When the first edition of this highly successful volume appeared in 1982, the proponents of the “new” military history were just gaining full momentum. Their objective was to reach beyond the traditional focus of military studies—the flow of guns, combat, and tactics that influenced the immediate outcome of battles and martial conflicts, often with little reference to broader historical contexts.
Believing that one cannot fully appreciate the Revolution without reckoning with the War for Independence and its effects in helping to shape the new American republic, Martin and Lender move beyond the deeply ingrained national mythology about the essence of the war effort, so neatly personified by the imagery of the embattled freehold farmer as the quintessential warrior of the Revolution. Then they integrate, not persist in keeping separate, the fascinating history of the real Continental army into the mainstream of writing about the nation-making experience of the United States.
In the process of revising their now-classic text, Martin and Lender drew on their own work as well as the invaluable outpouring of new scholarship over the last two decades. Wherever necessary, they questioned previous arguments and conclusions to render a meaningful new edition that is certain to receive the same kind of positive reception—and widespread acceptance—that its predecessor enjoyed.
Also new to the second edition is a bank of illustrations, a Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography, and a fully revamped Bibliographical Essay, making A Respectable Armyessential reading for anyone enrolled in the U.S. survey or specialized courses in colonial or military history or the American Revolution.
Keywords: 18th Century America, American History Series, Revolution, revolutionary, colonial history, war, Lexington, Concord, army, Howe, Saratoga, Valley Forge, treason, mutiny, mutinies, pension, Yorktown, Newburgh, Clark