The People’s War is the story of one of history’s great events, the American Revolutionary War, told almost entirely in the words of the soldiers who fought it and the civilians who endured it. Drawing on thousands of original sources—diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers, pension applications—Noel Rae has culled the most colorful and vivid passages and woven them into a vibrant, eyewitness narrative that takes us from the peaceful days before the Stamp Act, through all the war’s major events, and ends with farewell accounts of what happened in later life to the people we have come to know along the way.
Some of these figures, like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, and King George III, are familiar figures, but most were ordinary people, little known to history, but here briefly emerging from obscurity: a farm boy who ran away to sea at the age of twelve, a pretty young widow roughed up by Tory ruffians, and a slave who escaped to the British after witnessing his mother being flogged. These are but a few of those whose collective voices, drawn from all sides of the conflict, bring the Revolution truly to life—in a history at its most entertaining and authoritative, for who better qualified to tell what happened than the people who were there?
Noel Rae graduated with honors in history from Oxford University. He is the author of Witnessing America: the Library of Congress Book of Firsthand Accounts of Life in America 1600–1900, which was #1 on the Washington Post’s political bestseller list.