Seventy six years after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Ben Lossing set out to explore the reaches of Revolutionary action from New York to Savannah. He was curious to see for himself where things had happened, to talk to those who still remembered. And he succeeded in getting backing for his journey, chiefly made in a wagon, drawn by the good-natured, sturdy Charley -- and he published his journal, with sketches made as he went. Elswyth Thane, in concentrating on those aspects of the Revolution fought below the Potomac, has skillfully woven Lossing's narrative into her own, and at points strengthened both by inclusion of material from contemporary sources- records of men who were there. There is an extraordinary sense of immediacy, of shared experience, of personal knowledge of the men who made history, commanders like Greene, Wayne, Lafayette, familiar to those who know each facet of Washington's career; men like Sumter and Marion, who fought a lone, partisan war; De Kalb, Pulaski, Steuben- foreigners who helped put the stamp of professional soldiers on ragged colonial troops. While the war -- fought through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, forms the main body of the work, the long retreat of Washington from New York to Trenton, the shifting scene of Congress from Philadelphia, New York to Philadelphia again, the state legislatures, the background personalities that fired the spark of liberty, all come into the picture. It's absorbing reading which puts considerable demands upon the reader, who needs must know something of consecutive events, of the mood and tempo of the times, and- ideally- something of the geography of the areas. It certainly is not history in the conventional sense, but is one of those rare books that informs history, deepens understanding and opens new horizons.