If you are a devotee of the historical-fiction genre then you would find no better example than Jeff Shaara’s Two Novels of the Revolutionary War. For those among you unacquainted with this author, he specializes in American war history.
This particular two-novel series begins in the antebellum period of the early 1770’s as the colonial rebellion takes root, and ends in the early 1780’s as the nascent United States emerges from its incredible victory over English military might, becoming a nation itself.
The historical material for the novels is derived from painstaking research as Shaara makes generous use of historical documents and personal letters, lending a sense of veracity to his fictionalized dialogue. The author weaves his tale through the personal accounts of key historical characters.
The first novel depicts the mounting rebellion led by the “Sons of Liberty”, some of whom will form the eventual Continental Congress, and transcends into the convening of the congress as a fledgling Declaration of Independence takes shape.
The chapters are divided into vignettes as witnessed from the perspectives of some of the most prominent players from the English and American sides, such as John and Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and King George III.
The second novel maintains the same style, recounting the actual war years and key battles, and featuring such notables as George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Marquis de Lafayette.
Shaara’s dialogue and introspective narrative is very convincing as he interposes biographical and historical background throughout.
Simply stated, the series teaches like a history book, but reads like a novel. A winning combination for anyone interested in a palatable form of late 18th century American history.