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The Philadelphia Campaign: Volume One: Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia Kindle Edition

11 customer reviews

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Length: 420 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"The text is filled with intriguing details that contribute to understanding the personnel and military units involved. ... Recommended." --Choice, October 2007.

The Philadelphia Campaign is first-rate, an absorbing work of tenacious research and close scholarship. Thomas J. McGuire knows the time of the American Revolution and has been over the ground in and about Philadelphia in a way few writers ever have. But it is his empathy for the human reality of war and the great variety of people caught up in it, whether in the service of the king or the Glorious Cause of America, that makes this book especially alive and memorable. --David McCullough, author of John Adams and 1776

About the Author

Thomas J. McGuire teaches American history at Malvern Preparatory School, near Paoli, Pennsylvania, and is the author of Battle of Paoli (0811733378)

Product Details

  • File Size: 5127 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1St Edition edition (October 10, 2006)
  • Publication Date: October 10, 2006
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001QCY9RG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,541 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Hamill on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With the excellent "Paoli" under his belt, high expectations are reasonable for Thomas J. McGuire's two volumes on the Philadelphia campaign. As with his other books, this one is well written, well researched, and the author approaches the subject with sympathy for humanity. Fortunately, the New Jersey campaign in the first half of 1777 is dealt with, giving context for what follows. However McGuire doesn't give much attention to Howe's decision to approach Philadelphia by water, with the Chesapeake chosen instead of the Delaware, which is somewhat disappointing when compared to other books. Overall, the options available to commanders and the decisions that they made are not dealt with in much detail. The maps are essentially copies of wartime ones - but none include a scale. Maps, and lack thereof are, are the primary problem with the book. Without good maps, the operational maneuvers must be confusing to those not already familiar with the campaign. Despite having read about the battle and having explored the field, I found the book's treatment of the battle to be confusing at times - once again because of a lack of good maps. A lack of photos is also a disappointment, especially in light of the author's previous books. The detailed battle descriptions are a great strength of the book, but the book's problems sadly mean that it is suitable mainly for those already familiar with the campaign and battle, because only they will properly appreciate the book's excellent research.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Historicus on October 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thus far I have only read volume 1 of the set. The most impressive aspect is the author's use of a vast number of primary sources - really fine work amassing all of them. They are usually used effectively too, except that in the narrative of the battle of Brandywine the quotes are often used in ways that don't really support the story being told. The real problem with this book is the virtual absence of any useful maps. That's a major issue really; you get this detailed and lengthy look at the aforementioned battle, for example, but only one really inadequate map to assist you. It is the same with campaign maps; they just are not there. I think there are maybe four maps in the entire book, something like that. No matter how good the text, good military history books must have decent and numerous maps. Where are they? Not here. This may have been the decision by the editors, I don't know. But it detracts badly from an otherwise excellent piece of scholarship. If it sees a second printing I hope this will be corrected.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric Williams on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My wife bought me both volume one and two as a graduation present. This book was a real gem. (I will review volume two when I finish it) It has its quirks and caveats but I really enjoyed it.

The book is a compilation of primary sources so like Rebels and Redcoats it is the participants who speak rather then just the historians.

This of course can confuse the heck out of someone who lacks a general knowledge of the events. The reader must understand that each participant has a tunnel vision of their experience. This comes across quite clearly when you are reading battle accounts in this book. You will read sometimes five or six accounts of a small engagement and be baffled at the different points of view, so baffled that you may wonder if it is even the same engagement.

The historian steps in and guides you along though. The book also uses some maps drawn up by participants and this is most interesting, because the maps reflect what was known at the time.

The other bit of oddity is that the author has not changed the language, spelling, or punctuation in the snippets. Reading 18th century spelling, language, and punctuation may totally turn many readers off. I found it sometimes humorous and occasionally found it creeping into my own writing.

The book contains a glossary of 18th century military terminology in the back. Many readers will find this helpful as meanings of some words have changed since the 18th century. It also provided some interesting factoids that I was unaware of.

The book did suffer in the introduction. Though it did a very good job of covering the "Forage War" in New Jersey in the winter and spring of 1777, it provided no background to the choices and strategies taken in this "Year of the Hangman".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. G. Todd on July 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished volume one, and will go onto volume two shortly. Being native to the area discussed in this set, I have always wondered how after almost two and a half centuries there was such poor scholarship on the topic. I know everyone discusses the lack of maps, but I found that using the driving tour of Brandywine Battlefield was most helpful, as was a road atlas of Pennsylvania, which will not only help you understand routes covered and battles fought, but will help you retrace the footsteps of both armies. Okay, any future edition should have more maps, but the author has done us all a favor with his excellent scholarship and writing skills. Don't miss this! His Paoli book is outstanding as well, and yes, it does have more maps. Do yourself a favor and take these fine volumes to the battlefields themselves. You will be glad that you did.
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