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Download Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign That Won the Revolution epub

by Richard M. Ketchum

From "the finest historian of the American Revolution" comes the definitive account of the battle and unlikely triumph that led to American independence (Douglas Brinkley) In 1780, George Washington's army lay idle for want of supplies, food, and money. All hope seemed lost until a powerful French force landed at Newport in July. Then, under Washington's directives, Nathanael Greene began a series of hit-and-run operations against the British. The damage the guerrilla fighters inflicted would help drive the enemy to Yorktown, where Greene and Lafayette would trap them before Washington and Rochambeau, supported by the French fleet, arrived to deliver the coup de grâce. Richard M. Ketchum illuminates, for the first time, the strategies and heroic personalities-American and French-that led to the surprise victory, only the second major battle the Americans would win in almost seven horrific years. Relying on good fortune, daring, and sheer determination never to give up, American and French fighters-many of whom walked from Newport and New York to Virginia-brought about that rarest of military operations: a race against time and distance, on land and at sea. Ketchum brings to life the gripping and inspirational story of how the rebels defeated the world's finest army against all odds.
Download Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign That Won the Revolution epub
ISBN: 0805073965
ISBN13: 978-0805073966
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Richard M. Ketchum
Language: English
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1 edition (October 4, 2004)
Pages: 368 pages
ePUB size: 1680 kb
FB2 size: 1517 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 621
Other Formats: lrf mbr doc lit

Ketchum is an excellent writer of history. I very much enjoyed his "Saratoga" and "Winter Soldiers." His talents are turned to the finale in our war for Independence as he examines the end of the conflict and is culmination with the surrender of Cornwallis' army at Yorktown.

This book spends a lot of time leading up to the final (major) battle of the war. In this, if my memory serves, Ketchum spends a lot more of this book detailing what came before / led to the battle than he did in his prior two works I enjoyed. Of course, one might argue that Yorktown had more prologue than either since it occurred at the end of the war (or the end of the fighting). This isn't a criticism, but the reader will be well versed with the strategic situation that drove the British South and brought the French into active cooperation with our revolutionaries. One does gain thorough insight into the French high command, which I haven't had the chance to encounter in other books I've read of the era.

Diarists, journalists and other contemporary recordation's of opinion and action flow through the author's narrative. He does a good job of weaving these sources into the telling in a way that illuminates the story and does not detract from the flow. Ketchum did the same with Saratoga and Winter Soldiers. His ability to accumulate and synthesize so many first person accounts is impressive as is his way to tell history in an engaging manner.
As with all the books I have read by Mr. Ketchum, this one lived up to my expectations as a very excellent book that does the subject well. Well researched to describe the personalities of the Patriots, the French, the English and to a lesser degree the Spanish and Dutch, Ketchum goes into the battles leading up to Yorktown, the mechanisms that brought all the players to Yorktown and the aftermath of Yorktown. Washington, Benedict Arnold, Cornwallis, Tarleton, and many more are brought to life.

As with all books on Yorktown, more questions are raised. Why did Cornwallis choose Yorktown to settle in for a defensive zone? It is below the heights, full of mosquitoes, and not easy to resupply. Why did he not escape to Portsmouth as Washington escaped from Brooklyn to Manhattan when faced in a similar situation?

Well done. A very good addition to ones library.
This history covers the period 1780-83 and not only the Battle of Yorktown. Ketchum's writing is lively and includes many personal vignettes. Perhaps the outstanding feature of the book is that he includes the writings, decisions, and actions of the British and French figures, which are often ignored in the American perspective on the Revolution. He also does well to convey the war weariness of America at this point and how nearly the Revolution did not succeed. Finally, he continues the narrative to 1783 and does not end it at Yorktown, so you get an appreciation of the uncertainty after that battle and the two-year wait for the war actually to end.

One criticism is that the book contains a paucity of maps, so it is hard to follow the battles of the southern campaign (which the first half of the book covers). Also, the guerilla warfare in the south is given short shrift, being covered from the perspective of Greene and Morgan, with only a paragraph devoted to Swamp Fox Marion. Lastly, little is mentioned about the peace negotiations or the treaty and its implications.

Overall a very good read and informative.
Yorktown, famous for enabling American independence, is less well known as a narrow escape from bitter defeat. The campaign capped six years of rebellion - years of scarce victories, disappointment, monetary ruin, privation, restive troops, and an unbowed `superpower' enemy fully capable of prolonging stalemate. By 1781 it was `now or never.'

French assistance was essential, and Franklin proved an ingenious advocate. Without it (money, arms, troops, ships, expertise), all would have been lost. The need to collaborate in logistics and strategy produced a plan as ambitious (and as likely to fail) as one could imagine.

Ketchum's luminous narrative of the campaign is as suspenseful as best-selling fiction.

Also recommended:
-Brendan Morrissey's 'Yorktown: The World Turned Upside Down' (Ospery)
-Barbara Tuchman's `The First Salute'
-Ketchum's `Saratoga'
-Simon Shama's `Citizens'
Some criticism here that the author jumps around somewhat and is not a slave to chronology. Let me suggest books with bigger print and more illustrations for those who find themselves thus challenged. This was in fact the most complicated campaign, requiring more coordination, stones and pure luck than any other. For those who retort "Trenton" let me merely respond "scale". Two fleets (one in Newport and the other in the West Indies) had to arrive at the York/James at precisely the same time as an army which traveled 700+ miles mostly on foot on horrible roads from New York. It is well-written, with many interesting new details and a suspense that builds despite the fact the outcome is well known. If you consider yourself a buff you have to add this one to your personal library.
An excellent historical summary of the background, action and post victory activities related to the battle for Yorktown. The writer provides a rich tapestry of information on key leaders on all sides in this excellent book. The historical and detailed information on the French Army and its contribution to the revoulution plus the clarifying text on the role of the French Navy add new insights into the defeat of the British. For history buffs and serious scholars this work is one worthy of a good read.