Robert Leckie - George Washington's War. PDF

PDF In America, it was once a common tradition to name wars after our leader at the time. During the colonial period, we had King William's War (War of the Grand Alliance), Queen Anne's War (War of Spanish Succession), and King George's War (War of Austrian Succession)*. After Independence, we still informally referred to conflicts by our leaders, Mr. Madison's War (War of 1812) or Mr. Polk's War (Mexican-American War). However, over time, this feel out of fashion and we started to refer to wars by geographical area or politician significance**. In that bold tradition, Leckie's titles the tale of the American Revolution as: George Washington's War.

Leckie portrays the American Revolution as an epic tale involving colossal figures. Although the book has George Washington's name on the cover, the work covers far more then just him. The book focuses on many of the military leaders and statesmen of the period. In fact, sometimes Leckie goes a little overboard with information. Not only explaining a certain leader and who they were but also he likes to go into immense detail about their family history dating back centuries. For example, although I, as a history buff, eat a lot of this stuff up, one wonders if the average reader feels the need to know George Germain's ancestry dating all the way to the Norman Conquest of 1066.

One of the major things that I learned from reading this book is how the structure of the American and British Armies contributed to an American victory. The American Army was so small and assembled haphazardly that it was possible for people like Nathaniel Greene to be promoted right from buck private to a general officer. The cream rose to the top in the American Army. While the British Army was the exact opposite of the American Army, officers had to buy their commissions if they wanted to serve in the Army in any leadership role. This allowed the American Army to have a higher quality group of leaders then the British.

"A wealth young officer could not, of course, simply buy his way up the chain of command. He had to serve a certain amount of time in his rank and wait until a vacancy occurred above him, either in his own regiment or somewhere else. Even if promoted, he still had to buy his higher new rank." p.171

In the end, George Washington's War is a wonderful experience and an even better source of reference for anyone who had any question about the American Revolution.

*Since King George II was king for both War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, Americans refer to the later as the French and Indian Wars.
**There had been some attempt to name later wars after presidents but it never quite caught on the way it had in earlier generations. Ex. "Mr. Lincoln's War" (U.S. Civil War), "Mr. Wilson's War" (World War I), and "Mr. Roosevelt's War." (World War II).

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