A graphic presentation of the Revolution, dramatizing monumental events as well as the struggles of individuals. Eight chapters organize the war by such topics as causes, naval battles, frontier participation, spies, and Loyalists. Drawing on primary sources--court testimony, letters, diaries--Marrin details everyday life. His descriptions of battles engage the reader's senses as soldiers slide on grass slippery with blood, smell the stench of dead horses, or struggle under 120 pounds of equipment; more important, Marrin gives the reader a real grasp on certain topics--e.g., how strategy evolved over the vast, sparsely populated territory and how the bitterness between Revolutionaries and Native Americans generated by the war influenced subsequent westward expansion. Portraits of personalities--Washington, George Rogers Clark, Benedict Arnold, John Paul Jones, and others--emphasize their human strengths and failings; the roles of women, slaves, and Native Americans are also discussed. Report writers will find plenty of facts here; readers will be captivated by Marrin's vivid narrative style, exemplifying historical writing at its best. Research materials are often noted in context, but without full bibliographical citations. There are many maps plus a wealth of black-and-white reproductions of contemporary representations of people and events (unfortunately, most sources are also omitted here). Bibliography, index.