Jan 182022
 

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

The speaker for this meeting is  Nancy Rubin Stuart.  She’ll be speaking about her recently released book (March 15th), Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father.

A vivid portrait of the women who loved, nurtured, and defended America’s famous scientist and founding father.  Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin—the thrifty inventor-statesman of the Revolutionary era—but not about his love life. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women Ben loved and lost during his lifelong struggle between passion and prudence. The most prominent among them was Deborah Read Franklin, his common-law wife and partner for forty-four years. Long dismissed by historians, she was an independent, politically savvy woman and devoted wife who raised their children, managed his finances, and fought off angry mobs at gunpoint while he traipsed about England.

Weaving detailed historical research with emotional intensity and personal testimony, Nancy Rubin Stuart traces Deborah’s life and those of Ben’s other romantic attachments through their personal correspondence. We are introduced to Margaret Stevenson, the widowed landlady who managed Ben’s life in London; Catherine Ray, the twenty-three-year-old New Englander with whom he traveled overnight and later exchanged passionate letters; Madame Brillon, the beautiful French musician who flirted shamelessly with him, and the witty Madame Helvetius, who befriended the philosophes of pre-Revolutionary France and brought Ben to his knees.

What emerges from Stuart’s pen is a colorful and poignant portrait of women in the age of revolution. Set two centuries before the rise of feminism, Poor Richard’s Women depicts the feisty, often-forgotten women dear to Ben’s heart who, despite obstacles, achieved an independence rarely enjoyed by their peers in that era.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Richards-Women-Franklin-Founding/dp/0807011304

ABOUT NANCY RUBIN STUART : Nancy has been writing since she was nine years old. An award-winning author/journalist she specializes in social history, social trends and women’s history. Long before today’s War On Women her books highlighted the lives of important, but often forgotten women.

Nancy’s eighth nonfiction book, “Poor Richard’s Women” will be published in February 2022. This ground-breaking book traces the little-known stories of the women Benjamin Franklin loved and lost throughout his life. Early reviews have been positive. Publisher’s Weekly described it as a ‘fresh perspective” on Franklin and predicted “history buffs will be fascinated.” Kirkus called it ‘”a revealing document about early American history.”

Nancy’s earlier book “Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Eva Women and the Radical Men They Married” was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club-2, the History Book Club and the Military Book Club. Other acclaimed books include The Muse of the Revolution:” “The Reluctant Spiritualist”, “American Empress;” “Isabella of Castile;” “The Mother Mirror” and “The New Suburban Woman.” (The last four on this list appeared under her previous pen name, Nancy Rubin).

Nancy has appeared on national television, been interviewed on national radio, including NPR’s “Morning Edition.” She often speaks before live audiences and book clubs, and more recently on podcasts and Zoom.

Her journalistic work includes New York Times, the Huffington Post, New England Quarterly, American History and other national magazines. Nancy serves as Executive Director of the Cape Cod Writers Center.

Connect with her at www.nancyrubinstuart.com. www.facebook.com/NancyRubinStuart

Jan 182022
 

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

The speaker for this meeting is David Head.  He’ll be speaking about his 2019 book, A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution. This book won the ARRTOP 2020 Honorable Mention Book Award

In the war’s waning days, the American Revolution neared collapsed when Washington’s senior officers were rumored to be on the edge of mutiny.

After the British surrender at Yorktown, the American Revolution blazed on—and as peace was negotiated in Europe, grave problems surfaced at home. The government was broke and paid its debts with loans from France. Political rivalry among the states paralyzed Congress. The army’s officers, encamped near Newburgh, New York, and restless without an enemy to fight, brooded over a civilian population indifferent to their sacrifices.

The result was the so-called Newburgh Conspiracy, a mysterious event in which Continental Army officers, disgruntled by a lack of pay and pensions, may have collaborated with nationalist-minded politicians such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris to pressure Congress and the states to approve new taxes and strengthen the central government.

A Crisis of Peace tells the story of a pivotal episode of George Washington’s leadership and reveals how the American Revolution really ended: with fiscal turmoil, out-of-control conspiracy thinking, and suspicions between soldiers and civilians so strong that peace almost failed to bring true independence.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Peace-Washington-Conspiracy-Revolution/dp/1643130811

ABOUT DAVID HEAD :

David Head teaches history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Originally from Western New York, he received his B.A. in history from Niagara University and his Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo.

An expert in maritime history, pirates, and privateers as well as the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers, David has published four books, including two as author and two as editor. His work has been honored by Mystic Seaport Museum, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Maryland Historical Society, and his research has been supported, most recently, by the National Endowment for the Humanities and by George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

David lives in Orlando with his wife and three children and enjoys visits to Disney World. His superpower is grading papers while little girls climb on him.

 

Jan 112022
 

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

The speaker for this meeting is Rod Andrew, Jr. He’ll be speaking about his 2017 book, The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder.

Andrew Pickens (1739–1817), the hard-fighting South Carolina militia commander of the American Revolution, was the hero of many victories against British and Loyalist forces. In this book, Rod Andrew Jr. offers an authoritative and comprehensive biography of Pickens the man, the general, the planter, and the diplomat. Andrew vividly depicts Pickens as he founds churches, acquires slaves, joins the Patriot cause, and struggles over Indian territorial boundaries on the southern frontier. Combining insights from military and social history, Andrew argues that while Pickens’s actions consistently reaffirmed the authority of white men, he was also determined to help found the new republic based on broader principles of morality and justice.

After the war, Pickens sought a peaceful and just relationship between his country and the southern Native American tribes and wrestled internally with the issue of slavery. Andrew suggests that Pickens’s rise to prominence, his stern character, and his sense of duty highlight the egalitarian ideals of his generation as well as its moral shortcomings–all of which still influence Americans’ understanding of themselves.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-General-Andrew-Pickens/dp/1469631539

ABOUT ROD ANDREW JR : Rod Andrew, Jr., is professor of history at Clemson University.  Professor Andrew specializes in the History of the American South and U.S. Military History. His biography of Wade Hampton won the Mary Lawton Hodges Prize in Southern Studies in 2009. He is a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and recently served as Officer-in-Charge, Field History Branch, U.S. Marine Corps History Division.

 

Oct 312021
 

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

The speaker for this meeting is Christian McBurney. He’ll be speaking about his 2020 book, George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court-Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the Revolutionary War.

General Lee, second in command in the Continental Army led by George Washington, was captured by the British in December 1776. While a prisoner, he prepared and submitted to his captors a military plan on how to defeat Washington’s army as quickly as possible. This extraordinary act of treason, arguably on a par with Benedict Arnold’s heinous treachery, was not discovered during his lifetime. Many historians shrug off this ignoble act, but it should not be ignored. Less well known is that throughout his sixteen months of captivity and even after his release, Lee continued communicating with the enemy, offering to help negotiate an end to the rebellion.  Revolutionary War historians and biographers of Charles Lee have treated him as either an inveterate enemy of George Washington or a great defender of American liberty. Neither approach is accurate, in order to fully understand the war’s most complicated general, objectivity is required. In his new book, Christian McBurney relies on original documents (some newly discovered) to combine two dramatic stories involving the military law of treason and court-martials, creating a balanced view of the Revolution’s most fascinating personality.

After Lee rejoined the Continental Army, he was given command of many of its best troops with orders from Washington to attack the rear of British General Henry Clinton’s column near Monmouth, New Jersey. Lee intended to attack on June 28, 1778, but retreated in the face of Clinton’s bold move to reverse his march. Two of Lee’s subordinate generals—without orders and without informing Lee—moved more than half of his command off the field. Faced with the possible destruction of the balance, Lee ordered a general retreat while conducting a skillful delaying action.
Many historians have been quick to malign Lee’s performance at Monmouth, for which he was convicted by court-martial for not attacking and for retreating in the face of the enemy. This was a miscarriage of justice, stresses McBurney, for the evidence clearly shows that Lee was unfairly convicted and had, in fact, by retreating, performed an important service to the Patriot cause. The guilty verdict was more the result of Lee’s having insulted Washington, which made the matter a political contest between the army’s two top generals—only one of them could prevail.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link:  https://www.amazon.com/George-Washingtons-Nemesis-Outrageous-Revolution/dp/1611214653

ABOUT CHRISTIAN MCBURNEY

Christian McBurney has written five books on the American Revolutionary War, including Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee & Richard Prescott. His published articles include one in MHQ: The Journal of Military History, on the British attempt to abduct George Washington, which was nominated by the U.S. Army Historical Foundation as best magazine article for 2017. He also publishes Rhode Island’s leading history blog. He is an attorney in Washington, D.C.

Oct 312021
 
On Line Meeting (7:00pm Zoom opens) (7:30pm Lecture begins)

The speaker for this meeting is Dr. Woody Holton. He’ll be speaking about his recently released book, Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, A sweeping reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans—women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters.

Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Liberty Is Sweet explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers. “It is all one story,” prizewinning historian Woody Holton writes.

Holton describes the origins and crucial battles of the Revolution from Lexington and Concord to the British surrender at Yorktown, always focusing on marginalized Americans—enslaved Africans and African Americans, Native Americans, women, and dissenters—and on overlooked factors such as weather, North America’s unique geography, chance, misperception, attempts to manipulate public opinion, and (most of all) disease. Thousands of enslaved Americans exploited the chaos of war to obtain their own freedom, while others were given away as enlistment bounties to whites. Women provided material support for the troops, sewing clothes for soldiers and in some cases taking part in the fighting. Both sides courted native people and mimicked their tactics.

Liberty Is Sweet gives us our most complete account of the American Revolution, from its origins on the frontiers and in the Atlantic ports to the creation of the Constitution. Offering surprises at every turn—for example, Holton makes a convincing case that Britain never had a chance of winning the war—this majestic history revivifies a story we thought we already knew.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link:  https://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Sweet-History-American-Revolution/dp/1476750378

 

About Dr. Woody Holton:  Professor Holton teaches graduate seminars on Colonial America and on the American Revolution at the University of South Carolina. At the undergraduate level, he teaches the first half of the U.S. history survey and upper-level classes on Early American Women, the American Revolution, and Early African Americans. In the near future he will teach seminars on slave rebellions and on the history of capitalism in North America.

Holton’s 2009 book, Abigail Adams, which he wrote on a Guggenheim fellowship, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award

For the 2012-2013 academic year, I have a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to write a book called Liberty is Sweet: An Integrated History of the American Revolution. Its structure will be traditional, which is to say narrative, but its purpose is to introduce general readers to academic historians’ numerous recent discoveries about the founding of the nation. I am also finishing an article linking the adoption of the first married women’s property acts in the middle of the 19th century to the increased vulnerability of American debtors after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. In addition, I have just begun co-writing a comparative analysis of three centuries of Atlantic slave revolts.

Sep 282021
 

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

Revolutionary Surgeons offers an integrated picture of surgeons as political and military leaders of the American Revolution. Prominent surgeons participated in political activities that ultimately resulted in the breakaway of the colonies from Britain. Surgeons were members of the Sons of Liberty and other groups opposing Acts imposed on the colonies by Parliament.

Similar to other groups in society, surgeons were split in their view of the growing opposition against the English rule of the American colonies and the wish to create an independent nation. Even with different opinions of the revolution, Loyalists and Patriots were often able to get along and live peacefully in the same communities.

Surgery underwent dramatic developments during the 1700s. Although anesthesia was still a century in the future, surgeons performed extensive procedures, including laparotomies (opening of the abdomen) for tumors, mastectomies for cancerous growths, amputations of the leg above or below the knee, and cutting for the stone (removal of bladder stones). An increased understanding of human anatomy was one reason why surgeons kept moving the boundaries of what was considered possible. With no anesthesia, patients’ screams from pain and horror were unimaginable. Many patients died from shock on the operating table or from postoperative bleedings and infections.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link:   https://www.amazon.com/Revolutionary-Surgeons-Patriots-Loyalists-Cutting/dp/1642938882

 

About Per-Olof Hasselgren: Dr. Hasselgren is a surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is the Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He has a longstanding interest in surgical and American history.

Sep 152021
 

On Line Meeting (7:o0pm)

George Washington claimed that anyone who attempted to provide an accurate account of the war for independence would be accused of writing fiction. At the time, no one called it the “American Revolution”: former colonists still regarded themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians, not Americans, while John Adams insisted that the British were the real revolutionaries, for attempting to impose radical change without their colonists’ consent.

With The Cause, Ellis takes a fresh look at the events between 1773 and 1783, recovering a war more brutal than any in American history save the Civil War and discovering a strange breed of “prudent” revolutionaries, whose prudence proved wise yet tragic when it came to slavery, the original sin that still haunts our land. Written with flair and drama, The Cause brings together a cast of familiar and forgotten characters who, taken together, challenge the story we have long told ourselves about our origins as a people and a nation.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link  https://www.amazon.com/Cause-American-Revolution-Discontents-1773-1783/dp/1631498983

About Joseph J Ellis:

Joseph J. Ellis is one of the nation’s leading scholars of American history. The author of nine books, Ellis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award for American Sphinx, a biography of Thomas Jefferson. His in-depth chronicle of the life of our first President, His Excellency: George Washington, was a New York Times bestseller.

Ellis’ essays and book reviews appear regularly in national publications, such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. Ellis’s commentaries have been featured on CBS, CSPAN, CNN, and the PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and he has appeared in several PBS documentaries on early America, including “John and Abigail [Adams]” for PBS’s The American Experience and a History Channel documentary on George Washington.

Ellis has taught in the Leadership Studies program at Williams College, the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife Eillen Wilkins Ellis and two dogs.  He is the father of three sons.

Aug 132021
 

Online Meeting – 7:00pm

For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial politics. British imperial protestantism proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of empire and the cause of religion until the war for American independence disrupted it. That Revolution forced a reassessment of the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic. Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their relationships to government. If these shifts were more pronounced in the United States than in Britain, the loss of a shared system nonetheless mattered to both nations.Sweeping and explicitly transatlantic, Religion and the American Revolution demonstrates that if religion helped set the terms through which Anglo-Americans encountered the imperial crisis and the violence of war, it likewise set the terms through which both nations could imagine the possibilities of a new world.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Religion-American-Revolution-Published-University/dp/1469662647

 

About Kate Carté

Kate Carté (PhD., University of Wisconsin) is an associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University.  She is the author of Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), and she has published articles in Church History, the William and Mary Quarterly, and Early American Studies, as well as a variety of edited collections. Her latest book is, Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History, chronicles how that conflict transformed Anglo-American religion between 1763 and 1792.

Jul 162021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

It was 1778, and the recent American victory at Saratoga had netted the U.S a powerful ally in France. Many, including General George Washington, presumed France’s entrance into the war meant independence was just around the corner.

Meanwhile, having lost an entire army at Saratoga, Great Britain pivoted to a “southern strategy.” The army would henceforth seek to regain its southern colonies, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, a highly profitable segment of its pre-war American empire. Deep into 1780 Britain’s new approach seemed headed for success as the U.S. economy collapsed and morale on the home front waned. By early 1781, Washington, and others, feared that France would drop out of the war if the Allies failed to score a decisive victory that year. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of Britain’s army, thought “the rebellion is near its end.” Washington, who had been so optimistic in 1778, despaired: “I have almost ceased to hope.”

Winning Independence is the dramatic story of how and why Great Britain-so close to regaining several southern colonies and rendering the postwar United States a fatally weak nation ultimately failed to win the war. The book explores the choices and decisions made by Clinton and Washington, and others, that ultimately led the French and American allies to clinch the pivotal victory at Yorktown that at long last secured American independence.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Independence-Decisive-Revolutionary-1778-1781/dp/1635572762

 

About John Ferling

John Ferling is Professor Emeritus of History at the State University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he has appeared in many documentaries and has written numerous books, including Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War for Independence, Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, and Jefferson in the American Revolution, and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic.

Jun 082021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

The French were the archenemies of the British and her American colonies, particularly after the French and Indian War which was begun by George Washington. So, why did America look to the French as their principal ally in the American Revolution and why did General George Washington choose a Frenchman as his chief engineer? This biography of Louis Duportail, founder and first Commandant of the Army Corps of Engineers, begins by exploring those questions. It then explores the life of this man, who is virtually unknown in America and less known in his native France.

This is an unique biography about an overlooked, even obscure, French officer that was instrumental in the American cause for independence. As a complete biography, it covers his return to France and his service in the French army. Cementing his role in the seminal events of the era, readers will also learn of his problems under the Reign of Terror and his escape to the United States where he purchased a quiet farm near Valley Forge. It concludes with his unusual death at sea and the problems of settling his estate. Duportail died in the greatest anonymity, in the greatest indifference, without earthly burial, without military honors, a dedicated monument to his glory in service to France or the United States, and without intervention of his brothers in arms to honor and recall his memory.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Washingtons-Engineer-Louis-Duportail-Creation/dp/1633886565

 

About Norman Desmarais

Norman Desmarais is professor emeritus at Providence College and an active reenactor. He is a member of Le Régiment Bourbonnais, the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment and the Brigade of the American Revolution. He is the author of Guide to the American Revolutionary War series (six volumes about the war on land and seven volumes about the war at sea and overseas). He is also the editor-in-chief of The Brigade Dispatch, the journal the Brigade of the American Revolution and has translated the Gazette Françoise, the French newspaper published in Newport, RI by the French fleet that brought the Count de Rochambeau and 5800 troops to America in July 1780. It is the first known service newspaper published by an expeditionary force. He has also translated the journal of Louis François Bertrand Dupont d’Aubevoye de Lauberdière which was published on May 18, 2021. The Count de Lauberdière was General Rochambeau’s nephew and aide-de camp.