The Drillmaster of Valley Forge

Review From User :

Paul Lockhart does an excellent history on how the American Army was molded during the revolution and the man whose tireless zeal and boundless energy made it happen. Often overlooked in American history the Baron de Steuben's contributions to the colonies war effort were truly astounding. It is about time we get an updated book that reassess those contributions and shows the work he did not just at Valley Forge but beyond. This book is not just a military history though and goes into the highly political situation that the American Army found itself in vis a vis Congress. From the attempt to remove Washington to even the Baron's own machinations within Congress the reader can see the complexity in which this army existed. Lockhart also does a good job of tracking down the European history of the Baron and shows the fraudulent way he presented himself in coming over to America but his own drive and skill allowed him to make up for his pedigrees shortcomings and as Lockhart shows the baron becomes the first "American story".
Lockhart, who is a skilled military historian, covers the campaigns and training programs in great detail but unlike many military historians is able to tie them back to the bigger picture making for a very fascinating read. The creation of the blue book which was the guiding principle of the American military through the war of 1812 and influenced it quite a bit beyond that was created by the Baron and his staff and is covered well in here. The idea that forms the core of the American military as also a Baron idea and its etymology is discussed in this book. Those looking for campaign details will not be disappointed as there are plenty of campaign details covered in the book especially within the NJ invasion and the southern campaign with Greene. Overall this was a very enjoyable book and well worth the time to read.


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