In Avi's The Fighting Ground, what is life in America in the 1770s?
During the second half of the 1770s when the story takes place, the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, is the strongest influence in the life of the colonists. In small rural towns such as the one Jonathan comes from, virtually all of the men are involved in the war in one way or the other - Jonathan's father has returned injured from the fighting, and his older brother is away with the Revolutionary Army. On the many small farms which comprise so much of the colonies, work is hard, and left largely to the women, the young, and the disabled. Jonathan and his father work their farm without the help of livestock, tilling the ground themselves with hoes.
Communication during this time is primitive, with news of the war traveling by word-of-mouth and communicated to the townspeople when necessary through the ringing of the churchbells. The Revolutionary forces are largely a ragtag conglomeration of outfits, with small towns sending their own brigades to participate in many cases. Jonathan himself becomes involved in the events of the story when he joins a band from his town which is quickly formulated to stop the Hessian advance locally.