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Becoming Men of Some Consequence: Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War (Jeffersonian America) Hardcover – December 15, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


John Ruddiman puts the history of manhood at the center of his well-written, fresh look at the American Revolution. He presents the challenges and opportunities that the war offered the young men serving under General George Washington. In addition, he persuasively argues that the consequences for these soldiers resonate with the problems modern veterans still face today.

(Lisa Wilson, Connecticut College, author of Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England)

By reading the journals, letters, pension narratives, and memoirs of Continental soldiers in light of the life-course expectations and strategies of eighteenth-century men, John Ruddiman brilliantly illuminates the hopes, experiences, and disappointments of the Revolutionary generation. Anyone interested in learning what American Independence meant to the men who risked their lives to achieve it could do no better than to start with this eloquent, moving book.

(Fred Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder, author of Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766)

John A. Ruddiman makes a significant contribution to the new military history pioneered by John Shy and Charles Royster, among others. This genre has deepened our understanding of race, gender, class, ideology, community,public policy, and veterans’ lives in the revolutionary era; Ruddiman adds young men to this list.... Overall, Ruddiman has added an important voice to the conversation about the Continental Army and the revolutionary era.

(Journal of American History)

[A] deeply researched and very fine book... [Ruddiman's] central claim is that an emphasis on soldiers’ relative youth and unsettled life circumstances yield a new perspective on the conflict. In particular, Becoming Men of Some Consequence aims to show how soldiers approached military service as a means to establish the social relationships and economic competence that would allow them to attain manly independence.

(The Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth)

[Ruddiman] actually provides an important reminder about the men who committed to fight directly for Washington in the War for Independence…Making excellent use of primary documents, Ruddiman allows the soldiers themselves to tell most of the story.

(Steven C Eames, Mount Ida College The Historian)

About the Author

John A. Ruddiman is Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University.

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