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Review of Bloody Mohawk

Bloody Mohawk  by Robert Berleth

This is simply a fantastic book, both in terms of writing and content.  I thoroughly enjoyed it from the moment I started reading until the moment I put it down.  It takes you through the Mohawk Valley from 1713-1794 and details the major ethinic groups and individuals that lived and competed in the area.

I was primarily interested in the French and Indian War for this area, but I was riveted with the American War of Independence sections as well.  The area was involved with the Saratoga Campaign which is one of the events that I have previously researched.

I had always wondered what “Palatine Germans” were when reading about events here and now I know.  The interplay between the different ethnic groups is clearly defined and explained in the book against the back drop of two wars and many events.   You leave the  book knowing why events happened here and with a detailed account of the major battles as well.  The writing is very well done and captures your interest from the outset.

By 1713 the Mohawk Valley was home to Palatine Germans, Dutch, English, Scots, Irish, New Englanders, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.  Each of these groups intermarried and related to the others through trade and travel.  It’s during this time that the Iroquois League denigrates and New York becomes more than a backwater.
Can’t recommend it enough, get this book if you are interested in the FIW!

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Review of The Border Covenant

The Border Covenant:
A Tale of the French and Indian War

by Hugh C. Griffith

I have been trying to read as much as I can about the French and Indian war lately and this time I decided to try some Historical Fiction.

This book is about a couple of Rangers that track an Abanaki Indian party through New England and Quebec. They end up smack dab in the middle of the siege of Quebec city. They meet some of the main players in the War and lots of stock characters along the way.

Much of the dialog is in period flavor and can be somewhat of a tough read. There are some glaring editing issues, but you can get past those

In general this book is pure popcorn, and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. If you already enjoy the period, this book might help to flesh it out for you. I managed to finish the book, but I was looking forward to my next book about half the way through this one.

If you have a full plate, this isn’t the book for you. But if you have a deep interest in the period and are looking for something different to read, give it a try…maybe.

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Review of War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America’s First Frontier by John F. Ross

This is my review of War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America’s First Frontier by John F. Ross

I finally finished this book after a number of weeks, I’m a notoriously slow reader.

This book starts at the beginning of Rogers’ life and gives a great account of the society that he came from. It goes on to describe his early life in appropriate detail. I really enjoyed the level of detail the book uses, it’s detailed enough to give you a great image of the time or person, but doesn’t bog down in minutia that isn’t relevant.

There is plenty in here to give the wargamer material for scenarios. There are many accounts of battles around Lake Champlain and Southern Quebec, to accounts far into Pontiac’s Rebellion. These accounts get into numbers and types of troops involved, and quite a few first hand accounts.

This book is easily a great read all by itself, combine great writing with an interest in the period and you’ve got a great book. This should be in the library of every French and Indian War enthusiast and every gamer interested in playing skirmishes from the period.

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Saratoga 1777

Saratoga 1777
Saratoga 1777

Saratoga 1777: Turning point of a revolution by Brendan Morrissey is a book that should have had a review when I first started this blog.  I think it’s just that getting the Osprey for a relevant subject just seems like a no brainer to me, it’s simply my first step in any kind of research on a military subject.

I think this book is one of the essential books for recreating this campaign.  It has all of the Osprey staples that wargamers need, great OOB’s and lots of maps.  It is a quick, easy read and gives you everything you know to get started.  Perhaps it’s a fault of mine, but I don’t have much to say as it simply delivers everything you know and love about Osprey publishing, that I don’t have a more critical review.  I thoroughly trust the author and would recommend ANY of his AWI books from Osprey.

Get it, love it!

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Saratoga by John F. Luzader

Saratoga
Saratoga

SARATOGA: A Military History of the Decisive Campaign of the American Revolution by John F. Luzander is quite simply the best book on the campaign that I have come across.  It reads very easy and goes into just the right amount of detail that it’s useful but doesn’t bog down the story.

I finally understand EXACTLY what happened at Bennington.  I have read the story of this battle from at least five different authors and never really felt that I could describe the action to someone else.

The author uses a great deal of haughty language in the early chapters and I wish I had some at hand to include here.  By the middle of the book the need for a dictionary to help understand what should be a simple description goes away completely.

My least favorite parts of the book are the detailed chapters on the conflict between Burgoyne and the British power structure and the infighting in the Patriot command.  This is no fault of the authors, it’s just that I personally don’t really care.

The factors in play on the forces involved are clearly explained and the battle are masterfully explained in the perfect amount of detail.  After reading the book, I finally was able to construct scenarios by myself.  Previously I had to rely on others’ understanding of events to figure out how to add flavor to the games.

If you only get one book on the campaign, this is it.

It was better than Cats!

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Uniforms From 1775-1783 American Revolution

Uniforms from 1775-1783 The American Revolutionary War
Uniforms from 1775-1783 The American Revolutionary War

Properly entitled An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms From 1775-1783 American Revolution: An expert in-depth reference on the armies of the War of the Independence in North America. That’s a mouthful.  This is one of the newer uniform references available to modelers these days.

I have been very happy with the purchase.  I was excited to finally get it, there was quite a delay from the intended shipping date.   The book caused quite a stir on the TMP boards when it was released, and the author dropped in to answer some of the (mostly) unfair critisisms.  It seems most of the posters there could have done a better job.  My only question is “Why don’t they?”

It is laid out in a somewhat weird manner that tries to get everything in.  There are some things that seem odd to the serious AWI buff, like treating Brunswick with the same number of pages as some of the extremely minor powers.  Others have noticed the wrong roman numerals on the drums of Brit drummers.  I have used it extensively while painting my troops for the Saratoga Campaign.  Most of the times, if it doesn’t have a color plate, it has a written description.

I think it is a fine book.  Does it have everything? No.  Is it perfect? No.  Will I be happy having added it to my Library? Hell yes.  When I put on the tool belt to fix something around the house, I have more than one tool in it.  I wouldn’t expect any one tool to do everything, but I do expect every tool to be useful.

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Don Troiani’s Soldiers of the American Revolution

I was saving this for a later date, but the cover isn’t availible for the book I wanted to review.

Soldiers of the American Revolution
Soldiers of the American Revolution

Don Troiani’s Soldiers of the American Revolution is a fantastic book.  This book not only covers the uniforms involved by has pictures of many different objects carried by the soldiers of the day.  This allows you to get a feel for the period as well as the uniforms worn.  Troiani is a truely gifted artist and the fact that he is also a historian really brings something special to his work.

If there is a downside to this book, it’s that there is minimal coverage.  It seems he has cherry picked some of the most well documented units for display.  However the fact that few units are covered is the only fault of the book.  It is more than made up for by the amount of other information on artifacts of the time.

As a uniform book goes, the artwork is top-notch but the coverage is week.  As to it’s quality as a reference book for the period go, it is top-notch all the way!  If you are an avid history nut, this book is for you.

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Standards and Colors of the American Revolution

When I started putting SYW units together I just picked out a picture from a uniform plate that I figured was a standard Prussian infantryman (I was wrong) and slapped on a flag from a sheet that I purchased from Baccus (the 15th Regiments, cause it looked cool/different). It was only after a few weeks of research that I discovered that these things really were of any significance.

So when I started with the AWI, I wanted to get it right from the beginning.  I asked a lot of questions on TMP and the main answer that I got was, “No information is available, do what you like.”  I wasn’t satisfied with that and finally got a recommendation for a book to help out.  This is my opinion of that book.

Cover
Cover

Standards and Colors of the American Revolution by Edward W. Richardson. This book starts around $50 (US) and goes up from there.

I began to look through it and found a lot of the information very useful.  It is primarily black and while with a large color section in the middle.  It covers the Patriot side in the most detail, with some info on British Flags, not to much past the basics.  French and German flags are given rudimentary treatment, almost in passing.  The vast majority of the descriptions are textual rather than pictorial.

While it doesn’t even come close to comprehensive coverage on the forces involved, it does talk about trends and give some ideas to the types of flags that “could” have been carried.  I found this helpful, but not to the point where I would suggest anyone but the most hardend grognard would need this book in their collection.  Most of the flags covered in detail can be found online.  I always thought there had to be more info out there than what I could find online, but I was wrong.

So, at $50 minimum, I think I would pass on this book.  There is some good info in the book, but not quite enough to justify the expense.  I think the greatest thing I gained from this book was the confidence to make my own flags for units without known flags.  Something not easy to do when you are used to the Seven Years War plethora of information.

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Osprey Disappointment

Soldiers of the Revolutionary War
Soldiers of the Revolutionary War

Ok, so my first real Osprey disappointment was Soldiers of the Revolutionary War. I loved what they had to tell me about the SYW, but I found this book to be pretty rubbish. I suppose the plates are OK, but the text tells very little useful information as far as uniforms go. It would be a great reference if you wanted to know about the quantities of cloth bought by different colonies. It contains almost nothing useful on organization and tactics like so many other Osprey books do. I refer to this book as a last reference, and would recommend spending your money on a different book.

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the American Revolution

Idiot's Guide
Idiot's Guide

Next up are a few books on the period. Don’t laugh at me, but i did find The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the American Revolution, which is a very good book for a beginner. I find it contains a lot of straight forward info and is a great place to start. The author is a great writer and it reads easier than butter. I will put up a full review.

I have been a big fan of the Osprey books, as they were gold when painting for the SYW. It turns out not to be so true for the AWI.