- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Nautical & Aviation Pub Co of Amer; First edition (November 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1877853712
- ISBN-13: 978-1877853715
- Package Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,458,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cool Deliberate Courage: John Eager Howard in the American Revolution First Edition
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Top customer reviews
Having just written an article about Robert Kirkwood in the Southern Campaign, I was delighted to see so many of my favorite stories retold.
Although the Southern Campaign has been written about many, many times, and there is not much new material here, Piecuch and Beakes are readable writers with a firm grasp on the facts.
Nice bibliography and end notes for each chapter are useful and well-done.
John Eager Howard, born in Maryland in 1752, seems cut from the same perceptional cloths that we have of famous figures like Washington, Jefferson, and Nathaniel Greene. Born of a landowner family, educated in local schools, and called to serve because of his belief that the British colonies suffered under British rule, Howard rose steadily through the ranks the "hard way". I was struck how he could have "bought" his way to higher commissions, but instead chose to come up through the ranks, learning to be a soldier and earning the respect of his troops, fellow officers and senior commanders. The book reveals Howard to be one of those rare men who understands that leadership, knowledge, responsibility and hard work are the great callings of men in difficult and trying times.
Beakes and Piecuch do an excellent job of chronicling the service of John Eager Howard from organizing troops in New Jersey, to historic battles in the Carolinas. Howard rose from Lieutenant to the rank of Colonel serving with great honor through many battles that, as a novice reader of Revolutionary War battles, I had never heard of. Battles at the Cowpens, the Guilford Courthouse, and Hobkirk's Hill, to name just a few, are presented in vivid detail from both the strategic perspective and the very personal perspective of the officers and troops who fought bravely. Although, I generally think of myself as well read, my one great lesson that I have taken from this book is that I am sorely lacking in the true understanding of these pivotal events that shaped the founding of our country.
The final chapter of the book focuses on the final 36 years of Howard's life that in some ways understates our understanding and appreciation of this time period. Howard served in the Senate and was a fine businessman, family man, and early believer in causes such as the problems with slavery and racism.
The authors, admittedly basing this book on a "small number of documents that have lain largely unexplored for over two hundred years", have offered a riveting and detailed account that goes beyond mere historical accounting to reach for inspirational tones of great men in great times who fought for causes that we have little appreciation for in modern times.
In writing this review, I have two things to admit. First, I am well acquainted with John Beakes and have had many conversations about the book prior to its publishing. With that said, I have enjoyed reading it immensely. Second, while I have read the book once thoroughly, I find myself, going back through to understand the finer details of battles and events. If I do have a criticism of the book, it is that I wish more maps had been included to provide a broader geographical perspective of the battles and travels of Colonel Howard.
My interest in military history has always been in the World War 2 and modern eras of the Korean, Vietnam, and Middle East conflicts -- this book has opened my eyes to new frontiers.
As a soldier Howard gained repute for his collected calm under enemy fire. He possessed the ability to visualize and seize upon tactical moments, when victory or defeat hung in the balance. Yet in 1776, at the opening of the Revolution, Howard was a newly commissioned major totally without military experience. He learned his trade quickly in the northern campaigns in New York and Pennsylvania, but was ultimately sent to fight in the southern theater, centered in North and South Carolina. Howard's commander was General Nathanael Greene, and he fought with General Daniel Morgan, among others. These southern battles involved constant movement, ambush, and pursuit. A notable American victory at the Battle of the Cowpens was followed by tactical checks at Guilford Courthouse and Eutaw Springs that nonetheless worked to confound British military strategy. Fighting in the south was savage, pitting American citizen soldiers or militia mixed with Continental troops against the trained British professional. Some may be surprised when reading about the behavior of soldiers under fire, which makes the quality of their leaders all the more critical to the outcome of battle.
I highly recommend Cool Deliberate Courage to amateur military historians, serious students of the American Revolution, or anyone interested in learning about an outstanding Maryland soldier, who was praised by George Washington. The authors, having elevated John Eager Howard from obscurity, assert that this is the first of more books on military men who helped General George Washington earn victory in the American Revolution. Please, give us more!
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