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In focusing on an event that otherwise would have remained a footnote in the history of the American Revolution, Nelson (Benedict Arnold's Navy) brings to light an intriguing part of this country's fight for independence. Told in readable narrative style, this is the story of the confusing period following the Battle of Bunker Hill, when the question of independence was as yet undecided by the Continental Congress even as a band of over 10,000 armed but untrained men besieged the British in Boston. Congress had an army but would not agree to create a navy-a fact George Washington knew and took great pains to circumvent. He kept secret his having sent out armed merchant vessels with orders to prevent the British from being reprovisioned in Boston and the surrounding areas. Nelson recounts the struggle over Noodle Island and the valiant patriots at Machias, ME, both places blockaded to prevent the British from accessing timber there. His authorial voice puts the reader on the scene and offers a worthy addition to our understanding of the early phases of the Revolution, when Britain ruled the seas and George Washington sought to challenge its dominance. Recommended.
—David Lee Poremba