A sampling of the book ~
With this excellent book, Passmore and Smulcer have achieved a remarkable feat of writing and presentation. Not only is the book an exceptional scholarly study of the ending of the American Revolution through the eyes of the successful alliance between the French and the Americans, particularly on their final march to Yorktown, but they have also explored that story with rigor, with beautiful writing, and with exceptional artistic design. The writing makes the dry facts of history come to life for an audience that reaches not only the scholar, but the general interested reader and, I think, also appeals to teachers and students.
The incorporation of period images as well as representative images to help bring life to the story is very well done. I would particularly note the map which shows the route that the French and American armies took on their way to Yorktown where they met on that fateful month to defeat the British Army of Lord Cornwallis and effectively end the American Revolution. The map is the only correct representation of the journey of those two armies so that alone requires the attention of anyone interested in the history of the American Revolution and, in fact, American history more generally. Their discovery of each of the towns, and the connection of it on a very handsome pullout map, as well as the route with annotations and its presentation is a remarkable achievement for any historian, let alone amateur historians who worked on this as a passion project.
One of their incredible abilities throughout this book is their ability to take a complex and challenging subject—with multiple moving parts as well as personalities and armies from three different nations coming from multiple geographies across the Atlantic seaboard—and bring those disparate lines together into a compelling narrative approach that at once highlights the uniqueness of the individual, but at the same time keeps the whole story moving dramatically forward.
Douglas Bradburn, Ph.D.
President & CEO
George Washington's Mount Vernon
The alliance between the nascent United States and the Kingdom of France during the American Revolution was crucial to the success of the patriot cause. I have read scholarly works on this alliance by professional historians, and have long understood the facts. But in Jan and Donna's telling of this story, they make it clear these were flesh-and-blood men and women whose ideals and passions drove this alliance and these two nations to their joint success at Yorktown. It may seem a cliché to say that Jan and Donna's book brings this episode of America history to life, but I must say, the cliché is true. In this book, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, King Louis XVI, le Comte de Rochambeau, and so many others – all appear to us as living, passionate people with a cause that drives them to victory over tyranny.
Jan and Donna are to be commended for their extensive use of primary sources, as well as their exhortation to follow the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, now maintained by the National Park Service. Jan and Donna's book makes the study of history immediate and exciting.
Joseph W. Dooley
Past President General
National Society, Sons of the American Revolution
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