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American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution Hardcover – May 6, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316221023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316221023
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Popular military historian Borneman (1812, 2004; The Admirals, 2012) presents the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1775. As the arc of his narrative touches the familiar landmarks, from the Battle of Lexington to the Battle of Bunker Hill, an avid American history buff will look for what distinguishes Borneman’s account and find it in two respects, debate with prior historians on disputed points (e.g., responsibility for the first shot fired at Lexington) and thematic emphasis of the pressure on individuals to choose sides, with the rebels or the loyalists, as political polarization galloped apace in early 1775. With Benjamin Franklin’s family as one of several examples of divided sentiments, Borneman constructs a general narrative that depicts British operations around Boston to seize the patriots’ military supplies, one of which, of course, ignited the explosion at Lexington and Concord. Including supporting scenes, such as debate in the Continental Congress, Borneman’s saga proves to be capably constructed and accessible to an audience looking for an introduction to these epic events in American history. --Gilbert Taylor


Praise for American Spring:

"Likely to be one of the enduring accounts of the opening of the American Revolution.... Loaded with intriguing details, sort of historical nonpareil candies sprinkled throughout the account.... A pleasing marriage of scholarly research and approachable language."—David Shribman, Boston Globe

"Walter Borneman has written an engaging and illuminating account of some of the most critical weeks in American history. Here is how it all began." -- Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

"Borneman delivers a gripping, almost moment-by-moment account of the nasty exchanges and bloody retreat of British troops followed by hundreds and then thousands of militia who camped around Boston and laid siege.... A first-rate contribution."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for The Admirals:

"Superbly reported... Historian Walter R. Borneman tackles the essential question of military leadership: What makes some men, but not others, able to motivate a fighting force into battle?" -- Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

"Engagingly written and deeply researched... Mr. Borneman makes it easy to understand the complex series of maneuvers and counter-maneuvers at Leyte Gulf...which is not always the case with accounts of the battle." -- Andrew Roberts, Wall Street Journal

"The first book to deal with the four [admirals] together, focusing on their intertwined lives, friendships, and rivalries.... Very well-crafted." -- John Lehman, Washington Post

"A riveting introduction to the only four men in American history to have been promoted to the five-star rank of Admiral of the Fleet in recognition of their extraordinary feats." -- The History Channel

"An epic group portrait of Nimitz, Halsey, Leahey, and King. Not since the heyday of Samuel Eliot Morison has a historian painted such a fine portrait of the five-star admirals who helped America beat Japan during the Second World War. Highly recommended!" -- Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior

"They were completely different in temperament and personality, but the U.S. Navy's four five-star admirals in World War II shared a sense of vision, devotion, and courage. Walter Borneman has written a rousing tale of victory at sea." -- Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers

"This is Walter Borneman at his best. The portrait of the forgotten admiral, Leahy, is worth the whole book. But there's scarcely a page where a reader won't learn something unexpected, and occasionally shocking." -- Thomas Fleming, author of Time and Tide

Customer Reviews

If you have time for a third book, I would go for Bunker Hill.
The strong assets of this book include great readable maps so lacking in many history books!
C. M Mills
Anyone interested in the beginning of truly American history will enjoy this book.
Andrew Wyllie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By troutguy on May 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In his fast-moving treatise on the origins of the American Revolution, Walter Borneman examines the critical first six months of 1775. Focusing on personages and events surrounding Boston, the book rightfully casts American rebels Sam and John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and Joseph Warren in key roles, but gives prominent British officers like Thomas Gage, Lord Percy and William Howe respectful treatment as well. Borneman is not content to merely retell stories that have attained legendary status, but digs deeply into many primary sources in order to paint a fuller picture of events than is usually offered. His particular attention to the roles of women and minorities is helpful to this end. Those who enjoy rehearsing the political ferment of the time will enjoy Borneman's insights on Ben Franklin's diplomacy and the intrigue surrounding General Gage's wife, Margaret. Military historians will delight in the very detailed recounting of the battles of Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, and the lesser-known "naval" battles of Grape and Noddle's Islands. American Spring's strength lies in taking the reader into the heart of the action, whether it is with John Adams and his verbal sparring with 'Massachusettensis' or digging fortifications with Israel Putnam. Readers looking for a "sense of the times" and a refreshing variety of personal perspectives on the impending revolution will find many treasures in this highly readable work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JFleit on May 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
American Spring relives the early months of 1775, as the stage is set for the American Revolution. Borneman’s extensive research and storytelling skills bring history to life in this critical period of America’s history. This book provides a deep appreciation for the tenuous circumstances and extreme hardships upon which our nation was ultimately founded. Borneman’s dedication to historical accuracy and his engaging writing style brings history to life and makes this a truly enjoyable read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Floyd on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In American Spring, Walter Borneman continues to deliver history to his readers in the form of a narrative that flows with chronological clarity, yet includes buckets of facts either ignored or overlooked by most history books. Like most Americans, I heard and read the more famous stories of this period, but it is only when I find such a book such as this, that digs deeper into the individual events and personalities that by design or by accident ultimately result in the major events that are known to the general public, that I feel more than adequately rewarded for my reading effort. Confined to a few, critical, early months of the revolt, American Spring will give most readers a fresh insight to exactly how the colonial rebels arrived on Lexington Green, at Concord, and on Bunker's Hill for the inevitable actions that followed. Anyone with any amount of historical curiosity will find pleasure in Borneman's latest book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John P Murphy on May 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A wonderful review of the happenings in novel form that flowed in a way as to portray a continuous story. The questioning of some myths was a refreshing review of oft repeated history by writers that use each others data to perpetrate self created "facts". Boreman's questioning these myths gave a better sense of history that likely took place.
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Format: Hardcover
American Spring is the story of the American revolutionary movement in the first six months of 1775. Walter R. Borneman is a well respected historian of such works as "The French and Indian War": and "The War of 1812." This new book is the kind of volume which whets the interest of readers in learning more about the glorious nation we call the United States!
The book deals with such important events on the road to freedom as":
a. Paul Revere and Rufus Dawes ride into the Massachusetts night to inform their fellow patriots as to the British plan to seize weapons in Concord.
b. The first fights of the war at Lexington and Concord are analyzed in depth by the author. Especially fascinating was the British retreat back to Boston. The skirmishes were a wake up call to the British troops under General Howe. Boston was quickly beseiged by rebellious colonists.
c. The author covers the political developments from the formation of the First Continental Congress in the fall of 1774 to the Second Continental Congress in the spring of 1775. This momentous congress appointed George Washington as commander of the colonial troops while John Hancock was elected president of the Congress. Benjamin Franklin was in attendance adding his wit and wisdom to the proceedings. Franklin's son William was the Loyalist Governor of New Jersey. The Franklin father and son were estranged.
d. The book culminates with the battle of Bunker Hill fought in Charlestown in June 1775.
e. The author quotes first person accounts of the historical happenings including the views and lifestyle of colonial women and African-American individuals.
I have read several books on these topics but this is the book I would use in teaching a course to high school/college students.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul on December 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a lot of respect for Walter Borneman, and enjoyed his book on the admirals of the second world war.
This book is ok, but for me it was slow and nothing much new and going back over material covered a thousand times in other books. The killing at Lexington and Concord was the culmination of a long progress of mistakes, largely made by the British Parliament and 1772 was the defiant year when Rhode Islanders burned the stranded Gaspee.
Perhaps I was spoiled by Nick Bunker's book AN Empire on the Edge which went into much more detail with the events in London and the economic collapse of 1772 there.
This book is somewhat window dressing. Interesting enough but not compelling.
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More About the Author

Walter R. Borneman writes about American military and political history. His latest book, THE ADMIRALS: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea (Little, Brown, 2012), is the story of the only four men in American history to achieve the rank of fleet admiral. Together they transformed the American navy with aircraft carriers and submarines and won World War II.

Recent titles include POLK: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America (Random House, 2008), which won the Tennessee History Book Award and the Colorado Book Award for Biography, and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation (HarperCollins, 2004). He lives in Colorado and has spent many days climbing its mountains.

QUOTE: My overriding goal in writing history has been to get the facts straight and then present them in a readable fashion. I am convinced that knowing history is not just about appreciating the past, but also about understanding the present and planning for the future.

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