A BATTLEFIELD ATLAS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
Author: Craig L Symonds
Cartographer:William J. Clipson
Published by Savas Beattie, California, USA 1986 and 2018
Paperback 114 pages
E-mail sales: sales@savasbeaUe.com
Price: US $18.95
This book was written as a textbook resource for students at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The writer, now a retired educator with years of experience and awards, has republished a book he first produced in hard copy in 1986 and updated in 2018 with minor changes. His sources are all exclusively American authors whose work was published between 1945 and 1970, without additional updated sources. As Symonds states in his foreward, much has been discovered since the 1970s but the value of the overview offered by the original text, he felt, merited a reprint. One needs to read this book to decide if this is true! This book covers, almost exclusively, batdes on American soil with the exception of forays into Montreal and Quebec. It is organized into four parts in chronological order: early campaigns northward and in New York, campaigns in central New England states, French and German alliances morphing into global war, and the Southern campaign ending with the Battle of Yorktown and the British surrender. Each map is accompanied by a description of the action with notes referring the reader to numbered sites or references to other maps. Symonds has written an introduction for each section of his book with an analysis of the significance of the military action therein, as well as an appraisal of the performance, militarily, of both British, and American generals and tacticians.
The focus is on reporting military strategy by land and by sea between American Rebels and British Officers, while praising Washington at every turn. While heroes on both sides of the conflict are praised for their effective strategy, or missed opportunities, Loyalist participation and Indian alliances are dismissed as an afterthought. Fortunately, much has been discovered and written in the years since 1970 that continues to reveal the complex history of all participants in the Battles of the American Revolution and, in particular, the contributions of Loyalists and Native alliances to the British cause. These sources counter-balance Symonds work.
The real value of this book from the readers' point of view is the collaborative work of Symonds and William Clipson, the cartographer, who produced the geographical maps of the battles described by Symonds. Being able to visually follow the maneuvers of the combattants, including insets for a more detailed look at battle sites, greatly assists the reader in understanding the geography of each battle: who led, who supported, when, where and how. In this sense, the book provides an exceptional overview or birds eye view of the American Revolution. It is up to the reader to fill in the details and flesh out the Loyalist and Native contribution in the American Revolution.
Reviewed by Grietje R. McBride UE, B.Sc.,
Review Editor of The Loyalist Gazette