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The Minute Men: The First Fight: Myths and Realities of the American Revolution (History of War) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2006
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Galvin clearly shows the Americans in April of 1775 were prepared for war. They had trained, formed into companies and regiments, chosen their leaders, and followed those leaders into battle. They weren't farmers who happened to pick up a weapon and fight the military might of the British.
If one loves American history, this is a book that should be read thoroughly.
Dispels the myth that the Patriots were just a bunch of quaking, rural bumpkins with squirrel guns; but rather, were a decently trained and equipped set of troops, well-led and willing to stand up to the British army. Indeed they were likely to have been better-trained and more willing to fight than their British counterparts!
Oh, and the Patriots at Lexington were "MILITIA", not MInutemen. The Lexington Town Council was too parsimonious to fund the training and equipment needs required for designation as a "Minuteman" troops! All MInutemen were Militia, but not all Militia were Minutemen!
Like all books describing/covering military campaigns, this book needs MAPS and lots of them, to understand what's being covered in the description of the action. It's a bit difficult to follow the well-written narrative without them. And this from a military history "buff" (damn near a military history major) very used to reading first-hand battle accounts.
Galvin's well-researched book looks in great detail at the events of those early fights iof Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill but also at the evolution of the tradition of self-defense in 18th century New England colonies; traditions that are still at play today, and much misunderstood by most Americans.
In his book, Galvin, a soldier of distinction (he retired as a four-star general, having served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe), a historian, and a native of Massachusetts debunks a number of myths surrounding the New England Minutemen. He shows that both the Minute Man concept and the alarm systems that mustered more than 14,000 men, who, marching and fighting in companies and regiments, defeated a British column of some 1,000 men at Lexington and Concord, were deeply embedded in Colonial history and culture.
The authors makes a strong case that the Minute Men were better led and more experienced than their British counterparts, many of them having served in the Seven Years War alongside the British, against the French and their Indian allies.
In comparison, most of the British soldiers, despite the long history of their regiments, were either new recruits or had never seen combat before. The fact that the first American volley at Concord bridge sent a British company there into headlong flight, stunning their officers, is proof of the inexperience of the red coated regulars.
After Lexington and Concord, British intelligence showed that the New England colonies alone could put some 30,000 men in the field of combat, without affecting the farming ability of the colonies. By the end of the Revolutionary War, Massachusetts alone had contributed some 26 of the 80 regiments raised for the Continental Army. And the small Colony contributed more than 620 private fighting ships to the American cause.
"Minute Men" is an easy and fun read and ranks among the top ten books on the American Revolution. Anyone interested in the beginnings of American independence should start here.