Praise for The Indispensables:
“A vivid account of an impressive Revolutionary War unit and a can’t-miss choice for fans of O’Donnell’s previous books.”Kirkus Reviews
“Comprehensive . . . Revolutionary War buffs will delight in the copious details and vivid battle scenes.”Publishers Weekly
“Having saved the fledgling American army from complete destruction at the Battle of Long Island and made Washington’s Christmas Day counterstroke at Trenton possible, the Marblehead Regiment truly was Washington’s indispensable force. Patrick K. O’Donnell’s gift for storytelling brings the once famous regiment back to life, as he takes readers from the highest war councils to the grime and grit of battle, as it was keenly felt by the hard-bitten Marbleheaders. In this vivid and brilliant narrative, O’Donnell demonstrates that he is at the top of his game, as he has now written the one indispensable book on the early and most trying days of the American Revolution.”Dr. James Lacey, author of The Washington War
“Once again Patrick K. O’Donnell has succeeded in shedding new light on a previously overlooked or unappreciated aspect of American military history. The Indispensables is absolutely fascinating, a beautifully written account of men at war, with great issues in the balance. I know of no finer or more insightful historian of the American soldier’s experience than O’Donnell. Highest recommendation!”John C. McManus, author of Fire and Fortitude: The U.S. Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943
“Perfectly paced and powerfully wrought, this is the story of common men who gave everything for an idealAmerica. The product of meticulous research, The Indispensables is the perfect reminder of who we are, when we need it most.”Adam Makos, author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Call
“This is an amazing book about not just a regiment but a community. People from Marblehead contributed to every aspect of the American Revolution’s drama, politically and militarily, in the legislature and on the battlefield, on land and at sea. Patrick O’Donnell gives us a fast-paced, exciting look at Marblehead’s people, men and women, Black, white and Native American, soldier, politician and townsperson, Patriot and Loyalist, a community as diverse as the Revolution itself.”Don N. Hagist, author of The Revolution’s Last Men and editor of the Journal of the Revolution
“As the American colonies started down the road to American states, localities would often unite under their community leaders for the great struggle they sensed they were a part of. Such was the case of John Glover and his band of Marblehead sailor-soldiers. Historian Patrick K. O’Donnell sets forth in a gripping narrative the transformation of this New England town as it moves from protest to armed revolution. It is a fascinating, unique journey of a band of Massachusetts rebels who play a critical role in George Washington’s, and America’s, success and independence. Mr. O’Donnell’s work is a valuable contribution to furthering our understanding of the role of common soldiers and sailors in America’s founding.”Todd W. Braisted, author of Grand Forage 1778
“Based on meticulous research in primary source materials, Patrick O’Donnell has woven a gripping narrative that captures the extraordinary story of fighting men of whom few Americans have ever heard, but who nonetheless proved themselves ‘indispensable’ to the cause of American liberty.”Glenn F. Williams, Ph.D., author of Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era
“Broadly conceived and beautifully written, The Indispensables is an absolutely gripping book. Authored by the highly respected historian Patrick K. O’Donnell, it explores the story of the community of Marblehead, MA, and its famous Mariners Regiment, led by the determined John Glover, whose sailors and soldiers made a host of valuable military contributions through the critical battles of Trenton and Princeton. Highly recommended reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the real realities of the Revolutionary War.”James Kirby Martin, co-author of A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789
Praise for Patrick K. O’Donnell:
“One of our finest military historians who has few equals as a great storyteller.”Carlo D’Este, author of Patton, A Genius for War and Eisenhower, A Soldier’s Life
“Few authors have the same kind of enthusiasm and gusto that O’Donnell brings to his topic. His gift is taking the reader from the map room to the battlefield. It’s an exciting, often harrowing, trip worth taking.”USA Today
“O’Donnell admirably blends a story of ardent farmers, merchants and mariners with a combat story of sharp, bloody engagements . . . An example of combat writing at its best.”Wall Street Journal, on Washington’s Immortals
“Patrick O’Donnell is blessed with a rare gift for storytelling and a keen empathy for the realities of soldiers in combat. He walks in the footsteps of his subjects like few other historians are ableor willingto do.”John C. McManus, Ph.D., author of The Dead and Those About to Die and Deadly Sky
The Revolutionary War achievements of a Massachusetts regiment that, while not necessarily indispensable, deserves this admirable history.
Prolific military historian O’Donnell begins with a history of Marblehead, Massachusetts, the second-largest New England town during this period. With an economy driven by fishing, its citizens were already primed to dislike British officials, who heavily regulated the trade and outraged its sailors by impressing them into the Royal Navy. Following the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the oppression of Britain’s “Intolerable Acts,” Marblehead citizens formed their own committees of correspondence, Sons of Liberty, and minutemen—a bumpy process because the city contained a pugnacious and often subversive loyalist faction. By the time fighting broke out in 1775, the town militia consisted of a series of companies that ultimately formed a regiment led by John Glover, “the most experienced officer.” As the author points out, the forces included a surprising number of Blacks and Native soldiers. O’Donnell delivers an expert history of the first two years of the Revolution, with an emphasis on Glover’s regiment. After the siege of Boston, Glover and his troops accompanied George Washington south to New York, where he suffered the disastrous defeat on Long Island. The author demonstrates—and most historians agree—that Washington’s army was saved by a secret overnight evacuation to Manhattan in boats manned by Marblehead seamen. The regiment performed well during Washington’s retreat across Manhattan and New Jersey before truly winning glory by conveying troops across the ice-choked Delaware to the heralded victory at Trenton in December 1776. Other units failed to cross. During this period, many Marbleheaders fitted out vessels as privateers whose captains and crews, many from Glover’s regiment, began seizing British merchant vessels, marking the “origins of the US Navy.” By January, the regiment’s enlistments expired, and many, sick and often wounded, walked the 300 miles back to their now-impoverished city—though some stayed to fight.
A vivid account of an impressive Revolutionary War unit and a can’t-miss choice for fans of O’Donnell’s previous books.