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John Stark: Maverick General Hardcover – March 17, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Though we live in a time of unprecedented interest in the character of our founding fathers, many of the American Revolution's most important leaders have been overlooked. One of those forgotten is John Stark, a brilliant battlefield tactician from New Hampshire, whose decisive action at key points in the War of Independence helped determine its outcome.

In his biography, author Ben Z. Rose focuses on a handful of key people in John Stark's life in an effort to gain insight into his motivation and character. These include his wife, Elizabeth "Molly" Stark, who hailed from a prominent Puritan family; his oldest son, Caleb, who enlisted in the Continental Army at the age of 15; Robert Rogers, founder of the colonial ranger force that bears his name; Seth Warner, the Green Mountain Ranger who fought for Vermont's independence; fellow-New Hampshire Revolutionary War General John Sullivan, who fought alongside Stark at the Battle of Trenton; and Horatio Gates, who rivaled George Washington for leadership of the Continental Army.

John Stark inspired the phrase "Live Free or Die" in a letter to the citizens of Vermont almost 200 years ago during a Battle of Bennington reunion. Stark's sentiment at the time was clearly intended to warn against another British invasion, which occurred a short time later when the British burned down the US Congress during the War of 1812.

As we live in an age where the pendulum swings between concerns over the intrusion of government in our daily lives and fear of foreign enemies, Stark's words speak to us with the same relevance as he did more than 200 years ago.

From the Author

Staunchly independent and deeply suspicious of authority, John Stark disdained politics and was considered something of a renegade, even among his friends. Like General George Patton of a later era, Stark was brash, outspoken and suspicous of politicians who meddled in military affairs. I am hopeful that this modern interpretation of John Stark helps restore his stature among the most important generals of the War of Independence.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: TreeLine Press; first edition (March 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978912306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978912307
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Written by securities analyst and American history buff Ben Z. Rose, John Stark: Maverick General is the true story of John Stark, a brilliant battlefield commander hailing from New Hampshire, whose skill in leading the New England militia was critical in turning the tide of the American Revolutionary War. Chapters chronicle not only Stark's life, but also his character, which was fiercely independent and utterly distrustful of authority. His tactics included unconventional combat, and he applied his extensive knowledge of British military methods to seize victory in key battles. A fascinating, in-depth portrait of a military genius who shares responsibility with George Washington and the Founding Fathers for the birth of America.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Stolte on January 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After reading several books on the American Revolution and those who participated I started 3 more books recently. Rose's book on John Stark was my first of the three since I was eager to know more about Stark, who had been discussed briefly in several of the books I had read previously.

As a character study the book was good. It gave a lot of information about the people and events that helped shape Stark through his life. Firecely proud, patriotic and independent all at the same time, Stark is a character worth study. If you are looking for a character study on a Patriot, this is not a bad book to have.

Where I felt this book fell short was in the detail given to the battles he was involved in. For the battles in which Stark was involved there was little detail when compared to other Revolutionary war books. There was not a lot of information on the terrain, the strategy or the people involved. The Battle of Bennington, is perhaps the one exception to this. It was covered fairly well, but I was disappointed that a book specificly about Stark has less information on the battle than several other books I have read. Other battles, including his role at Breed's Hill and as support on the Canada mission were touched briefly and left me wanting.

For a casual reader on the war, a person looking more for character study than detailed participation this is a good book. Those more serious about studying the battles he was involved in will not find much of use here.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rose does a fine job presenting the history of John Stark, but it is a bit sloppy.

As with any book there are strengths and weaknesses in John Stark. Rose does a good job at staying neutral to both Stark and to those that Stark is in contact with. However, several times he uses anecdotal evidence, generally referenced as `according to stark family tradition'. Though the anecdotes may well illustrate Rose's point, they aren't an actual reliable source. On a positive note, however, Rose does always mention that it is according to tradition, allowing the reader to understand that what follows may nor may not be historically accurate. He may use the anecdote but he never makes the claim that it is fact.

Another weakness in the book is that Rose tends towards sloppy sentence structure and there are spelling errors in the book. This doesn't specifically reflect on the content of the book; however, it does tend to distract the reader.

Unfortunately what does reflect on the content is that Rose tends towards secondary sources. He does include many letters written by the people themselves, however, the bulk of his sourcing comes from other books. He quotes primary people but instead of using a primary source, like George Washington's actual letter, he quotes the letter from another book.

The book is well researched, and the author makes his case the General Stark was a unique figure among the American Revolutionary military leaders. Because of the weakness, however, John Stark is a good place to begin research on General Stark, but it is not a place to end. Rose does include references to other sources, which is helpful, as well as a list of primary source letters from the era.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. H. Hampton on July 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is extremely well done and easy to read. I am a professor of History in New Hampshire and a transplanted rebel. I found Ben's book to be alive and captivating, from Stark's early life in Roger's Rangers through the Revolution to his later years. Ben's attention to detail is first rate. He has helped me understand General Stark even better. General Stark was a man of a few words, he let his actions speak volumes for him. The title alone describes John Stark to a "T". He was the "Maverick General", a true rebel and a devoted patriot. Ben's book captures the essence of the man and his service to the new United States of America. He has shown General Stark as the citizen turned hero to answer his country's call and then he returns to civilian life, seeking no glory for himself. I am requiring my fall American History classes to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Ryan on June 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! I couldn't put it down. Stark IS an American Hero. Ben Rose did a great job outlining the history of the era. He really put John Stark's heroics in context. The only part I don't believe is the John Stark quote before the Native Americans forced him to run the gauntlet - "I KISSED all your women". Really? Kissed?

Somebody should make a movie about Stark. General John Stark would make Rambo look like a sally.
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