Book Review of “Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence”

April 24th, 2020 On Our Shelves

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter

It is hard to imagine a better single-volume military history of the Revolution than John Ferling’s account. This is a “page turner” — comprehensive in scope, thorough and detailed in its coverage, fair and balanced in its judgments — a work that unquestionably belongs in the library of any self-respecting Rev War buff.

This reader particularly appreciated the cogent analysis in the concluding chapter of the reasons for the outcome of the struggle, with its attention to both the American and British sides of the equation and a carefully considered evaluation of Washington’s military leadership.

Ferling’s lucid narrative touches on virtually every aspect of the conflict but is perhaps most noteworthy for the primacy attached to the war in the southern theater. This is where, he contends, the war was actually won, and the logic of his argument is compelling.

What is especially impressive about this distinguished historian’s achievement is that the range of his focus extends from top to bottom among the ranks.

His story encompasses a tale of leadership—exposing the virtues and flaws of those in command—but also a detailed examination of the experiences encountered by the rank-and-file soldier.

This is history at its best.