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Monmouth Court House: The Battle that Made the American Army Hardcover – June 28, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOSEPH G. BILBY received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University. Mr. Bilby served as a lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam and is author of many books on military history, including A Revolution in Arms: A History of the Repeating Rifle, also available from Westholme Publishing. KATHERINE BILBY JENKINS received her BA in history from Fordham University and MA in history from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She currently works for the state of New Jersey.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1st Edition edition (June 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594161089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594161087
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Joseph G. Bilby was born in Newark, New Jersey, received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served as a lieutenant in the First Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-1967 and in the Army Reserve as assistant economics officer in the 303rd Civil Affairs Company from 1968-1970. He is retired from his position as Supervising Investigator for the New Jersey Department of Labor, has taught military history on the community college level and lectured widely on Civil War and New Jersey history. He is currently part time Assistant Curator of the New Jersey National Guard and Militia Museum in Sea Girt, New Jersey and a free lance writer and historical consultant. He is the author, editor or co-author of fifteen books and over 400 articles on New Jersey history and folklore, military history and Outdoor subjects in both Internet and print venues and also a columnist for The Civil War News and New Jersey Sportsmen News.
Mr. Bilby has appeared on the History Channel's Civil War Journal, the Discovery Channel's Discovery Magazine, and RTE, the Irish National television network, as an expert on the Civil War and 19th century firearms, and wrote the historical liner notes for David Kincaid's CD albums The Irish Volunteer and The Irish American's Song. He was a panelist for the NJ Historical Commission's 1996 seminar on Civil War Studies and is a Trustee of the NJ Civil War Heritage Association, a member and publications editor of New Jersey's official Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee and content editor of the Committee's website. He has lectured widely in New Jersey, at libraries, bookstores, historical societies and historical events, from Cape May to Sussex Counties.
Since the publication of the first edition of Three Rousing Cheers: A History of the 15th New Jersey Infantry from Flemington to Appomattox, in 1992, Mr. Bilby has written Forgotten Warriors: New Jersey's African-American Civil War Soldiers, Remember Fontenoy: The 69th New York and the Irish Brigade in the Civil War, co-edited My Sons Were Faithful and They Fought: The Irish Brigade At Antietam, and co-authored Remember You Are Jerseymen: A Military History of New Jersey's Troops in the Civil War with William C. Goble. All were published by Longstreet House, Hightstown, NJ. He received a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to assist in the research for Three Rousing Cheers, and Forgotten Warriors received a publication grant from the same institution. Remember Fontenoy was awarded the 1997 William Donovan Award for Excellence in Military Literature and, in a softbound edition as The Irish Brigade in the Civil War, published by Da Capo Press, was a Military Book Club selection and is currently available as a Kindle title. Mr. Bilby's Civil War Firearms, initially published by Combined Publications and now by Da Capo, is in its third printing, was a Military Book Club selection, runner-up in the history category in the 1997 Small Press Book Awards and received the Louisiana State University Civil War Center's Award of Excellence. His book A Revolution in Arms: A History of the First Repeating Rifles, was published by Westholme Publishing in November, 2005. Westholme also published his Small Arms at Gettysburg in December, 2007. His Sea Girt: A Brief History, was published by The History Press in July, 2008 and his Asbury Park: A Brief History, co-authored with Harry Ziegler, was published by The History Press in May, 2009. In 2010 he edited New Jersey Goes To War, a book on 150 of the state's personalities of the Civil War era, for the Sesquicentennial Committee. His history of the Battle of Monmouth, Monmouth Courthouse: the Battle that Made the American Army, co-authored with Katherine Bilby Jenkins, was published by Westholme in June 2010 and was a Military Book Club selection. Freedom to All, his new book on the Civil War and other military experiences of New Jersey's African-American soldiers, was published by Longstreet House in 2011, as was New Jersey's Civil War Odyssey, which he edited for the Sesquicentennial Committee. He is currently writing a military history of New Jersey for Westholme, and has co-authored, with James M. Madden and Harry Ziegler, Hidden History of New Jersey, New Jersey history stories from 1755 to 1951, published in November 2011 by the History Press. He recently worked with the firearms curator of the Dutch National Military Museum on the English translation of a book on the museum's collection of historic arms.
Mr. Bilby also contributed a number of entries on historical and outdoor subjects to the Encyclopedia of New Jersey (Rutgers University Press, 2004). A second, expanded, edition of his history of the 15th New Jersey Infantry was published in July 2001. He was appointed a Guest Curator for the New Jersey State Museum's New Jersey Civil War flags exhibit, which was opened to the public on October 26, 2000, a consultant to the Middlesex County Heritage Commission's 2004 Civil War exhibit, a member of the Board of Review for the Princeton Historical Society's 2007 Civil War exhibit and has reviewed and edited manuscripts for Rutgers and the State University of New York presses. He was the 2011 recipient of the Jane G. Clayton Award, annually presented by the Monmouth County Clerk to honor an individual who, over a substantial number of years, has made exceptional contributions to an awareness, understanding, and/or preservation of the history of Monmouth County, New Jersey. New Jersey Goes to War, which he edited, was named the "Best New Jersey Reference Book" for 2010 by the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance, and he is also the recipient of a 2011 New Jersey Historical Commission Award of Merit for his work on the state's military history. Mr. Bilby is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Society of the First Infantry Division and the Company of Military Historians. He is married, has three grown children and lives at the New Jersey shore.

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Format: Hardcover
In the product description, it read that the author put this battle within the context of the American Revolution. That description was no lie. Most of the book had little or nothing to do with the Battle of Monmouth Court House. Of the 261 pages of narrative, only about 45 pages deal with the battle and it many aspects. In those pages, it not only discussed the battle but all the legends, stories and other tidbits that went with the battle. What the book does discussed is the development of the American Army during the American Revolutionary War and that is more or less, the main subject of the book.

The book is well written and researched but it is rather an introductory level material. Veteran readers of the American Revolution won't learn anything new here. The information level is more or less for beginner readers of the subject. While the Battle of Monmouth Court House is the main battle discussed in this book, once again, it nice if you know nothing about the battle but if you are well familiar with the battle, this book adds nothing more. Its account is more or less, rather generic in nature. But by reading this book, you will probably agreed with the author that Battle of Monmouth Court House finally saw the American Army fighting as equals to the British military in terms of discipline, order and professionalism.

So in conclusion, if you were hoping for a detail, scholarly work on Monmouth Court House, you won't get it here. But if you were looking for some background military history leading up to this battle, this book may fit your bill. I gave this book three stars because when I began to read it, I was hoping that it was a book on the Battle of Monmouth Court House as the main subject. I was bit disappointed that it was not. Osprey's Campaign book on this subject will give you a greater understanding of the battle then this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This battle was the largest fought in the American Revolution. No larger battle has ever been fought in the entire Northeast of the United States. Yet, there is a surprising paucity of books concerning this pivotal event. Why is this so? Monmouth certainly gets mentioned in every history of the Rev War, but in-depth studies are scarce. William Stryker wrote a full length history many years ago, and while its comprehensive, the author's bias is decidedly slanted toward the patriot cause. Stryker does provide a more detailed description of the battle, but with some unfortunate errors. In particular noting that the British attacks upon the Hedgerow and elsewhere were in column! Certainly no such formation was ever employed at this or any other Rev War battle. I credit the current work with not making this mistake again.

The current authors unfortunately have not created the dffinitive study of the battle however. Too much time is wasted covering local New Jersey events during the Rev War. For sure the significant amount of infighting between Loyalist and Rebel was a key element of the conflict in this divided region, but it bears little importance on the Monmouth Campaign and battle itself. The authors would have done better to have written a separate book chronicling the Civil War in Jersey and concentrated instead on Monmouth.

With less than 300 pages too much time is taken up with background events, local history, and descriptions of the armies, leaders and equipment. For sure the book does pick up when the authors discuss the armies and leaders as it is here that we begin to get some idea what the decisive encounter in New Jersey might look like.
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with lordhoot's review. The details on the battle itself are sketchy, and the author does not seem to have used pension applications much. No good map of battlefield is given, and the author's description of the events is muddled.
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Format: Hardcover
When the Continental Army left Valley Forge in the spring of 1778 George Washington was spoiling for a fight. His force which had been trained by Von Steuben was looking for the chance to prove itself to the British. On a brutally hot June 28th 1778, the Americans struck at Monmouth Courthouse in Central Jersey. The next day after the battle the British marched to the safety of New York City. History records the battle as a draw but the British never returned to N.j. in strength. The battle was one of the largest of the war and many luminaries were there.( Washington, Lafayette, Hamilton,Burr, Wayne, Cornwallis and others.
The battle has long deserved a full length study. Joseph Bilby and Katherine Bilby Jenkins ( father and daughter) has written a very in depth study of the engagement that is long and detailed on the events leading up to the battle but their examination of the battle itself is rather brief. Nevertheless the early chapters are quite interesting. They set a fascinating tone with setting the stage in a revolutionary New Jersey which has a fair amount of loyalists. The authors continue with discussions of the opposing forces,life in the military and examinations of tactics and weapons. The actual focus on the battle is short. This battle deserves more attention for the army that marched on Yorktown acquitted itself well at Monmouth.This book is interesting and the authors have a real grasp on military life but the definitive book on this crucial battle is yet to be written.
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