Form and Content
In Heroes of the American Revolution, Burke Davis focuses on the lives of eleven principal leaders of the American Revolution. The book’s chapters follow a set format, opening with a detailed description of a central event in the life of one man and followed by a brief but comprehensive biography. Through his choice of “heroes,” Davis describes the broad range of skills that were solicited in winning the revolution, including military strategists, a diplomat, a spy, authors, and a political theorist. Beautifully selected photographs of paintings, sculptures, and maps both inform readers and quicken their interest.
Previously the author of numerous books on military subjects, notably about the American Revolution in his native South, Davis draws upon his own special strength and concentrates on key episodes in the careers of several military leaders. Therefore, George Washington is not initially depicted at Brooklyn Heights or Trenton, but in 1781, elated over the arrival of French troops and moving southward ultimately to win the war’s final battle and oust the British troops from Yorktown. Therefore, John Adams’ inspired choice for commander in chief, made at the Continental Congress six years before, was vindicated. Washington emerged in the words of “Light Horse” Harry Lee, “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Notwithstanding Washington’s exemplary leadership, as Davis...
(The entire section is 471 words.)