Tipping Point at Saratoga
Author: Dean Snow
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Saratoga Campaign, N.Y., 1777
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The two battles that were fought in Saratoga, New York in the fall of 1777 marked the turning point in the American Revolutionary War. An inexperienced and improvised American army led by Horatio Gates faced off against the highly trained British and German forces led by "Gentleman Johnny"Burgoyne, whose strategy in confronting the Americans in upstate New York was to separate rebellious New England from the other colonies. Despite inferior organization and training, the Americans were able to exploit access to fresh reinforcements of men and materiel, and ultimately handed theBritish a stunning defeat. For the first time in the war, the American victory confirmed that independence from Great Britain was all but inevitable. Dean Snow's 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga offers a detailed narrative of the final thirty-three days of the Saratoga campaign. Assimilating historical archaeology and the many letters, journals, and memoirs of the men and women who served in both armies, Snow provides an intimate retelling of thetwo battles. While the contrasting personalities and fates of Gates and Burgoyne are well known, they are but two of the actors who make up the larger drama of Saratoga. Snow highlights famous and less well-known participants alike, from the brave but, later, disloyal officer Benedict Arnold toFrederika von Riedesel, the wife of a major general in the British army whose eyewitness account of the battles is an important source. Snow, an archaeologist who excavated on the Saratoga battlefield, combines a vivid sense of time and place - weather, terrain, technology - with a keenunderstanding of the adversaries' motivations, challenges, and heroism into a narrative that resembles an historical novel. A must-read for anyone with an interest in the American history, 1777 is a thorough and engaging account of the battles that tipped the balance of the American War of Independence.