Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News
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Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News

4.3 20
by Todd Andrlik
     
 

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"This is 'you are there' history at its best...[Reporting the Revolutionary War] lets us see and feel how events unfolded for the people who lived them."—American History

For the colonists of the new world, the years of the American Revolution were a time of upheaval and rebellion. History boils it down to a few key events and has embodied it

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Overview

"This is 'you are there' history at its best...[Reporting the Revolutionary War] lets us see and feel how events unfolded for the people who lived them."—American History

For the colonists of the new world, the years of the American Revolution were a time of upheaval and rebellion. History boils it down to a few key events and has embodied it with a handful of legendary personalities. But the reality of the time was that everyday people witnessed thousands of little moments blaze into an epic conflict-for more than twenty years. Now, for the first time, experience the sparks of revolution the way the colonists did—in their very own town newspapers and broadsheets. Reporting the Revolutionary War is a stunning collection of primary sources, sprinkled with modern analysis from 37 historians. Featuring Patriot and Loyalist eyewitness accounts from newspapers printed on both sides of the Atlantic, readers will experience the revolution as it happened with the same immediacy and uncertainty of the colonists.

The American newspapers of the eighteenth century fanned the flames of rebellion, igniting the ideas of patriotism and liberty among average citizens who had never before been so strongly united. Within the papers, you'll also read the private correspondence and battlefield letters of the rebels and patriots who grabbed the attention of each and every colonist and pushed them to fight for freedom and change. From one of America's leading Revolutionary War newspaper archivists, Todd Andrlik, and guided by scores of historians and experts, Reporting the Revolutionary War brings you into the homes of Americans and lets you see through their eyes the tinderbox of war as it explodes.

"The story of the battle for independence unlike any version that has been told." —Military Review

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"{A} distinctive volume on how the American Revolution was presented at the time...the format and presentation provide a useful supplement for those interested in the American Revolution in general or Revolutionary War newspapers in particular. " - Library Journal

"Reporting the Revolutionary War brings an unprecedented look at colonial newspapers detailing the biggest battles, milestones, and major events of the American Revolution. Written by colonists and revolutionaries themselves, these newspapers are a look back in time and tell the story of the battle for independence unlike any version that has been told." - Military Review

"A coffee-table book with serious substance." - Boston 1775

"Thoughtful, engaging, well-organized and illustrated journey through our independence as reported through the news. It puts a fine point on the distribution of information and news placing newspapers at the top which is even more poignant in this day and age when the demise of physical newspapers appears imminent." - Helena Finnegan

"An impressive cache of primary-source documents, normally the province of scholars, presented here in an entertaining, aesthetically pleasing fashion guaranteed to entice general readers." - Kirkus

"Stunning in both its eye-opening content and its eye pleasing presentation. It has the appearance of a beautiful coffee table book with remarkable photos of some of the most historic front pages in United State's history." - Drew's Marketing Minute

"This is 'you are there' history at its best: 70 essays by modern historians based on eyewitness accounts, battlefield letters and newspaper stories from 1763 to 1783. Cumulatively, the collection lets us see and feel how events unfolded for the people who lived them." - American History

""Private correspondence and battlefield letters accompany newspaper clippings documenting America's fight for independence."" - Los Angeles Times (holiday gift guide)

"A unique coffee-table book that compiles reproductions of actual newspaper pages from the era of the American War for Independence, with additional text to provide background and context." - Armchair General Online

"History buffs and students will find much to enjoy in this attractive and informative book. Recommended for all collections." - Booklist

""Newspaper archivist and historian Andrlik's book gives us original reports ... Read all about it the way Americans did when it happened." - New York Post" - New York Post

"I've seen nothing like it and I've been studying the Revolution since 1955... You didn't have to hold rallies [during the Revolution], you were rallying them with this journalism." - Thomas Fleming, author of 20 nonfiction books, many on the American Revolution

"Americans can now see a different side of the birth of our country, as it was reported in real-time by the journalists of the day... a fascinating account of Americans who witnessed the war unfold firsthand as it happened." - Soledad O'Brien, CNN Starting Point

"The events of the Revolutionary War may seem like ye olde news to today's history students, but they were breaking news to people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and newspapers were the main source of information. Some historians theorize there would have been no American Revolution without the era's newspapers..."" - Associated Press

"Stylish and intelligent collection... a fascinating display of the eyewitness accounts, battlefield correspondence, breaking news, editorial rallies to action and outright propaganda that helped to shape the young nation that would become the United States of America." - American Profile

"Reporting the Revolutionary War is one seriously impressive package... a must-have for anyone researching the period of the American War for Independence." - Armchair General Online

"With the inclusion of London newspapers and no political agenda in selection whatsoever, general readers will get a glimpse of what it means to be an historian as they try to interpret these sources for themselves. " - Early Americanists

"Reporting the Revolutionary War is a veritable time machine in book form, transporting the reader to an era of great uncertainty, and years of drastic change! Highly recommended." - Midwest Book Reviews

"Historians, curators, and journalists select, arrange, and introduce reproductions of newspaper articles, primarily printed between 1763 and 1783, that describe current events now known as the American Revolution or War of Independence. Boxed comments also provide contextual background. The chronological chapters examine such events and trends as the late horrid massacre, bloody news, the spirit of liberty, conquest and capture, and delivered with eloquence. End-matter essays consider the revolutionary press impact and the value of primary sources." - Book News Inc

"A fascinating look at the making of America from a journalist's point of view." - The Quincy Herald-Whig

"Historians, curators, and journalists select, arrange, and introduce reproductions of newspaper articles, primarily printed between 1763 and 1783, that describe current events now known as the American Revolution or War of Independence. Boxed comments also provide contextual background. The chronological chapters examine such events and trends as the late horrid massacre, bloody news, the spirit of liberty, conquest and capture, and delivered with eloquence. End-matter essays consider the revolutionary press impact and the value of primary sources." - BOOK NEWS, Inc.

"The author of this book is a brilliant. What a great idea for a Revolutionary War book. The concept of telling the story of the Revolution, through newspapers articles was an idea like no others...With the help of experts with each part of the war explained and the visuals of the actual newspaper articles, the Revolutionary War history is told with great detail and it keeps your attention throughout. " - Reading Room Book Reviews

"Consider it a bit of historic voyeurism. Sometimes the story isn't always right - mistakes made it into print - but that's just another real-life example of what colonists dealt with as they sifted through the news of the day. Reporting the Revolutionary War is a reminder of the history behind some of the things we collect." - Antique Week

Library Journal
Newspapers served as the primary method by which people in the 18th century learned about current events, wars included. Andrlik, a marketing professional interested in 18th-century journalism, has used newspapers from his personal collection to create this distinctive volume on how the American Revolution was presented at the time. The introductory essays discuss the newspaper business of the period and place in context the various events and battles covered. Reprinted excerpts from the era's newspapers supplement the essays. Concluding the volume are further essays on the impact of the revolutionary press and the research value of such primary sources. VERDICT While not a comprehensive history of 18th-century journalism, the format and presentation provide a useful supplement for those interested in the American Revolution in general or Revolutionary War newspapers in particular.—MJW
Kirkus Reviews
In his first book project, Andrlik, the curator and publisher of Raglinen.com, an online archive of rare newspapers, presents an intriguing real-time look at the American Revolution. To supply context and analysis, the author enlists a few dozen other Revolutionary War scholars--some, such as Bruce Chadwick, Ray Raphael and Thomas Fleming, will be well-known to war buffs--for essays and remarks elucidating the excerpts from 18th-century newspapers handsomely reproduced here. He reminds us "there are no photographs of the American Revolution," that newspapers remain the closest thing we have to snapshots of the conflict as it developed. Focusing on the years 1763 to 1783 and drawing on publications from both sides of the Atlantic, this lavishly illustrated volume contains reporting on the war's signal battles, Lexington and Concord to Yorktown, and many lesser engagements as well. It covers controversies over Parliament's Sugar, Stamp, and Townsend Acts, reported from vastly different perspectives in, say, the Pennsylvania Gazette or the London Chronicle. In the 18th century, printers scrambled for information, often poaching private letters or plagiarizing each other for accounts of the Boston Tea Party, Benedict Arnold's treason, the alliance between France and America, or Washington's resignation of his commission. Andrlik artfully directs readers' eyes to these and hundreds of other events reported on the page right next to advertisements for hogsheads of "Jamaica Spirit," the sale of a wooden tenement, a plea for "200 barrels of pork," or a notice about a "strayed or stolen" brown cow. As they accumulate, these pages charmingly return us to a troublesome time when average people were leading their lives as close to normal as they could manage, when our war for independence was breaking news, the outcome far from certain. An impressive cache of primary-source documents, normally the province of scholars, presented here in an entertaining, aesthetically pleasing fashion guaranteed to entice general readers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402269677
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
11/01/2012
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
930,680
Product dimensions:
10.40(w) x 10.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Todd Andrlik is curator, historian and publisher of RagLinen.com, an online museum and educational archive of historically significant newspapers dating back to the 16th century. He single-handedly built one of the largest collections of American Revolution-era newspapers. Todd Andrlik is vice president of marketing and PR at one of the nation's largest commercial construction firms.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

There are no photographs of the American Revolution. No snapshots exist to show ordinary life or depict the struggles and suffering of the late eighteenth century.
Engravings and oil paintings, made long after the war ended, portray epic battles and heroism but often fail to realistically capture the moment.

Newspapers are the closest thing we have to photos of the Revolution. They transport readers back in time, providing unmatched insight about common life and life-altering events. Despite their small size and lack of headlines, eighteenth-century newspapers pack an intense, concentrated punch and demonstrate the incredible power of the printed word. Through newspapers,
we realize that history is much more than a chronological list of battles as we eavesdrop on everyday life and witness everyday realities of the American Revolution through the eyes of the
British and the American colonists. The eighteenth-century newspapers presented in this book help us see that history is real life, messy, and exciting. We learn firsthand what many historians claim: without newspapers, there would have been no American Revolution.

Through vivid eyewitness accounts, battlefield letters, and breaking news compiled from hundreds of newspapers-primarily printed from 1763 to 1783 on both sides of the Atlantic
Ocean-this story of the American Revolution is unlike any version that has been told. It is raw and uncut, full of intense action, drama, and suspense. From start to finish, these frontline newspapers deliver incomparable insight about America's founding. As a collection, they provide one of the most reliable and comprehensive narratives of the Revolutionary Era, loaded with amazing characters, better-than-fiction plot twists, and the perfect climax. Before these famous and infamous events became the history and foundation of America, they were littered among the news of the day for colonial Americans. Mark Twain wrote "of the wide difference in interest between 'news' and 'history'; that news is history in its first and best form, its vivid and fascinating form; and that history is the pale and tranquil reflection of it."

Reporting the Revolutionary War brings to life precious first drafts of history and lets readers experience the charming rusticity of eighteenth-century newsprint, complete with stains, tears,
imperfect ink and paper, typesetting mistakes, misspellings, and grammatical errors that were all typical of the era. Reading Revolution Era newspapers in their original form helps reproduce the same immediacy and uncertainty felt by those who first held them.

With each newspaper, readers gain valuable insight into the social, economic, political, and military histories of the American Revolution. Reading newspapers in their entirety-including advertisements, obituaries, and essays-provides more than a glimpse of all the obstacles and ideas of the period. It creates a 360-degree view of the American Revolution and the formation of the United States.

Another important history lesson to be gained from this book relates to journalism. We live in a time of instant and on-demand news. Journalists and bloggers work frantically around the clock, competing to break news stories before anyone else. Cable news channels and websites stream updated headlines nonstop across their screens. Using Twitter and Facebook, millions of citizen reporters scramble to share the latest news affecting their lives, practically in real time.
Despite the debated endangerment of printed newspapers, it is difficult to imagine a time when media were more important. However, 250 years ago, newspapers were the fundamental form of mass media and were more important than in any other time in America's history.

Just as social media helped ignite and organize the Arab Spring revolutions of the Middle
East and Northern Africa, colonial newspapers fanned the flames of rebellion, provided critical intercolonial communication during the war, sustained loyalty to the Patriot cause, and aided in the outcome of the war-all of which becomes evident after reading straight from the pages of newspapers. In Reporting the Revolutionary War, readers will see that Americans maintained
"Liberty or Death! Join or Die!" attitudes with blood, as well as ink, on their hands. David
Ramsay, who twice served as a delegate in the Continental Congress, wrote that "in establishing
American independence, the pen and the press had merit equal to that of the sword."

Not only do eighteenth-century newspapers contain the exclusive essays, reports, and advertisements of the day, but they also include reprinted extracts from other primary sources such as private letters, journal entries, official government documents, and war-zone intelligence direct from merchants, travelers, soldiers, officers, and common colonists. They are a proverbial gold mine of information. Since the day the Revolutionary War ended, historians and authors have relied heavily on newspapers as the basis for their own analysis and interpretations of the course of the war. The endnotes of practically every history book about the Revolution are loaded with references to the up-close-and-personal perspectives found in newspapers.

Reporting the Revolutionary War brings to life eighteenth-century newspapers in a firsthand account of America's founding, distinct from the history we receive in high school and university texts. Never before has such a significant collection of American Revolution newspapers been made available to the general public in such color and detail. Never before has access to such an archive been made so easy. And never before has this version of the American
Revolution been told.

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