War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier

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Bantam Books, 2009 - History - 548 pages
2 Reviews
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 fierceesprit 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.

InWar 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.

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

I'll admit that I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. To a degree this is about lackadaisical editing and a somewhat overwrought writing style. In the first case this was brought out ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jmcilree - LibraryThing

Satisfying, but not great biography of Robert Rogers. Rogers was a solider in the French-Indian War and a master in guerilla warfighting. Was the first English speaker to beat the French and Indians at their own style of warfare. His later life was depressing and a disappointment. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

John F. Ross is executive editor of American Heritage magazine and a former member of the Board of Editors at Smithsonian magazine, where he wrote six cover stories. His articles have been published in Reader's Digest, Parade, the New York Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Sunday Telegraph, and more. He has appeared on more than fifty radio and television programs and has keynoted conferences across the continent. His organization of the most northern canoe trip ever taken earned him a membership in the Explorers Club. On assignment he has dogsledded with the Polar Inuit in northwestern Greenland, technical mountain climbed in Siberia, and dived 3,000 feet in the Galápagos. He is the author of Living Dangerously and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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