Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by Todd Andrlik


$35.99 $39.99 Save 10% Current price is $35.99, Original price is $39.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402282553
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 11/01/2012
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 10.40(w) x 10.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt


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.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Business Revolutionary Newspaper Reading Tips

Chapter One: The Cursed Stamp Act

1. Sugar Act by Todd Andrlik
2. Stamp Act by Todd Andrlik
3. Stamp Act Repeal by Todd Andrlik

Chapter Two: Frugality and Industry

1. Townshend Acts by Todd Andrlik
2. Nonimportation and Nonconsumption by Todd Andrlik

Chapter Three: The Late Horrid Massacre

1. Arrival of the Troops in Boston by Robert J. Allison
2. Boston Massacre by Robert J. Allison
3. Gaspee Affair by Steven H. Park
4. Committees of Correspondence by Carol Sue Humphrey

Chapter Four: The Detestable Tea

1. Tea Act in America by Benjamin L. Carp
2. Boston Tea Party by Benjamin L. Carp

Chapter Five: Rebellion

1. Coercive Acts by Ray Raphael
2. Powder Alarm by J.L. Bell
3. Suffolk Resolves by Ray Raphael
4. Massachusetts Provincial Congress by Ray Raphael
5. First Continental Congress by Benjamin H. Irvin
6. Raid on Fort William and Mary by J. Dennis Robinson

Chapter Six: Bloody News

1. Battle of Lexington and Concord by J.L. Bell
2. Williamsburg Gunpowder Incident by Neal Thomas Hurst
3. Second Continental Congress by Benjamin H. Irvin
4. Capture of Fort Ticonderoga by William P. Tatum III
5. Battle of Noddle's Island by James L. Nelson
6. Battle of Bunker Hill by Don N. Hagist
7. George Washington Takes Command by Robert J. Allison
8. Battle of Great Bridge and Burning of Norfolk by John W. Hall
9. Invasion of Canada by Tabitha Marshall
10. Native Americans Choosing Sides by Daniel J. Tortora

Chapter Seven: The Spirit of Liberty

1. Common Sense and the American Crisis by Jim Piecuch
2. Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge by William P. Tatum III
3. Battle of the Rice Boats by Hugh T. Harrington
4. Fortification of Dorchester Heights by Don N. Hagist
5. Battle of Sullivan's Island by David Lee Russell
6. Declaration of Independence by Matthew P. Dziennik
7. New York Campaign by Barnet Schecter

Chapter Eight: Cut to Pieces

1. Battles of Trenton and Princeton by Bruce Chadwick
2. Siege of Fort Ticonderoga by Eric H. Schnitzer
3. Battle of Oriskany by Daniel J. Tortora
4. Battles of Brandywine and Germantown by Bruce E. Mowday
5. Battles of Saratoga by Eric H. Schnitzer
6. Women and Children on the War Front by Eric H. Schnitzer

Chapter Nine: Good and Faithful Allies

1. Valley Forge Winter Encampment by Wayne Bodle
2. French-American Alliance by Julia Osman
3. Battle of Monmouth by Michael S. Adelberg

Chapter Ten: Conquer or Die

1. Revolutionary War in the West and George Rogers Clark by John Reda
2. Sullivan Expedition by Daniel J. Tortora
3. Battle of Flamborough Head and John Paul Jones by Dennis M. Conrad

Chapter Eleven: Marks of Heroism

1. Siege of Savannah by Rita Folse Elliott
2. Siege of Charleston by David Lee Russell
3. Carolina Backcountry Militia Actions by Charles B. Baxley
4. Battle of Camden by Jim Piecuch
5. Battle of Kings Mountain by Jim Piecuch
6. Treason of Benedict Arnold and Hanging of John André by Dennis M. Conrad

Chapter Twelve: Conquest and Capture

1. Battle of Cowpens by John Buchanan
2. Race to the Dan by Dennis M. Conrad
3. Battle of Guilford Courthouse by Dennis M. Conrad
4. Battle of Hobkirk's Hill by John Buchanan
5. Siege of Ninety Six by Robert M. Dunkerly
6. Raid on New London by Matthew Reardon
7. Battle of Eutaw Springs by David Paul Reuwer
8. Yorktown Campaign by Diane K. Depew

Chapter Thirteen: Delivered with Eloquence

1. Perils of Peace by Thomas Fleming
2. British and Loyalist Evacuations of America by Dennis M. Conrad
3. Resignation of George Washington as Commander in Chief by Robert J. Allison

Epilogue Revolutionary Press Impact The Value of Primary Sources Contributors Acknowledgments Index


A Q&A with Todd Andrlik

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

QUESTION 1: How were you drawn to write about the intersection of journalism and the American Revolution?

I've always had a strong interest in journalism because working with the media is a daily function of my career in marketing and public relations. I just happened to stumble upon the historical significance of newspapers in 2007 when I picked up an authentic Civil War newspaper in a rare book shop. It triggered a newfound passion and enthusiasm for history, which I eventually concentrated on the American Revolution. I learned just how critical colonial newspapers, still in the infancy of existence, were in igniting and winning the Revolutionary War. As the only true form of mass media at the time, they were an essential propaganda tool. For instance, one Founding Father wrote during the Revolutionary War that a newspaper “in the present state of affairs would be equal to at least two regiments.”

QUESTION 2: You have built one of the most significant private collections of American Revolution-era newspapers. How did you go about building it? What sets your archive apart from others?

Newspapers in the 18th century became a collectible almost immediately after being printed. Thomas Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers were the first collectors of newspapers because they realized the value of their historical record. “I consider their preservation as a duty,” Jefferson said regarding the importance of collecting 18th century newspapers. Surprisingly, these newspapers still often turn up for sale at auction and in rare book or antique shops today. There are also many historical document dealers, including some that only sell rare and historic newspapers. There are several factors that distinguish the archive featured in Reporting the Revolutionary War from others, including focus, scarcity, perspective and accessibility. Each issue was curated with meticulous attention to quality, detail and timeliness. Collectively, they tell an amazing firsthand version of the American Revolution.

QUESTION 3: Your book offers “amazing characters, better-than-fiction plot twists, and the perfect climax…history in its purest form.” Who do you think is the ideal audience for this book?

I think this book transcends normal history circles and will appeal to anyone who appreciates a good story with major drama, adventure and excitement. You can't help but read this book and feel like you're witnessing history.

QUESTION 4: In the book's introduction, you offer “Revolutionary Newspaper Reading Tips”. What do you want potential readers to know before diving in?

Readers will quickly realize just how flexible and fluid the English language was only two centuries ago. One thing that will instantly stand out is the Old English s. Lowercase s letters in 18th century newspapers often used this long s version, which resembles a modern-day f. The Old English s better matched the handwritten s letters of the period, so words like “last” and “congress” will often appear as “laft” and “congrefs” (still pronounced the same though). While this may require some adjustment for readers, it makes for an authentic primary source experience. I wanted readers to experience the American Revolution the same way that many colonists did -- reading straight from the pages of town newspapers.

QUESTION 5: In the course of reading colonial newspapers, was there any information you uncovered that surprised you?

Yes! Surprising details and exciting discoveries leap out from almost every page. I can read the same newspaper multiple times and still find thrilling new tidbits that I missed the first time around. It's like treasure hunting. Historian Robert J. Allison, one of 37 contributors to Reporting the Revolutionary War, explains the experience as a chance to encounter things and worlds that no one else knows exist, and to see the world as George Washington and Paul Revere saw it. Some of my favorite discoveries include:
Boston Tea Party: In New England newspapers we first learn that someone tried to steal some of the tea during the Boston Tea Party, but they were quickly seized by other participating colonists. The same account explains that a padlock was broken on one of the ships and was quickly replaced because protestors wanted to be absolutely blameless for property destruction of anything but tea.
Raid on Fort William and Mary: I learned just how close the American Revolutionary War came to starting in New Hampshire instead of Massachusetts.
Yorktown Campaign: By reading newspapers, I discovered that a celebrity — King George III's son, Prince William Henry — was being entertained in New York by the Commander of British military forces, which was a distraction from important military matters, including the urgency to relieve Cornwallis at Yorktown.

QUESTION 6: These days, a lot of young people get their news from the web, social media, and TV programs like The Daily Show instead of newspapers. What would you say to someone who tells you, “Print is dead”?

I'd say you're right and wrong. Print is not dead yet, just scaling to decreased demand and adapting to modern news consumption habits. It is perhaps more accurate to say print is endangered. I imagine the Baby Boomers will help keep printed newspapers and magazines alive for a few more decades, but media business models will eventually be forced to acclimate to almost exclusive digital consumption preferences. At a time when the life expectancy of printed news is widely debated, it's nice to be publishing a book about the birth of free speech and the role of printed news in making America.

QUESTION 7: What moments in American Revolution-era history stand out to you? Do you have any favorite events?

My favorite years of the era are 1765 and 1774 because they include some of the most emotionally charged newspaper accounts. In 1765, we see Americans first rise up against Britain in the wake of the Stamp Act. Newspapers reported the terror campaign that colonists launched to fight the tax, including eyewitness accounts of the mobs, violence and boycotting, which helped lead to the Stamp Act's repeal. This is also where we first realize the power of the printed word and how newspapers helped motivate American farmers to become soldiers. The Powder Alarm of 1774 is another favorite event because of the raw adrenaline and anxiety of the moment. A rumored British attack on Boston sent shockwaves through the New England countryside and caused a major mobilization of militia that nearly ignited war a full eight months before Lexington and Concord.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
irishgirl06HF More than 1 year ago
It is utterly refreshing in 2012 to have a comprehensive narrative about the founding of our country that is at once inclusive, informative and insightful as it is readable and enjoyable. Thanks to the substantial work of Todd Andrlik and his timely book, 'Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News,' readers have exactly that. As Americans, we cherish our freedoms. Our country has served as a bench mark by which other democracies measure themselves - but do we really know or fully understand what went into making our country or the idea that was democracy? 'Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News,' not only pulls back the curtain on this time period allowing readers to look back through two-and-a-half centuries at our country's founding, it teaches and guides readers about how America came to be, from the aftermath of the French and Indian War to the rise of dissension and protests leading to full blown rebellion and war and ultimately, independence. Where a sad lack of focus on history and in particular, that of our nation's beginnings fall off, 'Reporting' steps in to not only fill but seam together the myriad chasms of education and comprehension in the years preceding, during and post American Revolution. Presenting an understanding of how our nation was formed and fought for is the driving message of this tome and for that reason alone, `Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News,' should be required reading. Andrlik, built one of the most significant private collections of Revolution-era newspapers containing the earliest printed reports of major events and battles from 1763-1783. Giving them meaning and sharing them was the idea behind this book. It opens a portal through which we can experience the stirrings of unrest, detect the anxiety news brings, feel the battles raging, and sense the oppression of uncertainty and ideals for which so many sacrificed. 'Reporting' is a unique book that provides an in-depth look at how news was reported and contrasts and compares reports including eye witness accounts, battlefield reports and newspaper items with the actual events. Reporting is a solid piece of research, information and analysis that is at once as approachable and informative as it is enjoyable. Covering the 1764 - 1784 era, 'Reporting' features excerpts from hundreds of newspapers, including the London Chronicle, Boston News-Letter, Boston Gazette, Massachusetts Spy and Pennsylvania Gazette, and takes the reader from the agitation and rebellion through all-out war to peace and British evacuation. What we know as history started as news and colonial newspapers provided the templates for informing and inciting citizenry, fomenting revolution and fanning the flames of independence or loyalty to the mother country. 'Reporting's packaging is clean and precise yet bright and robust. Thirteen chapters chronologically present America's making from 1764 to 1784 with an epilogue covering 1787, 1789 and 1796, with each digestible chapter dedicated to its topic lead by an essay from one of three dozen historians or experts to help present what is being featured. It is highlighted by illustrations, paintings and prints of events, personalities, battles or `acts' making that section a fascinating experience. Against a landscape of the actual newspaper illustrating the topic, a bold pull quote (close-up of a quote or item) from it helps readers take in the significance, and measure it against the newspaper item so they'll also see how to read an 18th century newspaper. What becomes stunningly clear and is part of the book's tag line, is that many of the events - the Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre and The Battle of Bunker Hill for example, were indeed news before they were history. Which sounds simple but as the chapters build upon one another, their layers present the perseverance, strategy, faith and determination throughout an eight-year conflict that was part of the `story' or what General Washington referred to as, `The Glorious Cause' that is independence. Readers will enjoy (as I did) learning about lesser known battles or actions such as the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 and the Battle of the Rice Boats and meeting personalities such as the self-taught military general, Nathanael Greene and his largely unsung, heroic efforts that turned back the tide of the southern theater for the Patriots by dividing then regathering his Army leading Gen. Cornwallis on a chase that eventually ended with the siege of Yorktown. Thanks to Andrlik's passion for colonial newspapers and history, students of the American Revolution, historians, teachers, re-enactors, printers and anyone with an interest in our country's beginning, will enjoy and appreciate this 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 print publications appears on the horizon.
BMackBM More than 1 year ago
When I first heard about this book over the summer, I did a little research on what it was about. It didn’t take long to realize that this is a brilliant idea for a Revolutionary War book. The concept of telling the story of the Revolution, which has been done many time, but now through the written words of “their” newspapers was an idea like no others. Yes, I have done research on the local Revolutionary War history that I am involved in and have come across a few interesting newspaper articles but this is way more than a few articles and a few stories, this is the history start to finish (taxes to Washington stepping down). 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. This is must have book for any novice, hobbyist, student, teacher, expert, historian, military enthuses, casual reader, etc. of history. Brian Mack
DrewMcLellan More than 1 year ago
Here's my worry about this book. It is so visually stunning that some may overlook the actual content. Don't let the beautiful, coffee table like photos and newspapers keep you from actually diving into the story of our Revolutionary War -- as told through the pages of the newspapers of the day. What's staggering is that the author has painstakingly collected and shared hundreds of real newspaper accounts of one of the most incredible times in our country's history. The book includes both Patriot and Loyalist eyewitness accounts from newspapers printed on both sides of the Atlantic and it's a glimpse into the passion, heartbreak and conviction of the time. Imagine being alive back then and only knowing what was going on by reading the area's paper. No Facebook, no CNN -- just the stories you read in the paper. You'll be drawn in as you turn the first page and as you read the accounts written by the real people who lived and died for the fight they believed in. As you turn the pages, it feels as if you are actually back in the eighteen century, experiencing the turbulence, terror and triumphs that were all part of the war. You will be mesmerized by this book and the stories it contains.
RevWarbooklover More than 1 year ago
I love this book! As soon as I found out about it I told my wife that I MUST HAVE it! I have never seen anything like it! I recieved it just the other day and I have not been able to put it down! I have been fascinated with the American Revolution since I was a young boy and this book brought out the excitement in me that a young boy would have on Christmas morning! The author Todd Andrlik, made mention of something that I never really thought about but is totally true, we don't have pictures of the events of the revolution because cameras didnt exist, the paintings we have were painted years after the revolution so the closest accounts of late 18th century life is the newsprint from that time. I am a tour guide in a colonial home that deals with the beginning of the Revolution and I will be somehow incorperating this book into my tours! Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before it was History, It was News is a goldmine of information and Todd Andrlik deserves to be comended on a job well done! Thank you Mr. Andrlik! I also want to mention that the B&N Exclusive Edition is awesome because it comes with 4 Reproduction Newspapers that were designed to come out of the book & read just like they would have 240+ years ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The content of this book is probably great but it is too difficult to manuever thru the nook book. I don't suggest buying it in nook format.
HughHarrington More than 1 year ago
I strongly dislike coffee table books. They're weak, scratch-the-surface fluff seemingly bought by either those who think they will appear cultured by having one on their coffee table or unknowing but well intentioned grandmothers. I like books that are either primary sources in themselves or are written by historians heavily relying on primary sources, endnotes. Clearly, such a book is not a coffee table book Then, Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History It Was News comes along and overturns the coffee table. It is loaded with the finest of primary sources - newspapers. Plus it has dozens of essays based on primary sources. In addition, the book gives the "flavor the times" from the outstanding newspaper images and illustrations. I can no longer say that "I strongly dislike coffee table books." Now, I'll have to say that "I strongly dislike coffee table books....with the sole exception of Reporting the Revolutionary War." This may be the most revolutionary book to come out in a long, long time. Reading the newspapers, and the historical essays, is to watch history unfold as readers during the Revolutionary War would have read it; without the history being distorted by the mists of 230+ years. It is a great adventure story to rank with the greatest of all time. It is not often that someone has the chance to create something new, and this book is something entirely new. Todd Andrlik and Neil Armstrong have something in common - going where no one else has ever gone before. I recommend the book very highly. I should also mention that while I contributed a historical essay to the book I did not see the other essays nor the newspapers or imagery before obtaining my own copy of the book. The finished work is far superior than I could have imagined. Hugh T. Harrington author of: Annie Abbott ‘The Little Georgia Magnet’ and the True Story of Dixie Haygood Remembering Milledgeville Civil War Milledgeville More Milledgeville Memories
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is awesome! There are so many newspapers to read and the "highlights" make it really easy to find the most interesting passages given the sheer volume of material. The introductions to each section and the essays from historians, professors, and even a high school teacher all provide insight to the role that newspapers played in the Revolution. This is a invaluable source for educators!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gave this to my 50 year old son who immediately put nose to the grindstone. Without a lot of time for recreational reading he was impressed, and the other family members are looking forwarrd to his sharing the book and the opinions and analogies it willl ultimately raise. Thank you for promoting the book so prominently on your website.
Tinclipp More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, so full of facts... for history buffs or anyone just wanting to learn more about it. you will enjoy this. I was so excited to get this book and show it off as much as i can .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fabulous gift for history buffs. a very unique way at looking at history actually. Newspapers are becoming almost archaic and it's hard to think back even 20 years to when news wasn't updated every minute, let alone thinking back to the Revolutionary War. really interesting even if you aren't a huge Revolutionary War buff.
MNMima More than 1 year ago
The content is worth reading, but the format is extremely difficult to read on an eReader. I have to hand-manipulate each square page to make the words readable and then scroll around to read. Finally, I must shrink to move to the next page and start the process over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this a 2 star because of the subject. I still think it would be a great read. I do not recommend it in the e-book format because the photos of the original newspapers are just too hard to read in this format. I will look for it in paper format.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago