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Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777 Hardcover – June 4, 2014


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Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777 + George Washington's Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America + American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie (June 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161121162X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611211627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael C. Harris is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the American Military University. He has worked for the National Park Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at Brandywine Battlefield. He has conducted tours and staff rides of many east coast battlefields. Michael is certified in secondary education and currently teaches in the Philadelphia region. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Michelle and son Nathanael.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book and very readable.
Forrest R. Lindsey
The initial thrust and parry between the armies in New Jersey during the spring of 1777 involved several small battles that are interesting in their own right.
Scott H. Washburn
Harris' "Brandywine" offers a much more digestible text and fairly good maps that makes understanding the battle much easier.
James M. Stone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Stong on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In the area of full disclosure I received this book as a gift. Normally I am loath to pay $27.00 for a history book. However, after reading Mr. Harris's work I would gladly pay that much for this work.
Brandywine much like Guilford Court House were both devastating losses to the the American forces at the time, but each played a role in the eventual defeat of the British Army.
I really appreciated how Mr. Harris brought the battle of Brandywine into focus and how the battle helped forge the Continental Army.
The only complaint I had with this book is there were two parts where i had to go back a make sure that the I had the right people in the right place that the author was describing.
In closing I highly recommend this book to anybody that has an interest in the battles of the American Revolution or military history - as well as a very good read for the history buff,
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wittenberg on August 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Having grown up approximately an hour from the battlefield, I have long fostered an interest in the Battle of Brandywine. Until Mike Harris' book was published this spring, there was a shocking lack of any in-depth study of the largest set-piece battle of the American Revolution. Perhaps it's because Brandywine was a defeat for George Washington and his army, or perhaps it's because the battlefield has been largely lost to development, but this important battle was largely ignored for too long. I've long waited for a good tactical treatment of this very interesting battle, and had largely given up on the prospect, so much so that I long toyed with the idea of writing my own.

And then this book came along. Mike Harris, a history teacher who formerly worked at the tiny state park next to the actual battlefield, has written a very deeply researched book that tells the story in full detail. Harris clearly knows and understands every inch of the terrain of the battlefield, and it shows. His modern-day photos and descriptions of the terrain clearly show how the terrain drove the action. Hal Jespersen's excellent maps also clearly show the troop movements and how they were impacted by the terrain. Harris' battle narrative is clear and easy to follow, and the prefatory materials provide all of the information needed to insure that the reader has a good understanding of the opposing forces and the tactics that they employed in fighting such battles. Harris goes into great detail about the opening phases of the campaign--some readers have complained about the fact that he takes 200 pages to get to the opening of the battle, but I enjoyed the detail a great deal--including a description of the difficult logistics of the 18th Century.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim on August 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Reminiscent of the works of David Hackett Fisher, this is a highly readable, exhaustively researched and extraordinarily detailed study of one of the most important yet least well known battles of the Revolutionary War. Because I live in the Brandywine Valley area of southeast Pennsylvania, I found it especially interesting, studded as it is with local color and lore, aided immensely by the included maps and photographs. I can't help but believe that Mr. Harris' book will become the definitive work on the subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James M. Stone on July 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Drove an hour up to the Brandywine visitor center to get a hard copy of this book (because the kindle version wasn't going to do it justice) and paid close to $40 for it. So obviously expectations were high, and the book didn't disappoint. One could argue that this book is a bit of a rehash of Tom Mcguire's Philadelphia Campaign series. However, if you found that book too comprehensive/technical/confusing (like I did at times) than this book is for you. Don't get me wrong, Tom Mcguire is an expert on the Philadelphia Campaign and his books are great, but there were certain parts of his book that would just lose the casual reader. Mcguire also didn't have very good maps which sometimes added to the confusion. Harris' "Brandywine" offers a much more digestible text and fairly good maps that makes understanding the battle much easier. I also like how Harris wrote a summary of the war and gave short bio's of the major players at the beginning of the book. There are a lot of characters in this story and for someone just starting to learn about the American Revolution is it great to know a little about them up front. This helps to enhance the overall story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Forfpest on September 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My bow to the author. Anyone interested in the Battle of Brandywine must read this book to better understand the strategic thinking of Philadelphia Campaign, the strategic and logistic advantages and difficulties of both armies, and "fog of war" that contrast planning and execution. David G. Martin and Thomas McGuire also write about Philadelphia Campaign, but they fall into two extremes. Matin's 1993 book lacks in-text citation, while McGuire's two volumes book in 2006 and 2007 are overcrowded with first-hand sources without proper interpretation (even though this is his intention). Harris' "Bradywine" not only strikes a good balance between these works, he also takes a few steps further. He has a clear sense of what he is building on and going against. Read the preface chapter and you will understand the many incorrect claims and myths of this ill-researched battle in the last two hundred years.

I would agree with what Jim said on August 15, 2014: this is on par with works of David Hackett Fischer. That said, it provides a definitive account only for the early half of Philadelphia Campaign. It draws you in, urges you to understand the whole campaign, then it stops at Brandywine. It is like you are taking the 1 train subway in NYC bound for 242th street, but then it stops at the 96th and says "sorry, we are not running further north this weekends, go check the shuttle buses". Fischer's Washinton's Crossing, on the other hand, a definitive work of the whole New York and New Jersey Campaign, is the A train that runs all the way from Long Island to Bronx.

I doubt Harris will ever read this, but I sincerely hope he will continue writing on this subject. We need more. For instant, the Battle of Germantown also lacks comprehensive study. The last book specify for this battle is a short one published by MuGuire in 1996, and it certainly deserves a complete revision like this.

Peter
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