George Washington at Valley Forge, Benedict Arnold's treason at West Point, Corwallis's defeat at Yorktown--these are the characters and events most Americans remember from their high-school history lessons about the Revolutionary War. Yet the war itself is so removed from us in time, its villains and heroes so remote, that it fails to grasp the place in popular imagination occupied by the Civil War, the two World Wars, or even Vietnam. Benson Bobrick's fresh account of the Revolutionary War, Angel in the Whirlwind
, might just change all that. The secret to Bobrick's success lies in his entertaining, lively prose, and--more importantly--in his choice of focus: this account of the American Revolution weaves the fortunes of two of its more fascinating participants, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, into its larger story. Washington's fascination is rooted in his military genius and talent for leadership, Arnold's in his flawed character. At once a fearless soldier and a greedy opportunist, Arnold's perfidy makes an interesting counterpoint to Washington's heroism.
Bobrick does a fine job of covering the ins and outs of this extraordinary war, giving readers enough background to understand the complexities of the issues that led to the Declaration of Independence by taking them through the war years leading to Washington's inauguration. Better yet, he creates a sense of the times in which these stirring events occurred, limning the details of the common people's lives and attitudes to add a sense of immediacy. Angel in the Whirlwind is popular history at its best; George Washington would be proud.
From Library Journal
Bobrick (Knotted Tongues, LJ 2/15/95) offers here a glorious retelling of the American Revolution, comparable to Don Cook's The Long Fuse (Grove, 1994). It brings to life the major characters of the revolution and gives readers an excellent glimpse of life in Colonial America. The scope is broad and sweeping, ranging from the end of the French and Indian War to the end of the Revolutionary War, with brief coverage of the framing of the Constitution and the inauguration of Washington. No new historical revelations are to be found here, but the work is a superb dramatic narrative and is most certainly an encouraged purchase.?Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
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