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A THOROUGH AND SOMETIMES TEDIOUS STUDY,
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This review is from: My American Revolution: A Modern Expedition Through History's Forgotten Battlegrounds (Hardcover)
Robert Sullivan's recreation of the American Revolution relative to New York, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania is scholarly and astute. There is a tendency towards drifting around the subject and overwriting some details, but it's an interesting book.
Sullivan did a lot of traveling in the area, speaking with interesting people, and suffering with the weather extremes, but he certainly didn't endure as much as the original participants. I've always admired the zeal and hardiness of history recreaters but never stop wondering about their grasp on reality. Although their discomfort is not near that of the original participants, one has to wonder why rolling around in the dirt in a stuffy tent, eating gritty meals and drinking tepid water, and wearing scratchy uniform remnants beats watching Saturday afternoon football with a bowl of popcorn and a beer.
The author has a penchant for the past and how modern advancements have changed the landscape. He apparently enjoys recreating in his mind how it was before speeding automobiles and concrete byways pushed plains, marshes, and rocky hills into oblivion. I enjoyed his reflections to a point. However, they tended to get labored and overstated at times. I struggled on, searching for the wit and insight that some reviewers promised. Good stuff did appear to make it worth the effort.
Sullivan's use of footnotes deserves some criticism. There were too many and they were too lengthy. Some rambled on for a couple of pages. Better, I think, would have been to edit them down and insert them into the main text. I found myself either skimming them or not reading them at all so as not to lose the continuity of the author's main points.
I would recommend MY AMERICAN REVOLUTION to natives of the area and hard core history addicts who've read almost everything else about the war. If I needed profound background on the rebellion I would certainly include information found here. It is probing and, no doubt, accurate.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
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Initial post: Nov 25, 2012 6:08:10 AM PST
Thank you! I was wondering if I was the only person who noticed how the footnotes often overwhelmed the text.
Indeed, the footnotes often went too far afield of the book's topic.
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Location: Wilsonville OR
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