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1777, 1777, 0817306870, 0-8173-0687-0, 978-0-8173-0687-8, 9780817306878, , , 1777, 0817388338, 0-8173-8833-8, 978-0-8173-8833-1, 9780817388331,

The Year of the Hangman

Quality Paper
1977. 280 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
280 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d

A detailed study of the British invasion from Canada during the War of Independence
No one who has read the history of the War of Independence can fail to be fascinated by the campaign of Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. The story evokes pictures in the mind's eye: scarlet-coated Englishmen; the green and blue uniforms of the German mercenaries; the flash of brass and silver and steel accoutrements; the swarms of Indians in their war paint; the whole moving through the green forests or sailing the blue waters of lakes and riv­ers. Even the names have a lyrical tone: Richelieu, Champlain, Oriskany, Ticonderoga, and La Chine.
Part of this fascination is the fact that the fate of the expedition marked a turning point in the history of the war. It is not surprising that there has been a host of chroniclers, scholars, and novelists, and those who fall in a category somewhere between because their artistry bridges the gaps that footnoted facts cannot, and so allows some scope for imagination (and may teach more history than the rest).
This fascination was partly responsible for Pancake’s exploration of this particular part of the history of the war. There was also the fact that no scholar since Hoffman Nickerson in his Turning Point of the Revolution (1926) has attempted a detailed study of the British invasion from Canada, although there has been a vast amount of literature on specific as­pects of the campaign. No study to date has attempted to link the Canadian expedition to the concurrent operation of General Sir William Howe in Pennsylvania in such a way as to present a complete story of the campaign of 1777. From the point of its inception and launching by the American Secretary, Lord George Germain, to the point where it was reduced to a shambles at the end of the year.

John S. Pancake (1920-1986) was a native of Virginia, Professor of History at The University of Alabama, and author of studies on Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

 “A revisionist view of the Revolution’s most crucial year… it explodes many of the myths surrounding Burgoyne’s Canadian expedition and Howe’s Pennsylvania campaign. There is a wealth of fascinating detail in this book, including information on arms and supplies, rations for women camp followers, and even the numbers of carts (30-odd) carrying Burgoyne’s luggage.”
—History Book Club Newsletter

“Smooth and easy reading, enlivened by anecdotes (with which the author has a sure touch) and based on extensive research.”
Journal of American History
“Pancake is nicely balanced in his judgments, writes with grace and wit, and has a thorough knowledge of secondary sources and published documents.”

“A timely addition to the literature of the War of Independence, useful both to scholars and to general readers.”
American Historical Review
“A welcome addition to the literature on the American War for Independence.”
—Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine
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