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on October 20, 2015
Not just the drill manual reproduced, but also with the engraved plates showing what was being instructed. Also has the Militia Act of 1792, which should be in any rational discussion of the Second Amendment these days (all able-bodied men, 18-45, are in the militia, must provide own weapon and equipage to certain specifications, and train with everyone else). It also gives basic knowledge of what the duties of most ranks and specialists are; hospitals, camps, marches are covered in a very basic sense for the part-time soldier. The only problem I have with the book is it's such an exact reproduction, it uses the uncrossed lowercase 'f' instead of 's', which takes a lot of not quite getting used to when reading. It also covers only infantry, as I would guess the average person would not have the funds to be cavalry and artillery is probably the regular army's field of expertise. Note: there was an advice book that I had long ago, for British army officers that I got from Jockey Hollow in NJ. The instructions given to all the ranks in this book certainly make clear what was being parodied in the other one (old school army humor). I wish I had both of them, but I gave away the other one for the exact reason that I have a problem with this one...the odd 's' symbol used.
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VINE VOICEon September 23, 2007
Von Steuben's drill manual is of extrordinary importance for several reasons.

At the shallowest level, it is a primary source for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 reenactors. For 34 years, (1778-1812) this was THE book for the U.S. Army, so any reenactor interested in this period should start here.

Pertaining to the history of the U.S. Army, this was the first manual, the first set of standards in place in the army. The first of anything sets the tone for later developments, and any serious research about the U.S. Army or Army doctrine should start here.

As an enduring framework, the "Instructions" section is still echoed in U.S. Army leadership doctrine. The roles, responsibilities, and relationships of officers and non-commissioned officers haven't changed that much, especially when compared to the changes in tactics and technology in the intervening centuries. A regimental commander's "first and greatest care" should be "the preservation of the soldiers health", "A captain cannot be too careful of the company the state has committed to his charge", "the discipline and order of a company" depend upon the non-commissioned officers. All these ideas ring true whether the army was outfited with flintlocks or thermal-sighted gas-operated selective fire rifles. This continuity is of tremendous value to the spirit of a successful army.

This manual was also the instrument of a military transformation for the U.S. Army. Von Steuben arrived at the Continental Army's encampment, and popular legend in the U.S. Army is that he was so shocked by the lack of discipline and disorder that he sat down and wrote the first copy of this manual that very night. This is not true, as mentioned in the publisher's note, but by bringing military discipline to the Continental Army, a bunch of farmers and store clerks were able to turn the tides and defeat the premier ground forces of the era. Again, a significant event in the history of military science as well as American history.

As a fencer, I was a little disappointed. Although in the first chapter it mentions that officers and NCOs are to be armed with swords, there is no further mention of the use of swords. Other than this one shortcoming, this was a very enlightening book about the period, and is an influential manual with continuing significance to military science and U.S. Army history.
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on January 11, 2018
I use the book for Militia Drill as a Living History weapons demonstrator. While the orders and commands change with time, one still needs to know where all of our country's victories came from. It also gives you insight into what it was like to volunteer for the Militia, develop skills in firing and close order drills, and come back from a battle in one piece to tell about it. A "must read" for anyone doing 18th or 19th century reenactments or just a military history buff.
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on May 24, 2015
This is an excellent mark-up reference but it is very different from the original. I don't like the illustrations in the book as they are incomplete (not as many as the original) and split between pages rather than the fold-outs from the originals. Since it is a copy, but not facsimile version, it would be nice if the letters were typed in modern script to make it easier to read. Overall, it is a good academic reference since the wording is virtually identical to originals.
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on March 31, 2017
Used it for research paper and found it to be helpful and genuine in it's reprinting of Steuben's original field manual.
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on October 10, 2016
Any military historian, and any American serviceman, would benefit from just having read this book.
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on July 14, 2016
Necessary in every Rev war re-enactors haversack.
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on October 18, 2015
This version was better because it was cheaper. We need to get the word out about a great German hero who helped America win its independence.
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on September 21, 2012
The intriduction to the book was informative and was good to know.
The reproduction of the drill information was faithfully reproduced.
The problem I had was that I felt this book fell short of its potential. If this book is used as a text to help someone well-versed in the drills, then it fulfills the rquirement. If, however, you are trying to learn or visualize the drills without previous knowledge, then the lack of additional drawings and additional detail is quite apparent.
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on April 16, 2014
The book demonstrates how undisciplined colonial fighters were whipped into shape with military discipline by a German friend to the new republic.
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