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Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution (Simon & Schuster America Collection) Paperback – July 12, 2011

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George Washington at Valley Forge, Benedict Arnold's treason at West Point, Corwallis's defeat at Yorktown--these are the characters and events most Americans remember from their high-school history lessons about the Revolutionary War. Yet the war itself is so removed from us in time, its villains and heroes so remote, that it fails to grasp the place in popular imagination occupied by the Civil War, the two World Wars, or even Vietnam. Benson Bobrick's fresh account of the Revolutionary War, Angel in the Whirlwind, might just change all that. The secret to Bobrick's success lies in his entertaining, lively prose, and--more importantly--in his choice of focus: this account of the American Revolution weaves the fortunes of two of its more fascinating participants, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, into its larger story. Washington's fascination is rooted in his military genius and talent for leadership, Arnold's in his flawed character. At once a fearless soldier and a greedy opportunist, Arnold's perfidy makes an interesting counterpoint to Washington's heroism.

Bobrick does a fine job of covering the ins and outs of this extraordinary war, giving readers enough background to understand the complexities of the issues that led to the Declaration of Independence by taking them through the war years leading to Washington's inauguration. Better yet, he creates a sense of the times in which these stirring events occurred, limning the details of the common people's lives and attitudes to add a sense of immediacy. Angel in the Whirlwind is popular history at its best; George Washington would be proud. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bobrick (Knotted Tongues, LJ 2/15/95) offers here a glorious retelling of the American Revolution, comparable to Don Cook's The Long Fuse (Grove, 1994). It brings to life the major characters of the revolution and gives readers an excellent glimpse of life in Colonial America. The scope is broad and sweeping, ranging from the end of the French and Indian War to the end of the Revolutionary War, with brief coverage of the framing of the Constitution and the inauguration of Washington. No new historical revelations are to be found here, but the work is a superb dramatic narrative and is most certainly an encouraged purchase.?Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Simon & Schuster America Collection
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451626991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451626995
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powers TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Angel in the Whirlwind," written by Benson Bobrick, a teacher and author living in Vermont, is an excellent history of the war that resulted in the birth of our great nation. It's a book that doesn't attempt to break any new ground with "revisionist" historical theories. Instead, readers will find a good solid narrative of the events that led up to the Revolution, and of the war itself.

"Angel in the Whirlwind" begins by tracing the roots of the American Revolution. According to Bobrick, the American concept of liberty was born in the crucible of the Seven Years' War (1756-1763). During this period, colonial legislatures took it upon themselves to govern themselves. They regulated their own commerce and levied their own taxes with almost no interference from the British government. After the Seven Years' War ended, the British government once again began exercising its prerogative to regulate colonial commerce and impose new taxes. The result: political protest that eventually evolved into open rebellion.

Most of "Angel in the Whirlwind" concerns itself not with an analysis of the war's causes, but with the fighting of the war itself. Bobrick masterfully traces the major battles of the War for Independence, from the "shot heard `round the world" at Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, to the final surrender of Lord Cornwallis' forces to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781. In between these key events, readers will be swept along by the tremendous courage of colonial troops at Bunker Hill, Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, and Saratoga; the incredible suffering at Valley Forge and Morristown, New Jersey; and the internecine conflict between Loyalist and Patriot throughout the war...
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Gillis on September 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Angel in the Whirlwind is a one-volume narrative history of the American Revolution. Although not as quickly paced as Bobrick's earlier works on Russia, "Angel" is well-written and quite enjoyable. I was particularly impressed by the effort to provide background and context for the events of 1775-1783: the first 20% of the book gives information on life in the colonies and the evolving (i.e., deteriorating) relationship between Britain and the future US. The first shots at Lexington green don't appear in the book until page 117 (of 495).
All the characters and events one would expect are here. I have two quibbles with the presentation: (1) It would have been nice to see more discussion of why the British gave up after Yorktown; and (2) (as with almost every book of this type published today) More maps are needed!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Culbreth on September 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I came to Amazon looking for a good overview of the Revolutionary War, having forgotten many of the events that led to the creation of this country. I found it in Bobrick's Angel in the Whirlwind.
The book starts with the events leading to disunion with Great Britain. Bobrick clearly lays out the reasons for the war, offering the reader a good background on what was to come.
The war is told more or less chronologically, with some skipping about to more effectively address certain points. Perhaps some additional maps and timelimes throughout the book would have helped in the overall presentation, but an astute reader will follow along well.
I can't recommend the book enough to anybody wishing to revisit this amazing time in the world's history.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brent Tomberlin on June 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was a good overview of the American Revolutionary period. The chapter on colonial society was one of the finest I ever read. The author gives a great narrative of the battles and sometimes, I could not put it down. I think that several more maps would have helped to give the readers more of an immediate sense of things, but I know the author wanted to tell the story. I felt it was a little difficult to determine the action of things without them though. I was especially impressed with the author's ability to undo a lot of the elementary school jargon concerning the men and women of the time. It is nice to know that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the other fathers and mothers had issues to work through too. It accents a point I tell my students - that people in the grand span of time have not changed a whole lot - that they dealt with good, evil, and all the personality whoopla. Bobrick's ability to see the revolution through the leaders and the common person really is the genious of this book. It was a time that tried men's souls and they were at a loss sometimes to do something. The other genious of the work is how the author showed how they worked through their problems and finished the job. A lot of people cannot do that today. A great read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy M. Nelson on June 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the first history of the American Revolutionary period that I actually enjoyed reading "for fun." Mr. Bobrick's obvious skills as an author have turned this exciting and inspirational period into just that. I knew this book was going to be fantasic about half way through the chapter on colonial America. While his focus is not on this period, Mr. Bobrick brings this era to life with colorful stories and interesting facts. I am a high school history teacher and am always on the look out for great stories and "interesting" history. THIS IS IT!!!
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