War on the Run
War on the Run
The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier
By John F. Ross
Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553804966, 576pp.
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
Hailed as the father of today’s elite special forces, Robert Rogers was not only a wilderness warrior but North America’s first noteworthy playwright and authentic celebrity. In a riveting biography, John F. Ross reconstructs the extraordinary achievements of this fearless and inspiring leader whose exploits in the early New England wilderness read like those of an action hero and whose innovative principles of unconventional warfare are still used today.
They were a group of handpicked soldiers chosen for their backwoods savvy, courage, and endurance. Led by a young captain whose daring made him a hero on two continents, Rogers’s Rangers earned a deadly fame among their most formidable French and Indian enemies for their ability to appear anywhere at any time, burst out of the forest with overwhelming force, and vanish just as quickly. This swift, elusive, intelligence-gathering strike force was the brainchild of Robert Rogers, a uniquely American kind of war maker capable of motivating a new breed of warrior.
The child of marginalized Scots-Irish immigrants, Robert Rogers learned to survive in New England’s dark and deadly forests, grasping, as did few others, that a new world required new forms of warfare. Marrying European technology to the stealth and adaptability he observed in native warriors, Rogers trained and led an unorthodox unit of green provincials, raw woodsmen, farmers, and Indian scouts on “impossible” missions that are still the stuff of soldiers’ legend. Covering heartbreaking distances behind enemy lines, they traversed the wilderness in whaleboats and snowshoes, slept without fire or sufficient food in below-freezing temperatures, and endured hardships that would destroy ordinary men.
With their novel tactics and fierce esprit de corps, the Rangers laid the groundwork for the colonial strategy later used in the War of Independence. Never have the stakes of a continent hung in the hands of so few men. Rogers would eventually write two seminal books whose vision of a unified continent would influence Thomas Jefferson and inspire the Lewis and Clark expedition.
In War on the Run, John F. Ross vividly re-creates Rogers’s life and his spectacular battles, having traveled over much of Rogers’s campaign country. He presents with breathtaking immediacy and painstaking accuracy a man and an era whose enormous influence on America has been too little appreciated.
“This vivid and deeply engaging book tells the story of Robert Rogers, who with his small force of Rangers developed a new American way....Rogers himself appears as a character of high complexity. Distrusted by leaders on all sides, his loyalty was to the land itself. His writings taught British settlers to think of their backcountry as a continental frontier, and his stage play Ponteach portrayed American Indians with sympathy and respect. John F. Ross has given us a memorable portrait of an authentic American-antihero, and an historical figure of high importance.”—David Hackett Fischer, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Washington’s Crossing
"This is an epic tale of America's first great war, told with novelistic flair, and bringing to life the greatest American military leader that most readers have never encountered until now."—Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation
“There are good books and extraordinary books. War on the Run is one of those latter rarities. Ross has restored an authentic American hero, Robert Rogers, to the national pantheon by vividly retelling his heartbreaking story with new depth and understanding.”—Thomas Fleming, author of The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle to Survive After Yorktown
“Robert Rogers and his intrepid rangers played a vital role in shaping colonial America into the future United States. Ross relates their phenomenal feats in a thrilling, meticulously researched, highly readable narrative.”—Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Vietnam: A History
“The ceaseless innovation that Robert Rogers applied to warfare on the American frontier is pivotal to understanding the country's twenty-first century struggles among regions and people equally remote to many of us. Only a work of singular historical rigor, as produced by John F. Ross, could make these timeless qualities of elite close-quarter combat so vividly clear."—Derek Leebaert, author of To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations from Achilles to Al Qaeda
“War on the Run is a saga of the 18th-century American frontier that has it all—a two-fisted backwoods hero in Robert Rogers, bloody fighting with the French and Indians, political treachery, scandal, and espionage. A terrific read.”—Edwin G. Burrows, author of Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War
“A colorful portrait of a remarkable American colonial officer of the French and Indian War.... Buffs of the period will love it.”—Booklist