Article

American War of Independence

Ricardo A. Herrera

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0011
American War of Independence

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What had once been the preserve of popular writers trumpeting American battlefield prowess against British military conservatism has become an increasingly sophisticated field of study, albeit not without its professional challenges. Indeed, in the years since the rise of new military history in the 1960s and 1970s, academic historians have entered the fray and contributed deeper analyses and more sophisticated, critical, and nuanced narratives to the field. Three broad concentrations characterize histories of the American War of Independence. The first, a traditional vein, lends itself to the operational and institutional realms of the war, those of campaigns, battles, logistics, and of the armies and navies. Almost a Miracle by John Ferling (see Ferling 2007, cited under General Overviews) stands out for its breadth and its stress on the war’s contingent nature. Some works purposefully overlap with the other concentrations—political and diplomatic, and social and cultural. One landmark study, Charles Royster’s A Revolutionary People at War (Royster 1979, cited under Continental Army), considers military service within a cultural context, while E. Wayne Carp’s To Starve the Army at Pleasure (Carp 1984, cited under Continental Army) overlaps the political realm. Political and diplomatic emphases continue as a vibrant subset. One of the more significant works, Brendan Simms’s Three Victories and a Defeat (Simms 2009, cited under Diplomacy), places the war within Britain’s larger diplomatic and grand strategic context. Naturally, social and cultural histories have also played a role in the direction and shape of scholarship, such as in Caroline Cox’s A Proper Sense of Honor (Cox 2004, cited under Continental Army), which clearly evinces the impact of Royster 1979. Standing back, these three broad threads, each distinctive, but not without some degree of overlap, constitute the main thrusts in the history of the American War of Independence. Necessarily, any bibliography dealing with a subject examined so often, and so well, must be highly selective.

Article.  14037 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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