Book Review: Strategy in the American War of Independence: A Global Approach


by Donald Stoker, Kenneth J. Hagen, & Michael T. McMaster, editors

London/New York: Routledge, 2010. Pp. xviii, 244. Tables, append., notes, biblio., index. $44.95 paper. ISBN: 0415695686

A look at the American Revolution as a world war and the strategic influences that influenced its conduct.

For this volume the editors, professors at the U.S. Naval War College, have brought together contributions by a dozen scholars from several nations to address a subject generally overlooked by American Historians, the global strategic conduct of the war.  The two opening essays address the development of colonial military and naval strategy, the next three look at British military and naval strategy and the role of the Loyalists in their political strategy.  In addition, separate essays look at the participation of Native Americans, the French, the Dutch, the Spanish, and the “League of Armed Neutrality” in the war.  This helps to remind us what began as an insurrection in some of Britain’s American colonies soon grew into a global war due to existing international tensions.  Moreover, each of the participants powers brought their own strategic vision to the conflict, which naturally changed that of Britain, and also that of the infant United States.  The essays are well-written, thoughtful, and often very insightful (e.g., historically, the most important victory of the French Navy may have been the Battle of the Capes, etc.). 

A volume in the series “ Cass Military Studies, ” despite a deplorable lack of maps Strategy in the American War of Independence will prove valuable reading for anyone seriously interested in the Revolutionary War or strategy.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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