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Almost a Miracle


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Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps Preface Introduction: "My Country, My Honor, My Life": Bravery and Death in War Part One: Going to War, 1775-1776 1: "Fear Is Not an American Art": The Coming of the War 3: Choices, 1775 Part Two: The War in the North, 1776-1779 4: "Hastening Fast to a Crisis": June 1775-June 1776 5: Choices, 1776 6: "Knock Him Up for the Campaign": The Battle for New York, 1776 7: "This Hour of Adversity": To the End of 1776 8: Choices, 1777 9: "The Caprice of War": America's Pivotal Victory at Saratoga 10: "We Rallied and Broke": The Campaign for Philadelphia, September-December 1777 11: Choices, 1778 12: "A Respectable Army": The Grim Year, 1778 13: Choices, 1779 14: "A Band of Brotherhood": The Soldiers, the Army, and the Forgotten War of 1779 15: "We Have Occasioned a Good Deal of Terror": The War at Sea 16: Choices Part Three: The War in the South, 1780-1781 17: "A Year Filled With Our Disgraces": Defeat in the South, 1780 18: "Southern Means and Southern Exertions": Hope and Despair, June-December 1780 19: Choices, 1781 20: "Bloody and Severe": The Pivotal Southern War, Early 1781 21: "We Are Suspended in the Balance": Spring and Summer 1781 Part Four: American Victory, 1781-1783 22: "America is Ours": Victory at Yorktown, 1781 23: Choices, 1782 24: "May We Have Peace in Our Time": Peace and Demobilization, 1782-1783 25: "Little Short of a Miracle": Accounting of America's Victory Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

John Ferling brings to this book nearly forty years of experience as a historian of early America. He is the author of nine books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and early American wars, and has appeared in four television documentaries devoted to the Revolution and the War of Independence. His book A Leap in the Dark won the Fraunces Tavern Book Award as the year's best book on the American Revolution. He and his wife live in metropolitan Atlanta.


"Comprehensive and engaging...Grand stuff and sweeping themes...Ferling is particularly strong in recreating the relentless misery of the war in Georgia and the Carolinas, an essential theater that is overlooked in many popular recountings."--Washington Post Book World "In his richly detailed battle-by-battle account of the war, Ferling succeeds where other military histories fail by providing helpful background for those who don't know their flanks from their feints. He also brings the military leaders to life, exploring their backgrounds, their dispositions, their willingness to take risks."--Christian Science Monitor "Monographs on the military history of the American Revolution are beyond count, but Ferling (emer., Univ. of West Georgia) has put together new and old materials in a compelling way...Upon finishing the book, readers will understand how true the title is. George Washington's flaws, the intricacies of congressional relations with the army and navy, the tactics of guerilla warfare, and the horrors of the battlefield--all are presented in a readable and academically sound manner. The vignette and brushstroke fit together flawlessly. General readers and specialists alike will applaud this work. Highly recommended."--CHOICE "John Ferling is a national resource, and Almost a Miracle is a splendid combination of subject with a superb historian writing at the peak of his powers. Ferling's brilliant book makes an important contribution to the scholarship of the Revolution while telling a gripping story that every American must know."--Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989 "Highly recommended. This very thoughtful book is informed by many years of teaching on the subject. Its judgments are balanced, mature, and enlightening."--David Hackett Fischer, author of Washington's Crossing "No event in our nation's history is more important than the Revolution, and no historian has grasped this epic drama better than John Ferling. This fast paced narrative, anchored in exhaustive research reminds us that the American victory was never certain. A fragile, fractious coalition of thirteen weak states could easily have succumbed to Britain's might had it not been for the persistent courage and determination of the soldiers and sailors who fought in the patriot cause. Ferling is right our triumph was 'almost a miracle.'"-- William Fowler, Northeastern University and former Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society

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