According to Holger Hoock, author of the eye-opening “Scars of Independence,” it’s time we re-examine what we thought we knew about the American Revolutionary War.
The author, a professor of British history at the University of Pittsburgh, says we have a sanitized view of “America’s violent birth.”
“Textbooks in American college classrooms and popular biographies of Founding Fathers have perpetrated this romanticized, almost quaint version of the Revolution,” he says.
But Hoock paints a different picture in “Scars of Independence” (Crown, $30). He vividly presents a grittier, unvarnished narrative of “America’s first civil war.” His version of the conflict is filled with excessively bloody battles and atrocities committed by both sides.
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Some of the most shocking anecdotes involve Patriots and their mistreatment of fellow citizens who remained loyal to England. “To defend the revolution against its internal enemies, the Patriots routinely resorted to violence and terror, to threats and bullying, to torture and occasional lynching,” Hoock says.
After this, readers will see America’s war for independence in an altogether new light.
Says Hoock: “I wanted to strip some of the romanticism from the Revolutionary era and see it for what it also was: messy and divisive.”
Also new in bookstores this week
“Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” by David J. Garrow (William Morrow, $45). This cinderblock of a biography, more than 1,000 pages, is both exhaustively thorough and woefully incomplete. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian spent nine years researching the early life of the 44th president. But his coverage ends with Obama’s decision to seek the presidency.
“Since We Fell,” by Dennis Lehane (Ecco, $27.99). The author of “Gone, Baby, Gone” delivers an unusual psychological thriller. Here’s the heroine’s life in a nutshell: Rachel is obsessed with learning the identity of her father; she’ll wreck her career as a TV journalist with an on-air meltdown while covering a crisis in Haiti; and she’ll shoot and kill her husband someday — but why?
“Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way,” by Ryan White (Touchstone, $26.99). The author of “Springsteen: Album by Album” explores the life of another music icon. The hero of Parrott Head Nation went from struggling troubadour to CEO of a $1.5 billion-per-year corporation with restaurants, resorts, clothing line, even a 2018 Broadway musical, all inspired by “Margaritaville.”