Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763 / Edition 1

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This book examines the experiences of the British Army soldiers, or 'redcoats', who fought in North America and the West Indies between 1755 and 1763. It explores the Army's distinctive society, using new evidence to provide a voice for ordinary soldiers who have previously been ignored by historians. While other books on the period concentrate upon major personalities and events, this study examines events from the perspective of the individual: the experience of combat, captivity among the Indians, the Army's women and the fate of veterans. Stephen Brumwell is a former newspaper journalist and Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Leeds and now works as a freelance writer. He is the author of scholarly articles and the co-author of The Cassell Companion to 18th Century British History (2001). Hb ISBN (2001) 0-521-80783-2

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a fascinating, judiciously researched, and well-written study, Stephen Brumwell offers a nuanced reassessment of the British soldier in the critical period of the Seven Years' War...This important book will enjoy a wide readership among specialists, students, and the general public. Its readability will make it a valuable addition in undergraduate survey courses and seminars." Historian

"Stephen Brumwell's account of the British Army in North America during the Seven Years' War offers the most complete, vivid, and sophisticated account we have of the experiences and views of eighteenth-century common soldiers. With wide research, lucid prose, and (above all) compassion, he counts the human costs of empire, and brings to life the terrible war that built it." Fred Anderson, author of The Crucible of War

"Stephen Brumwell's account of the British army in North America during the Seven Years' War offers the most complete, vivid, and sophisticated account we have of the experiences and views of eighteenth-century common soldiers. With wide research, lucid prose, and (above all) compassion, he counts the human costs of empire, and brings to life the terrible war that built it." Fred Anderson, author of The Crucible of War

"Well-written and thoroughly researched, Redcoats explodes the patriotic American myth of the 'bloodybacks' as marginalized miscreants subjected to numbing discipline and inappropriate training. Brumwell's British regulars could win the Seven Years' War in America." Ian K. Steele, University of Western Ontario

"Redcoats is a major scholarly accomplishment; an extremely well written and researched study of the Seven Years' War. Stephen Brumwell has done a brilliant job tracing the impact of the American war on the British Army while bringing to life the common soldiers and their war." Michael Bellesiles, Emory University

"In sum, Brumwell's book makes a very good addition to the historiography of eighteenth-century soldiers in the British army and goes far toward correcting the notion that such soldiers were unwilling and unmotivated participants in a struggle that gained the British crown an empire." American Historical Review

"Stephen Brumwell does justice to his subjects' remarkable achievements through a lively presentation of many soldier testimonies, exhaustive research in the army archives, and thoughtful analysis. The end result is a valuable contribution to military history." New York History

"This is an excellent example of military history, that will at once be of value to scholars working on eighteenth-century Britain and also to those interested in the struggle for empire." Albion

"Redcoats is a significant and innovative work which makes an important addition to the literature not only of the British army, but also of eighteenth-century Britain and North America." War in History, Matthew C. Ward, University of Dundee

Library Journal
This new book by British freelancer Brumwell (coauthor, Cassell's Companion to 18th-Century British History) makes a nice companion to Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (LJ 2/1/00). Whereas Anderson gives a magisterial overview of the conflict, Brumwell concentrates on the experiences of the rank-and-file "Redcoats" in the British army. Drawing on wide-ranging research in North American and British archives, he revises the standard negative view of the ordinary British soldiers and their officers. This negative view sees the rank and file as the dregs of society who obeyed orders only out of fear of the lash, while their officers tended to be unimaginative fops or fools who had purchased their commissions. While not denying that there is an element of truth in these stereotypes, Brumwell demonstrates that by the end of the war Britain's "American Army" had become a flexible, impressive fighting machine. Brumwell notes the irony that George Washington's Continental Army owed much of its success to its emulation of the British army in the Seven Years' War. This is a noteworthy, engaging book for specialists as well as general readers. Highly recommended for all academic and public libraries. T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521807838
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

A former newspaper journalist, Stephen Brumwell earned his Ph.D in History from the University of Leeds in 1998. He currently works as a freelance writer in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His recent publications include White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: approaching the 'American Army'; 1. Britain's war effort in the Americas; 2. Gone for a soldier; 3. Following the drum; 4. The environmental parameters of American campaigning; 5. The 'American Army' and Native Americans; 6. Irregular warfare in the Americas; 7. The tactical evolution of the Redcoats; 8. The Highland Battalions in the Americas; 9. The legacies of the 'American Army'.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2002

    Finally A Realistic View Of The British Soldier In The Americas

    This book is the first of its kind to put a face on the British Soldier who served in the Americas during the French & Indian War.This was twenty years before the American Revolution when the Redcoats were the good guys.It dispels the myth that the Brits did not know how to fight in America and that the British Officers were not the foppish martinets as is usually depicted inmovies today.I especially enjoyed the chapter on the Highland Regiments.I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to get an unbiased view of things.

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