SARATOGA: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum
Kirkus Star

SARATOGA: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An exciting and richly detailed narrative history of the events leading up to the decisive battle that altered the course of the American war for independence. Distinguished historian Ketchum (The Borrowed Years: 1938--1941, etc.) uses a wide range of primary and secondary sources to vividly depict this extraordinary drama. When ""Gentleman Johnny"" Burgoyne's feared army of British and German veterans invaded New York, intending to meet up with General Howe's forces, they seemed at first unstoppable. Burgoyne's fierce (and uncontrollable) Indian allies terrorized the countryside, killing civilians and burning and looting outlying settlements. The settlers (some of them previously lukewarm about the revolution) were forced to unite to defend their lives, families, and homes. The Americans soundly defeated the forces of the king at the fierce battles of Bennington and Fort Stanwix. At the same time, a merciless civil war between loyalists and rebels was being fought out in a series of small, vicious engagements. Burgoyne's logistical problems (he was compelled to drag mountains of equipment and supplies over narrow, primitive roads in unfamiliar country) and constant casualties served to weaken his seemingly invincible army. His exhausted forces were finally surrounded at Saratoga, and in the ensuing battle the Americans won a great victory under the courageous leadership of Benedict Arnold, Dan Morgan, and John Glover. Burgoyne's stunning surrender of his 6,000-man army brought a reassured France into the war on the side of the Americans, a move that would prove decisive. With clear, vigorous prose and well-drawn portraits of famous and obscure personalities, Ketchum captures a stirring time in American history, producing what should be the definitive study of Burgoyne's defeat for many years to come.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0805061231
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Henry Holt