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Band of Giants

The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Jack Kelly


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (2/2/2015)
Compact Disc (2/3/2015)
MP3 CD (2/3/2015)
MP3 CD (2/3/2015)
Compact Disc (2/3/2015)
Paperback (1/26/2016)


Band of Giants brings to life the founders who fought for our independence in the Revolutionary War. Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin are known to all; men like Morgan, Greene, and Wayne are less familiar. Yet the dreams of the politicians and theorists only became real because fighting men were willing to take on the grim, risky, brutal work of war. We know Fort Knox, but what about Henry Knox, the burly Boston bookseller who took over the American artillery at the age of 25? Eighteen counties in the United States commemorate Richard Montgomery, but do we know that this revered martyr launched a full-scale invasion of Canada? The soldiers of the American Revolution were a diverse lot: merchants and mechanics, farmers and fishermen, paragons and drunkards. Most were ardent amateurs. Even George Washington, assigned to take over the army around Boston in 1775, consulted books on military tactics. Here, Jack Kelly vividly captures the fraught condition of the war—the bitterly divided populace, the lack of supplies, the repeated setbacks on the battlefield, and the appalling physical hardships. That these inexperienced warriors could take on and defeat the superpower of the day was one of the remarkable feats in world history.

Praise For Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

“A highly engaging read.” —Library Journal

“Lively narrative of the Revolutionary War realistically assesses the motley collection of men who led the military struggle against Britain, revealing both their strengths and weaknesses.” —The Wall Street Journal

“With vivid details and incisive characterizations, Jack Kelly tells how unlikely young Americans--an asthmatic Quaker with a limp, an overweight bookseller, a barely literate backwoods wagon master--discovered in 1776 an ability to outthink and outfight the generals and soldiers of the best army in the world. Readers will finish this fascinating book with a sense of awe--and a renewed faith in America's ability to overcome daunting challenges.” —Thomas Fleming, author of Liberty! The American Revolution

“Jack Kelly has written a superb account of the American soldiers who won our independence against great odds. Band of Giants is a masterfully descriptive account of their experiences that tells us, in his wonderful style, who these remarkable men were. This is a must read for all Americans who want to truly know those who forged our magnificent nation.” —General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired)

“Armed with the latest research burnished by a bright, brisk writing style, Jack Kelly has done a masterful job of retelling the story of the Revolutionary War by focusing on the key figures and battles of the long-protracted military struggle that undergirded the political war for independence. His cast of Cincinnatus-like amateurs put aside their plows, lock up their shops, kiss their wives goodbye and strap on their shields and bucklers. Facing the hangman's noose if they fail, they outfight, outmaneuvered and outlast the thousands of professional killers and bungling courtier-generals arrayed against them. This book is highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand the birth of the United States.” —Willard Sterne Randall, award-winning Founding Fathers biographer-historian

“Jack Kelly has managed to accomplish something remarkable in Band of Giants: to give a concise and accurate overview of the Revolutionary War without losing the intimacy and detail that go into a good yarn. And in doing so, Kelly shows us the essence of the Revolutionary miracle -- that America owes its independence to a group of military amateurs...talented and tough, but amateurs all the same.” —Paul Lockhart, author of The Whites of Their Eyes

“Jack Kelly's Band of Giants is a sprightly and illuminating history of the Revolutionary War. It captures the terror of battle, the ecstasy of victory, the character of the leading generals, and the travail of the ordinary soldiers. Readers will take from this engaging book a better understanding of the true nature of America's struggle to win independence.” —John Ferling, author of Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry that Forged a Nation

“Jack Kelly's superb writing enhances this fast-paced account of the Revolutionary War. Kelly doesn't just narrate a series of events. Instead, he reveals the war's most compelling dramas and personalities, giving the reader a sense of what it was like to experience the Revolution firsthand. Band of Giants is both entertaining and informative.” —Edward G. Lengel, author of General George Washington: A Military Life

“Jack Kelly's shrewd novelist's eye and the narrative velocity that propels his writing should make any student of history delighted that he is turning his formidable gifts to telling the great founding tale of the American republic.” —Richard Snow, former editor-in-chief, American Heritage, author of I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford

". . . mandatory reading for anyone who seeks to understand the true nature of the Revolutionary era in American history." -Army Magazine

St. Martin's Press, 9781137278777, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

About the Author

JACK KELLY is a journalist, novelist, and historian, whose books include Band of Giants, which received the DAR's History Award Medal. He has contributed to national periodicals including The Wall Street Journal and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. He has appeared on The History Channel and interviewed on National Public Radio. He grew up in a town in the canal corridor adjacent to Palmyra, Joseph Smith's home. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley.