Jim Christ

Nov 142022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

New York City, the strategic center of the Revolutionary War, was the most important place in North America in 1776. That summer, an unruly rebel army under George Washington repeatedly threatened to burn the city rather than let the British take it. Shortly after the Crown’s forces took New York City, much of it mysteriously burned to the ground.

This is the first book to fully explore the Great Fire of 1776 and why its origins remained a mystery even after the British investigated it in 1776 and 1783. Uncovering stories of espionage, terror, and radicalism, Benjamin L. Carp paints a vivid picture of the chaos, passions, and unresolved tragedies that define a historical moment we usually associate with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com//dp/0300246951


About Benjamin L. Carp: Benjamin L. Carp is the Daniel M. Lyons Professor of American History at Brooklyn College and teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution, will be published by Yale University Press in 2023. He also wrote Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (Yale, 2010), which won the Cox Book Prize from the Society of the Cincinnati in 2013, and Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution (Oxford, 2007). He has written about nationalism, firefighters, wet nurses, Benjamin Franklin, and Quaker merchants in Charleston, for scholarly journals like Early American Studies, Civil War History, New York History, the William and Mary Quarterly, and popular publications such as BBC History, Colonial Williamsburg, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and he previously taught at the University of Edinburgh and Tufts University.



Nov 142022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

In Revolutionary America: Washington’s Army, Disease and Society, the author argues that smallpox played an integral role in military affairs for both the British and Continental armies, and impacted soldiers and civilians throughout the War for American Independence. Due to the Royal army’s policy of troop inoculation and because many British soldiers were already immune to the variola virus, the American army was initially at a disadvantage. Most American colonists were highly susceptible to this dreaded disease, and its presence was greatly feared. General George Washington was keenly aware of this disadvantage and, despite his own doubts, embarked on a policy of inoculation to protect his troops. Use of this controversial, innovative, and effective medical procedure leveled the playing field within the armies. However, by 1777, smallpox spread throughout America as soldiers interacted with civilian populations. Once military action moved south, American and British auxiliary troops and the enslaved Southern population all succumbed to the disease, creating a disorderly, dangerous situation as the war ends. Washington’s implementation of isolation policies as well as mass troop inoculation removed the threat of epidemic smallpox and ultimately protected American soldiers and civilians from the dangers of this much feared disease.

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1793630690

About Ann M. Becker: Ann M. Becker is a Professor at SUNY Empire State College, and received her doctorate from Stony Brook University.  Dr. Becker has presented at numerous academic conferences, including the New England Historical Association and the American Historical Association, and has published two photo history books about communities on Long Island, and one on Stony Brook University’s history. Her article, “Smallpox in Washington’s Army: the Strategic Implications of the Disease during the American Revolutionary War,” appeared in the Journal of Military History in 2004, and “Smallpox at the Siege of Boston: “Vigilance against this most dangerous Enemy,” appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of the Historical Journal of Massachusetts and “The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818″ was published in 2019 by the same journal,. Her book, Smallpox in Washington’s ArmyDisease, War, and Society during the Revolutionary War, is forthcoming from Lexington Books, a division of Rowman and Littlefield.

Nov 112022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

In this major new history of the Continental Army’s Grand Forage of 1778, award-winning military historian Ricardo A. Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution: the Valley Forge winter. Here, the army launched its largest and riskiest operation—not a bloody battle against British forces but a campaign to feed itself and prevent starvation or dispersal during the long encampment. Herrera brings to light the army’s herculean efforts to feed itself, support local and Continental governments, and challenge the British Army.

Highlighting the missteps and triumphs of both General George Washington and his officers as well as ordinary soldiers, sailors, and militiamen, Feeding Washington’s Army moves far beyond oft-told, heroic, and mythical tales of Valley Forge and digs deeply into its daily reality, revealing how close the Continental Army came to succumbing to starvation and how strong and resourceful its soldiers and leaders actually were.

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B09DSCBY95

About Ricardo A. Herrera: Rick Herrera is an award-winning author and a professor in the Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College. Previously, he was Professor of Military History at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College. He specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth-century American military history, and is a recipient of the Society for Military History’s Moncado Prize, Distinguished Writing Awards from the Army Historical Foundation, and numerous research grants and fellowships.

Nov 102022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

Winner of the 2020 American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia Book of the Year!!
Redcoats. For Americans, the word brings to mind the occupying army that attempted to crush the Revolutionary War. There was more to these soldiers than their red uniforms, but the individuals who formed the ranks are seldom described in any detail in historical literature, leaving unanswered questions. Who were these men? Why did they join the army? Where did they go when the war was over?
In Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution, Don N. Hagist brings life to these soldiers, describing the training, experiences, and outcomes of British soldiers who fought during the Revolution. Drawing on thousands of military records and other primary sources in British, American, and Canadian archives, and the writings of dozens of officers and soldiers, Noble Volunteers shows how a peacetime army responded to the onset of war, how professional soldiers adapted quickly and effectively to become tactically dominant, and what became of the thousands of career soldiers once the war was over.
In this historical tour de force, introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, Hagist dispels long-held myths, revealing how remarkably diverse British soldiers were. They represented a variety of ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and many had joined the army as a peacetime career, only to find themselves fighting a war on another continent in often brutal conditions. Against the sweeping backdrop of the war, Hagist directs his focus on the small picture, illuminating the moments in an individual soldier’s life—those hours spent nursing a fever while standing sentry in the bitter cold, or writing a letter to a wife back home. What emerges from these vignettes is the understanding that while these were “common” soldiers, each soldier was completely unique, for, as Hagist writes, “There was no ‘typical’ British soldier.”

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com//dp/1594163499

About Don Hagist:

Don N. Hagist is an avid historical researcher and has spent much of his life studying and researching the history of the American Revolution, focusing on the British soldiers who served in America during that war. Besides several books, he has published numerous articles on the subject. He gives lectures in America and Great Britain, and is available for speaking engagements.

Don is an engineering consultant, and also writes humor material for cartoonists whose work appears in national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


Nov 092022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

The Battle of Brandywine, fought on September 11, 1777, along its namesake creek in the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside, was one of the largest engagements of the Revolutionary War. To those who participated in this massive battle, spread out over ten square miles and lasting from late afternoon until dark, it was unforgettable. Soon after the action, Major Joseph Bloomfield of the 3rd New Jersey recorded that it was “the grandest scene I ever saw, a sight beyond description.” Brandywine was the first major battle for the recently reorganized Continental Army. Units had fought in small engagements, but not until Brandywine did the army fight as a whole against the British. As the two armies clashed, a ferocious and desperate action developed on a hill at the heart of the battlefield, and it was here where the battle’s outcome was determined.
Despite its size and significance—Brandywine was the third bloodiest engagement of the war, with 1,300 American and 581 British casualties—the battle has been the subject of very few studies. In Decision at Brandywine: The Battle on Birmingham Hill, historian Robert M. Dunkerly analyzes the fighting near the Birmingham Meeting House where the battle turned. By dissecting the struggle on Birmingham Hill in detail, he offers a case study in weapons, tactics, and terrain analysis critical to a holistic understanding of the entire battle and what it would mean for the future of the Continental Army. In the process he not only explains how the Continental Army’s lack of uniformed training and inexperience in large open-field battles played a major role in their defeat, but also provides important information about Revolutionary War combat in general.

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com//dp/1594163669

About Robert “Bert” M. Dunkerly: Robert “Bert” M. Dunkerly is a historian, award-winning writer, and Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park. He holds a BA in history from St. Vincent College and an MA in historic preservation from Middle Tennessee State University. He has worked at fourteen historic sites, written over a dozen books and numerous scholarly articles, and has taught courses at Central Virginia Community College and the University of Richmond.


Nov 072022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

We recommend that you get here before 6:30pm to order your food and drinks before the lecture.  Program begins at 7:30pm.

Between 1776 and 1783, Britain hired an estimated 30,000 German soldiers to fight in its war against the Americans. Collectively known as Hessians, they actually came from six German territories within the Holy Roman Empire. Over the course of the war, members of the German corps, including women and children, spent extended periods of time in locations as dispersed and varied as Canada in the North to West Florida and Cuba in the South. They shared in every significant British military triumph and defeat. Thousands died of disease, were killed in battle, were captured by the enemy, or deserted.

Collectively, they recorded their experiences and observations of the war they fought in, the land they traversed, and the people they encountered in a large body of letters, diaries, and similar private and official records. Friederike Baer presents a study of Britain’s war against the American rebels from the perspective of the German soldiers, a people uniquely positioned both in the midst of the war and at its margins. The book offers a ground-breaking reimagining of this watershed event in world history.

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0190249633

About Friederike Baer: Friederike Baer is Associate Professor of History and Division Head for Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, Abington College. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Brown University. Her research focuses on the experiences of German-speaking people in North America from the Revolutionary period to the late nineteenth century. Her publications include the books “Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War” (New York, 2022), and “The Trial of Frederick Eberle: Language, Patriotism and Citizenship in Philadelphia’s German Community, 1790-1830,” (New York, 2008). Please visit https://friederikebaer.com/ for additional information.

Oct 032022

Live Meeting at Stone & Key Cellars 435 Doylestown Rd, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

Today, Germantown is a busy neighborhood in Philadelphia. On October 4, 1777, it was a small village on the outskirts of the colonial capital whose surrounding fields and streets witnessed one of the largest battles of the American Revolution. The bloody battle represented George Washington’s attempt to recapture Philadelphia, but has long been overshadowed by better-known events like Brandywine, Saratoga, and Valley Forge. Award-winning author Michael C. Harris’s impressive Germantown: A Military History of the Battle for the Control of Philadelphia, October 4, 1777, elevates this important action from obscurity in the first full-length study of this pivotal engagement.

 General Sir William Howe launched his campaign to capture Philadelphia in late July 1777, with an army of 16,500 British and Hessian soldiers aboard a 265-ship armada sailing from New York. Six difficult weeks later, Howe’s expedition landed near Elkton, Maryland, and moved north into Pennsylvania. Washington’s rebel army did all it could to harass Howe and fought and lost a major battle at Brandywine on September 11. Philadelphia fell to the British.

On October 4, obscured by darkness and a heavy morning fog, Washington launched a surprise attack on the British garrison at Germantown. His early attack found initial success and drove the British legions before him. The recapture of the colonial capital seemed within Washington’s grasp until poor decisions by the American high command brought about a reversal of fortune and a clear British victory. Like Brandywine, however, the bloody fight at Germantown proved that Continental soldiers could stand toe-to-toe with British Regulars. The Battle of Germantown began a protected quasi-siege of the British garrison in Germantown prior to the travails soon to come that winter at Valley Forge.

Harris’s Germantown is the first complete study to merge the strategic, political, and tactical history of this complex operation and important set-piece battle into a single compelling account. Following up on his award-winning Brandywine, Harris’s sweeping prose relies almost exclusively on original archival research and a deep personal knowledge of the terrain. Complete with original maps, numerous illustrations, and modern photos, and told largely through the words of those who fought there, Germantown: A Military History of the Battle for the Control of Philadelphia, October 4, 1777 is sure to please the most discriminating reader and assume its place as one of the finest military studies of its kind.

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Germantown-Military-History-Philadelphia-October/dp/1611215196

About Michael Harris:

Michael C. Harris is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the American Military University. He has worked for the National Park Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at Brandywine Battlefield. He has conducted tours and staff rides of many east coast battlefields. Michael is certified in secondary education and currently teaches in the Philadelphia region. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Michelle and son Nathanael.

Sep 222022

Online Meeting  (7:00pm Zoom opens) (7:30pm Lecture begins)

America’s War for Independence dramatically affected the speed and nature of broader social, cultural, and political changes including those shaping the place and roles of women in society. Women fought the American Revolution in many ways, in a literal no less than a figurative sense. Whether Loyalist or Patriot, Indigenous or immigrant enslaved or slave-owning, going willingly into battle or responding when war came to their doorsteps, women participated in the conflict in complex and varied ways that reveal the critical distinctions and intersections of race, class, and allegiance that defined the era.

This collection examines the impact of Revolutionary-era women on the outcomes of the war and its subsequent narrative tradition, from popular perception to academic treatment. The contributors show how women navigated a country at war, directly affected the war’s result, and influenced the foundational historical record left in its wake. Engaging directly with that record, this volume’s authors demonstrate the ways that the Revolution transformed women’s place in America as it offered new opportunities but also imposed new limitations in the brave new world they helped create.

Contributors: Jacqueline Beatty, York College * Carin Bloom, Historic Charleston Foundation * Todd W. Braisted, independent scholar * Benjamin L. Carp, Brooklyn College * Lauren Duval, University of Oklahoma * Steven Elliott, U.S. Army Center of Military History * Lorri Glover, Saint Louis University * Don N. Hagist, Journal of the American Revolution * Sean M. Heuvel, Christopher Newport University * Martha J. King, Papers of Thomas Jefferson * Barbara Alice Mann, University of Toledo * J. Patrick Mullins, Marquette University * Alisa Wade, California State University at Chico

Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0813948274

About Dr. Holly A. Mayer:

Holly A. Mayer is Professor Emerita of History at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and the author of Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution. Holly A. Mayer is an historian of early America. She taught at Duquesne for decades enlightened by many super students and colleagues. Her positions included History Department chair between 2007 and 2013 and Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs from 2017 to 2019. Dr. Mayer was also the visiting Harold K. Johnson Chair of Military History at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in 2016-2017.  She continues to be actively engaged with history as a researcher, editor, and author. Her primary interests include the social, cultural, and military histories of late eighteenth-century North America.

Aug 272022

ARRTOP’s Return to in-person meetings

The ARRTOP board has decided to return to in-person meetings (targeting October for our first in-person meeting).   In evaluating potential venues, the board primarily considered:  1) ability to accommodate 50 to 70 people, 2) food and drink service   3) room logistics and 4) location.

After a large search of the area, we have narrowed our choices to these 2 venues:  Scoogis and Stone & Key Cellars

Scoogis would be a return to our previous venue in the same room. We would have to switch our meeting night from Monday to Wednesday since they are currently closed on Monday and Tuesday.   Additional info (www.scoogis.com)

Pro’s:  1) Full Service Resturant  2) They have Heating/Air Conditioning 3) Much wider menu options  4) A/V Equipment would be there

Con’s  1) Room is smaller than Stone and Key Cellars  2) They charge us a room fee for each meeting  3) Move meetings to Wednesday night

Stone and Key Cellars is a winery and cidery which offers a selection of the wines, local microbrewing beer and Stone and Key Cellars/Boylan Bottling Company non-alcoholic drinks. They are open on Monday with a limited food menu.  Their room is much larger but with no servers.  They also have no HVAC equipment, but have fans and portable heaters.    (photos available on their Facebook page.  They are located at 435 Doylestown Rd in Montgomeryville.  Additional info (www.facebook.com/StoneAndKey , http://stoneandkeycellars.com )

Pro’s: 1) Bigger meeting space   2) No room fee  3) Keep Monday meeting date

Cons’s:  1) Not a full service resturant   2) No Heating/Air Conditioning (but they have fans and heaters)  3) Limited menu options  4) We would need to invest in new A/V Equipment

The Board invites you to provide us your thoughts on these venues prior to September 15 and submit your comments.

As always, your support of ARRTOP is greatly appreciated and we look forward to our long-awaited return to in-person meetings

                                                                          The ARRTOP Board

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    Aug 192022

    Online Meeting  (7:00pm Zoom opens) (7:30pm Lecture begins)

    In Past and Prologue, Michael Hattem shows how colonists’ changing understandings of their British and colonial histories shaped the politics of the American Revolution and the origins of American national identity. Between the 1760s and 1800s, Americans stopped thinking of the British past as their own history and created a new historical tradition that would form the foundation for what subsequent generations would think of as “American history.” This change was a crucial part of the cultural transformation at the heart of the Revolution by which colonists went from thinking of themselves as British subjects to thinking of themselves as American citizens. Rather than liberating Americans from the past—as many historians have argued—the Revolution actually made the past matter more than ever. Past and Prologue shows how the process of reinterpreting the past played a critical role in the founding of the nation.


    Book Purchase: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0300234961

    About Michael D. Hattem

    Michael D. Hattem earned his PhD in History from Yale University and BA in History from the City College of New York. He is Associate Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and has taught a wide variety of early American history and American Studies courses at Knox College and Lang College at The New School. His research interests include the American Revolution, historical memory, colonial New York City, and eighteenth-century political culture and intellectual history. He is the producer of “The JuntoCast,” the first podcast devoted to early American history and was a founding member and contributing editor of “The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History.”

    He has been awarded research fellowships from such institutions as the American Philosophical Society, The Library Company, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the New-York Historical Society, and Mount Vernon. He has also contributed to numerous public history projects including “Hamilton: The Exhibition.” He has published articles in academic journals and media outlets such as The Washington Post and appeared in a television documentary about the American Revolution. In 2013, he identified, authenticated, and wrote a catalogue essay for a long-lost Continental Congress document from 1775 that subsequently sold at auction for a record $912,500. As a songwriter, musician, and producer, he has released multiple records under the name “National Steel.”