Subtitled: A Popular History -- it is and it should be, especially with younger readers who are most likely to be receptive to the gusty irreverence Mr. Chidsey brings to his Revolutionary series. (July 4th, 1776; Valley Forge, and The Great Separation.) This book covers the first year of the war as it was fought, or postponed, in New York and New Jersey. The brothers Howe, British Admiral and General respectively, are particular targets of the author's mingled admiration and razzing for the way they adorned their battles or the drawing rooms of Loyalists. One of the great things about Mr. Chidsey's style, in addition to his excellent storytelling, is his toymaker's touch with the small but enlivening detail. He also revitalizes the war which has been done (or done in) by so many writers before him. He makes you want to take sides. Since he is no respecter of British sensibilities, you're on Washington's cheering team all the way. You can achieve a new appreciation for the SNAFUs of a campaign that ran through the harvest season and was often abandoned by the farmer/soldiers and for the man who managed to take some victories away from the superior forces and equipment of the British by the end of the first year's fighting.