems to be parroting what others have said without the nice deep revelations on personalities This is a book which you can read if you know nothing of the battles and learn something But if you have ain depth knowledge you re better off finding something better. As long as you re not asking too much of it, American Spring pretty much delivers what it promises The problem is that pretty much leaves a gaping hole once you start looking.Walter Borneman s topic is the small window of the immediate run up to the American Revolution, January June of 1775, a period that ends on Bunker Hill, when war could no longer be averted This results in a somewhat straight narrative of events By somewhat, I mean that Borneman manages to stick to the narrative through Lexington Concord, and then starts hopping around as he attempts to complete his portrait It s the oddest thing, having such a small window of history to cover and yet not being able to stick to it after all.Borneman s perspective also contrasts with his stated objective of producing as clear a portrait of events as possible He seems instead to be addressing historians past and present, constantly referring to old debates without really explaining why a modern reader should care, except that they once posed difficulties He prevaricates just as constantly, hedging his bets on what did or did not happen, rather than hazarding his own opinions, if he truly has any, based on the most likely course of events, and diverges too often in the armchair quarterbacking he also criticizesYou see what I mean If he had done what he set out to do, covered these events from a merely comprehensive manner, giving ample voice to the often voiceless, it would be a different book Instead he gives a few nods here and there and sometimes meaninglessly repeats himself , but otherwise sticks mostly to known figures, even if at times his depiction of those figures is engrossing A book you wish were better A book for readers who aren t asking too much, perhaps. If you re like me, a former 1970s era elementary school student, you got a fairly shallow treatment of the Revolutionary War era You might have learned about the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, the Declaration of Independence, and Washington s eventual victory.This book fills in some of the gaps, providing a deep discussion of the events taking place over six months in 1775 It begins with the political wrangling and debate, including the propaganda war between Britain and the Colonies Again, if you re like me, you have a tendency to get bogged down when reading period speech It s why Moby Dick took me so long to read, among many others And the first few chapters are rife with this, and with exposition setting up the action But it picks up As Revere and his two counterparts set out to warn the colonists of the Brits intention to seize weapons and gunpowder, the book seamlessly transitions to an adventure story, and becomes a page turner Revere is but one of many luminaries the book follows Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Israel Putnam, William Prescott, Ethan Allen, Artemas Ward, James Warren and Joseph Warren play essential roles on the American side along with, for a time, at least, Benedict Arnold On the British side are Generals Gage, Howe, Burgoyne and Clinton, along with Lord Hugh Percy, Admiral Graves and a smattering of other officers And we are given the words and writings of some characters often neglected by histories, including black men some slaves, some free , such as Peter Salem and Prince Estabrook, and women, such as Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren We are also treated to intrigues, the work of spies on both sides, whose names I won t reveal But the main cast consists of John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, the most prominent among the leaders in the growing rebel cause.Walter Borneman has done this before, bringing a dramatist s sensibility to history He does a wonderful job of pointing out the errors and missed opportunities on both sides, analyzing those first crucial battles with a tactical and strategic mindand pointing out the ironies inherent in a simmering fight for independence that, initially, did nothing to improve the independence of slaves or women At the same time, he suggests strongly that this turn toward independence, this result of a uniquely American mindset and experience, is what, much later, made possible the emancipation of slaves and the suffrage of women. When I read histories, I have a few criteria that divide the average from the elite Does the author engage me as a reader Does the book contain new information or present information in a way that I haven t seen before Do I have a clearer understanding of the topic In American Spring, Walter Borneman has met my criteria with flying colors The scope of Mr Borneman s tale is actually quite limited revolutionary actions and imperial reactions in the North American British colonies during the spring of 1775 In other words, our world is limited to the events leading to and encompassing Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill In some sense, it s a long journey in a short time from a generally loyal collection of colonies to a rebellion complete with a Continental Army.Along the way, Mr Borneman introduces us to a cast of characters, some very familiar, some vaguely familiar, and some complete strangers that we have the pleasure of meeting through his writing And, frankly, we spendtime with the cast of unknowns than we do with the cast of knowns , which in and of itself added to my enjoyment Mr Borneman also provides such wonderful detail of the events of that spring his thorough description of the battles of Lexington and Concord were among my favorites and I now have acomplete and visceral understanding of what those days in April and June of 1775 must have felt like, not only to the colonials, but to the British officers who were desperately trying to restore order and control.The bottom line if you have any interest in the American Revolution, this book should be in your library. American Spring is a so so primer for anyone wanting to get a feel for the first year of the Revolutionary War Taking place before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this book centers around the early battles 1775 between the British troops and American colonists at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.Walter Borneman is a decent history writer he is not in the ballpark of a David McCullough or Robert Remini, but he is able to write with a certain degree of spark American Spring has some decent details on the battles of Lexington and Concord, providing in depth analysis of how these battles began, unfolded, and ended a good bit of which I was initially unaware of He should receive credit for foregoing the easy pickings discussing men a lot of Americans already know about such as Washington and Franklin for lesser known players in the early portion of the war effort The inclusion of Thomas Gage s wife Margaret Kimble and Dr Joseph Warren are a few examples of this effort to encompassthan the standard Revolutionary War boilerplate.The closing portion of American Spring, which delves into granular detail about the Battle of Bunker Hill, was at times confusing it its descriptions but nevertheless riveting to follow American Spring was not in the top tier of U.S history reading, but it does nicely explain the very beginning of the Revolutionary War Andrew Canfield Denver, Colorado First, I should disclose that I received an advance uncorrected proof of American Spring Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution as part of a Goodreads first reads giveaway American Spring is a highly readable account of the first months of the American Revolution, roughly the first six months of 1775 The book begins with the seldom told story of a little know ride that Paul Revere made in December 1774 to warn New Hampshire that The regulars are coming This ride, made four months prior to hisfamous ride to Lexington and Concord, was to warn Portsmouth that the British were on their way in response to the colonist s seizing the powder and arms at Fort William and Mary on New Castle Island off of Portsmouth Harbor The British did eventually show up, but by then the rebels had dispersed and hidden the powder, so the British left The book then portrays the simmering atmosphere in the colonies during the months leading up to the shot heard round the world at Lexington and follows the the action through to the Battle of Bunker Hill and ends as George Washington arrives to take command of the colonials in July 1775 Borneman s battle narratives are vividly told The Battle of Bunker Hill is especially gripping There are also 10 maps that help to orient the reader to the areas and battlefields discussed Along the way, he introduces the major characters in the early days of the rebellion and provides a brief background of each He also addresses several myths that have arisen over the years as previous authors have repeated other authors speculations as facts Mr Borneman goes back to the source material some of which is newly available of letters, diaries, personal papers and official documents for verification rather than relying on the work of others I m now curious to read some of his other work including his books on the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 In some ways, the book reminded me of David McCullough s 1776 as both authors have an engaging narrative style and attention to accuracy American Spring would make a nice addition to anyone s Revolutionary War library. InAmerican Spring, Walter Borneman intends to give a history of the events of spring 1775 that helped launch the American Revolution This tumultuous time sparked the incidents that would go down in history as the start of the War of Independence.In his epilogue, Borneman says that he set out to tell a story, and that is exactly what he did He narrowed his narrative down to the events between March and June, with giving only a little bit of the pre and post history.In this, Borneman should be praised Other books I have read that try to focus on a specific time period find themselves all over the place But Borneman was able to stick with this narrow time frame and to give it the just attention it deserves.In this book, we get detailed descriptions of the people, places, and events that led to the war We hear from both sides what it was like and we are treated to almost an eyewitness level of attention that helps us understand the first battles of the Revolution Borneman makes sure that he references modern geography so that if we go and see these places like I did that we know what we are looking for This book does not read like a history book, nor does it read like a novel It is somewhere in between and offers us imaginative retellings but is also grounded in hard facts The writing is clear, not technical and easy to follow.I normally wouldn t recommend a history book as beach reading, but this one could be read a the beach or in the study I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in American history or the Revolution.Grade A


❮Read❯ ➲ American Spring  ➵ Author Walter R. Borneman –
  • Hardcover
  • 469 pages
  • American Spring
  • Walter R. Borneman
  • 09 August 2019
  • 9780316221023

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