The Frontier War for American Independence
"The frontier war for their nation's independence is little known to most Americans," writes historian William R. Nester. The American Revolution is commonly associated with specific -- and now nearly mythical -- locales such as the heights above Boston, the frozen Delaware River, and the snow-covered shanties at Valley Forge in 1777-1778, but pivotal events took place in the wooded, mountainous regions on the fringes of the thirteen colonies. In dank forests and at scattered forts, towns, and outposts, Americans, British, and Indians clashed in large-scale campaigns and small raids that often became bloody fights for land, home, family, and, ultimately, country. Despite the few popular and romanticized images of this aspect of the war -- such as the untamed Green Mountain Boys at Fort Ticonderoga and the notorious "Swamp Fox," Francis Marion -- frontier warfare was complex and brutal. Overlapping and conflicting loyalties produced uncertain, fluid alliances that could be shaped as much by greed as by patriotism, and old, deep-seated disputes and hatreds fueled the ferocity of the fighting, as whites slaughtered Indians and vice-versa. But the frontier war was not simply a violent sideshow; it significantly altered the course of the Revolution, whether by keeping the far-flung British Army dispersed, providing the Americans a key victory at Saratoga, or setting the stage for Yorktown in 1781. Its economic, military, and diplomatic effects would endure long after the guns fell silent. With vivid detail and keen analysis, Nester brings this long-obscured chapter of the War for Independence out from the shadows of Concord and Brandywine and reshapes how we understand American history.
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