Apr 062021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

A revelatory narrative of the 535 Pennsylvania and New Jersey privateers, privately owned ships of war some called pirates. Manned by nearly 18,000 men, these privateers influenced the fight for American independence. From the halls of Congress to the rough waterfronts of Delaware River and Bay to the remote privateering ports of the New Jersey coast and into the Atlantic, a stirring portrait emerges of seaborne raiders, battles, and derring-do, as well as incredible escapes from the great British prison ships “vulgarly called Hell,” where more than 11,000 men perished. A work 40 years in the making extracted from archives in both Europe and America, it is a tale unrivaled by any Hollywood fiction.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Privateers-Revolution-Jersey-Coast-1775-1783/dp/0764350331

 

About Donald Grady Shomette

A graduate of Pratt Institute, nationally known maritime historian Donald Grady Shomette served for over two decades as a staff member of the Library of Congress. As a cultural resources consultant and marine archaeologist, he has been engaged by myriad museums, universities, and governments. He has worked internationally under the sponsorships of the National Geographic Society, National Park Service, US Navy, and others. Author of numerous books, and contributor to many encyclopedias and anthologies of history and archaeology, his writings have also appeared in such publications as National Geographic, History and Technology, and Sea History. He is twice winner of the prestigious John Lyman Book Award for Best American Maritime History, a recipient of the Calvert Prize for historic preservation, and holds an honorary PhD from the University of Baltimore.

Jan 222021
 

Online Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Dr. Holly A. Mayer and she will be talking about her book Congress’s Own: A Canadian Regiment, the Continental Army, and American Union

Colonel Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment was one of the first “national” regiments in the American army. Created by the Continental Congress, it drew members from Canada, eleven states, and foreign forces. “Congress’s Own” was among the most culturally, ethnically, and regionally diverse of the Continental Army’s regiments—a distinction that makes it an apt reflection of the union that was struggling to create a nation.

The 2nd Canadian, like the larger army, represented and pushed the transition from a colonial, continental alliance to a national association. The problems the regiment raised and encountered underscored the complications of managing a confederation of states and troops.

In this enterprising study of an intriguing and at times “infernal” regiment, Holly A. Mayer marshals personal and official accounts—from the letters and journals of Continentals and congressmen to the pension applications of veterans and their widows—to reveal what the personal passions, hardships, and accommodations of the 2nd Canadian can tell us about the greater military and civil dynamics of the American Revolution. Congress’s Own follows congressmen, commanders, and soldiers through the Revolutionary War as the regiment’s story shifts from tents and trenches to the halls of power and back.

Interweaving insights from borderlands and community studies with military history, Mayer tracks key battles and traces debates that raged within the Revolution’s military and political borderlands wherein subjects became rebels, soldiers, and citizens. Her book offers fresh, vivid accounts of the Revolution that disclose how “Congress’s Own” regiment embodied the dreams, diversity, and divisions within and between the Continental Army, Congress, and the emergent union of states during the War for American Independence.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Congresss-Own-Continental-Campaigns-Commanders/dp/080616851X

 

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.

Jan 082021
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Donald F Johnson and he will be talking about his book Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of the Revolution

In Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of the Revolution, Donald F Johnson chronicles the everyday experience of ordinary people living under military occupation during the American Revolution. Focusing on day-to-day life in port cities held by the British Army, Johnson recounts how men and women from a variety of backgrounds navigated harsh conditions, mitigated threats to their families and livelihoods, took advantage of new opportunities, and balanced precariously between revolutionary and royal attempts to secure their allegiance.

Between 1775 and 1783, every large port city along the Eastern seaboard fell under British rule at one time or another. As centers of population and commerce, these cities—Boston, New York, Newport, Philadelphia, Savannah, Charleston—should have been bastions from which the empire could restore order and inspire loyalty. Military rule’s exceptional social atmosphere initially did provide opportunities for many people—especially women and the enslaved, but also free men both rich and poor—to reinvent their lives, and while these opportunities came with risks, the hope of social betterment inspired thousands to embrace military rule. Nevertheless, as Johnson demonstrates, occupation failed to bring about a restoration of imperial authority, as harsh material circumstances forced even the most loyal subjects to turn to illicit means to feed and shelter themselves, while many maintained ties to rebel camps for the same reasons. As occupations dragged on, most residents no longer viewed restored royal rule as a viable option.

As Johnson argues, the experiences of these citizens reveal that the process of political change during the Revolution occurred not in a single instant but gradually, over the course of years of hardship under military rule that forced Americans to grapple with their allegiance in intensely personal and highly contingent ways. Thus, according to Johnson, the quotidian experience of military occupation directly affected the outcome of the American Revolution.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link. https://www.amazon.com/Occupied-America-Military-Experience-Revolution-ebook/dp/B088LS81DD

 

About Donald F. Johnson

Donald F. Johnson is a historian of popular politics in Revolutionary America. He resides with his wife Sara, four cats, and a St. Bernard in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he teaches early American and public history at North Dakota State University. Before coming to NDSU in 2015 he earned a PhD in American History at Northwestern University, an MA in American Material Culture from the University of Delaware, and a BA in History and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland

 

Jan 082021
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Kathleen DuVal and she will be talking about her award winning book Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution


Winner of the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award • Winner of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey History Prize • Finalist for the George Washington Book Prize

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America’s marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

While citizens of the thirteen rebelling colonies came to blows with the British Empire over tariffs and parliamentary representation, the situation on the rest of the continent was even more fraught. In the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish forces clashed with Britain’s strained army to carve up the Gulf Coast, as both sides competed for allegiances with the powerful Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations who inhabited the region. Meanwhile, African American slaves had little control over their own lives, but some individuals found opportunities to expand their freedoms during the war.

Independence Lost reveals that individual motives counted as much as the ideals of liberty and freedom the Founders espoused: Independence had a personal as well as national meaning, and the choices made by people living outside the colonies were of critical importance to the war’s outcome. DuVal introduces us to the Mobile slave Petit Jean, who organized militias to fight the British at sea; the Chickasaw diplomat Payamataha, who worked to keep his people out of war; New Orleans merchant Oliver Pollock and his wife, Margaret O’Brien Pollock, who risked their own wealth to organize funds and garner Spanish support for the American Revolution; the half-Scottish-Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, who fought to protect indigenous interests from European imperial encroachment; the Cajun refugee Amand Broussard, who spent a lifetime in conflict with the British; and Scottish loyalists James and Isabella Bruce, whose work on behalf of the British Empire placed them in grave danger. Their lives illuminate the fateful events that took place along the Gulf of Mexico and, in the process, changed the history of North America itself.

Adding new depth and moral complexity, Kathleen DuVal reinvigorates the story of the American Revolution. Independence Lost is a bold work that fully establishes the reputation of a historian who is already regarded as one of her generation’s best.

 

BOOK PURCHASE:  To purchase this book please click on this link  https://www.amazon.com/Independence-Lost-Lives-American-Revolution/dp/0812981200

 

Kathleen DuVal

Kathleen DuVal teaches Early American history and American Indian history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her previous books include The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent, winner of the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award from the Arkansas Historical Association. She is also co-editor of Interpreting a Continent: Voices from Colonial America.

Dec 282020
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author John Knight and he will be talking about his new book War at Saber Point: Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion.

The American Loyalist Regiment Led by the Most Charismatic British Commander of the War

The British Legion was one of the most remarkable regiments, not only of the American Revolution, but of any war. A corps made up of American Loyalists, it saw its first action in New York and then engaged in almost every battle in the Southern colonies. Led by a twenty-four-year-old libertine who purchased his commission to escape enormous gambling debts, the Legion gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics. Excelling in “special operations,” they frequently overwhelmed the Continental forces they fought, becoming the most feared British regiment of the war.

Banastre Tarleton and the Americans he led have always been characterized as brutal, immoral villains—most recently in the movie, The Patriot. But this study subverts our pre-conceived notions of patriotism. The men who filled the Legions ranks were not weak-willed collaborators or treacherous renegades, but free men as motivated by conscience as the Patriots they battled. Few were wealthy. None had a vested stake in the British Government. Each believed that in defending the Crown; they were upholding the rule of law and preserving individual liberty.

These men followed Banastre Tarleton clear across America for years, sacrificing not only their families and homes but, in many instances, their lives. Self-interest could not have persuaded them to do this. Patriotism and fidelity did. Relying on first-hand accounts—letters, diaries, and journals—and other primary sources, War at Saber Point: Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion is the enthralling story of those forgotten Americans and the young Englishman who led them.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click here:  https://www.amazon.com/War-Saber-Point-Banastre-Tarleton/dp/1594163529

 

JOHN KNIGHT earned a joint honors degree in American History and Politics from Warwick University. He was a fine-art appraiser for a number of London-based auction houses including Christie’s and Bonhams before taking up writing and lecturing full-time. A regular contributor to the Journal of the American Revolution, he splits his time between homes in Nottingham, England, and Dutchess County, New York.

 

Sep 302020
 

OnLine Meeting

The speaker will be Virginia DeJohn Anderson. She is a history professor at the University of Colorado. Dr. Anderson has co-authored a U.S. history textbook, and three books on history. Her last book, The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution, was the honorable mention recipient of the ARRTOP 2017 Book of the Year award. In addition to contrasting the lives of Nathaniel Hale and Moses Dunbar, Dr. Anderson’s book examines in great detail how the Revolutionary War impacted towns and non-soldiers in Connecticut.

In September 1776, two men from Connecticut each embarked on a dangerous mission. One of the men, a soldier disguised as a schoolmaster, made his way to British-controlled Manhattan and began furtively making notes and sketches to bring back to the beleaguered Continental Army general, George Washington. The other man traveled to New York to accept a captain’s commission in a loyalist regiment before returning home to recruit others to join British forces. Neither man completed his mission. Both met their deaths at the end of a hangman’s rope, one executed as a spy for the American cause and the other as a traitor to it.

2017 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention)

Neither Nathan Hale nor Moses Dunbar deliberately set out to be a revolutionary or a loyalist, yet both suffered the same fate. They died when there was every indication that Britain would win the American Revolution. Had that been the outcome, Dunbar, convicted of treason and since forgotten, might well be celebrated as a martyr. And Hale, caught spying on the British, would likely be remembered as a traitor, rather than a Revolutionary hero.

In The Martyr and the Traitor, Virginia DeJohn Anderson offers an intertwined narrative of men from very similar backgrounds and reveals how their relationships within their families and communities became politicized as the imperial crisis with Britain erupted. She explores how these men forged their loyalties in perilous times and believed the causes for which they died to be honorable. Through their experiences, The Martyr and the Traitor illuminates the impact of the Revolution on ordinary lives and how the stories of patriots and loyalists were remembered and forgotten after independence.

To purchase Ms Anderson’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Martyr-Traitor-Nathan-American-Revolution/dp/0190055626

Sep 302020
 

 

OnLine Meeting:

The speaker will be Colin G. Calloway. Dr. Calloway is the John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. He’s written multiple books on Native Americans, and their interactions with colonists, European and Patriot armies, and Americans. He’ll be speaking about his 2018 book, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation, which won the ARRTOP 2018 Book of the Year award.

George Washington’s place in the foundations of the Republic remains unrivalled. His life story from his beginnings as a surveyor and farmer, to colonial soldier in the Virginia Regiment, leader of the Patriot cause, commander of the Continental Army, and finally first president of the United States reflects the narrative of the nation he guided into existence. There is, rightfully, no more chronicled figure.

2018 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award

Yet American history has largely forgotten what Washington himself knew clearly: that the new Republic’s fate depended less on grand rhetoric of independence and self governance and more on land Indian land. Colin G. Calloway’s biography of the greatest founding father reveals in full the relationship between Washington and the Native leaders he dealt with intimately across the decades: Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Guyasuta, Attakullakulla, Bloody Fellow, Joseph Brant, Cornplanter, Red Jacket, and Little Turtle, among many others. Using the prism of Washington’s life to bring focus to these figures and the tribes they represented the Iroquois Confederacy, Lenape, Miami, Creek, Delaware Calloway reveals how central their role truly was in Washington’s, and therefore the nation’s, foundational narrative.

Calloway gives the First Americans their due, revealing the full extent and complexity of the relationships between the man who rose to become the nation’s most powerful figure and those whose power and dominion declined in almost equal degree during his lifetime. His book invites us to look at America’s origins in a new light. The Indian World of George Washington is a brilliant portrait of both the most revered man in American history and those whose story during the tumultuous century in which the country was formed has, until now, been only partially told.

To purchase Mr. Calloway’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Indian-World-George-Washington-President/dp/019005669X

Aug 272020
 
Online Meeting:
The speaker, Aaron Sullivan, is a local historian, writer, and history professor at Temple University, Holy Family University, and Rider University. In 2019, he released his first book, The Disaffected: Britain’s Occupation of Philadelphia During the American Revolution. Two hundred forty-three years and two days after the British marched in to Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, Dr. Sullivan will be presenting on his recent book. His book is available on Amazon. A meeting invitation with link will be sent out to members a few days before the meeting.
In September, 2013, while a graduate student student at Temple University, Aaron Sullivan gave a presentation before ARRTOP. Since that time he’s gotten a Ph.D. from Temple, been a writer and a historian, and has taught history at Rider University, at Holy Family University, and at his alma mater. In 2019 he released his first book, The Disaffected: Britain’s Occupation of Philadelphia During the American Revolution. On September 28th, two hundred forty-three years and two days after the British marched in to Philadelphia, Dr. Sullivan will be presenting on his book.
For the Amazon link, use this URL:
Aug 272020
 

Everyone recognizes John Hancock’s signature at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence but Nina Sankovitch’s American Rebels explores for the first time the family and community connections that led to it. Sankovitch examines the intertwined lives of John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Jr, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock, and argues for the distinct roles each played in fomenting revolution. Their trajectory from loyal British subjects to American rebels was forged in childhood; and their deeply held convictions, founded in community, fueled their collaborations during the fraught and violent years leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776. Sankovitch presents in vivid detail, backed up by extensive and new research, the ties that bound these men and women together (including faith, love, ambition, and envy) and drove them to rebel against England, while also demonstrating how the desire for independence cut across class lines, and how families could be divided, rebels versus loyalists, in pursuing commonly-held goals of opportunity, liberty, and stability.

Nina Sankovitch has lived an interesting life. She graduated from Harvard Law School. Many years later, after the death of  her older sister due to cancer, she dealt with her grief by reading a book a day for a year, and reviewing the books on her blog. This experience led her to write her first book, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. She followed that up with Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing, a subject for which she also gave a TED Talk. Her third book was her first full-scale foray into history, The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family. Her fourth book, which is the subject of her presentation, is American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution. Ms. Sankovitch’s latest book is also available on Amazon. A meeting invitation with link will be sent out to members a few days before the meeting.

You can purchase Ms. Sankovitch’s book using this link:  https://www.amazon.com/American-Rebels-Hancock-Families-Revolution/dp/1250163285

Jul 232020
 

ONLINE Meeting:

 

From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2018 president of the American Historical Association, a groundbreaking book–the first to look at the critical “long year” of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from December 1773 to mid-April 1775, from the Boston Tea Party and the first Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

This masterly work of historical writing, Mary Beth Norton’s first in almost a decade, looks at the sixteen months during which the traditional loyalists to King George III began their discordant “discussions” that led to their acceptance of the inevitability of war against the British Empire and to the clashes at Lexington and Concord in mid-April 1775.      Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers, and personal correspondence, Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it happened, showing the vigorous campaign mounted by conservatives criticizing congressional actions. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, governors throughout the colonies informed colonial officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of the committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans, even before the outbreak of war in April 1775, had in effect “declared independence” by obeying the decrees of their new provincial governments rather than colonial officials. The much-anticipated new book by one of America’s most dazzling historians–the culmination of more than four decades of Norton’s research and thought.