by Bart McDowell for National Geographic – 1967
The essence of this book on the Revolutionary War is personal involvement. As readers we travel in the shadow of people who waged the Revolutionary War. We overhear their gossip, read newspapers over their shoulders and browse through their letters. We rediscover life in the 1770’s and 1780’s by traveling to the battlefields and historic sites through spectacular illustrations, maps and photographs. A wonderful addition to any family library.
This book has a number of excellent battle drawings from the air. These look amazingly like the drawings in The American Heritage Picture History Book of the Civil War. These maps are now available in a new book called Battle Maps of the Civil War. I have take some shots of the maps but my camera doesn’t do them justice.
Other reviewers wrote
Excellent story and beautifully illustrated for schools – through 8th grade.
This book about the Revolutionary War was first published in 1967. Not only is it about the American Revolution but it also has a family’s journey as they visit various sites important during the Revolutionary War. Great maps, paintings and photographs enhance this book. Opinions from the father of the family (Bart McDowell) describe his sons and daughter’s reactions and observations as they visit battlefields, cities, monuments and homes of those that were of importance during the Revolutionary War. This was one of a series of books that National Geographic published in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s about American and World History. It was/is a great series of books and the book about the Revolutionary War is a nice addition to the series. Nothing new in the book about the War is found in the book, it just reaffirms the importance of the battlefields, homes, people and monuments that the family discovers on their journey during 1967. It would be interesting some 46 years later to hear from the members of the McDowell family of their trip and what they were thinking looking back 46 years. This is a neat book that got my interest started about the Revolutionary War when I was a boy around 9 years old and it brings back great memories as I rediscover why I first learned to have interest in the War and American history. A RECOMMENDED BOOK!
The book follows Bart McDowell and his family as they visit Revolutionary War sites, and not just the battles but other events, places where the main players in the Revolutionary War lived, etc. The book is well-written (unlike many of today’s books, which are littered with spelling, grammatical, and syntax errors), easy to understand (even for children), and contains many wonderful illustrations and photographs (illustrations reproduced from the colonial era; photographs showing his family’s experiences). Given that this tour of Revolutionary War sites took place during the mid-late 1960’s and maybe the early 1970’s. some of the photographs may seem a little outdated and modern readers will not be accustomed to the writing, but I think it is still a fine book for elementary, junior high, and even high school students who wish to learn more than the standard two pages in a textbook that is given to this war. McDowell fleshes out the battles, events, and participants very nicely, and you come away feeling that you have a better understanding, at least on the surface, of the Revolution. It made me want to visit those sites too! Highly recommended.
Of all the books written about the Revolutionary War this remains, for me, the most captivating. McDowell takes the reader on a journey to the historical sites directly related to the war. The weather conditions at the time and place of significance are thoroughly described along with the thoughts that were presumably felt by those who took part and some that have actually been documented. As readers follow McDowell and his family on trips through Boston Harbor, Fort Ticonderoga and other sites, one vicariously experiences the revolution which shaped our country and ultimately our lives and our future. This will instill a better appreciation for the Revolutionary War at large and more specifically, the men and women who fought it.
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