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The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army Paperback – February 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Lockhart, professor of history at Wright State University, has written the first modern scholarly biography of one of the American Revolution's iconic figures. Friedrich von Steuben is regularly described as the man whose drilling and discipline made an army out of the demoralized men camped at Valley Forge in the winter of 1776. Lockhart makes solid use of primary and secondary sources to present a more complete picture of the Continental Army's inspector-general. Steuben exaggerated his rank and status in order to secure employment, but was fully justified in asserting mastery of the techniques of war as practiced in Europe. Steuben learned his craft during 17 years of service in the army of Frederick the Great. There was no better school. Lockhart demonstrates the importance of European-style tactics to a war that could not be won by ambush and skirmishing alone. He shows how clearly Steuben understood the differences between American citizen-soldiers and the outcasts and conscripts that filled Europe's ranks. And he describes Steuben's contributions after Valley Forge to creating an army that won battles from Monmouth to Yorktown. Illus., maps. (Sept.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
History professor Lockhart uses a conventional chronological approach to reveal the deeds and character of a man whose life was full of surprises and frustrating failures but ultimately crowned with success. The molding of the Continental Army into a disciplined fighting force was largely the work of Prussian immigrant the Baron de Steuben. Like other heroes of the Revolution, Steuben left his homeland as a failure, despite his efforts to embellish his military exploits. However, Steuben understood the necessity of Prussian-style discipline and the ability to change rapidly from one battle formation to another under fire. As the letters of George Washington and others reveal, the American army after Lexington and Concord was not much of an army and was no match for the well-trained British troops and their hired mercenaries. However, under Steuben’s command, grumbling but willing troops drilled and drilled until they became a fighting force that could stand up to a European army. This well-written biography is aimed at general readers and sheds light on the career of an important but relatively obscure figure. --Jay Freeman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Baron Von Steuben was the man that taught them the essentials during that terrible winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, and much more. He cared about his men, and though he was an officer, he knew the privations of the ordinary infantryman, and drilled them like an Marine D.I. or an Army Drill Sergeant. And the troops loved him for it! He learned one English curse word that served him well - "God-Damnit!" I have both the Audible and the print edition of this book, and the audio version is fascinating; I learned much more about the American Revolution from this book than I had in high school. It also taught me once again that we are a nation of immigrants, and we need every one to make this country work and grow.
In short, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the Revolutionary War or the history of the US Army.