After a long hiatus for personal reasons, I recently read a book that is relevant for our upcoming July 4th celebrations. Mark Urban’s Fusiliers is an engaging view of the Revolutionary War from the British perspective. The book is 400 pages. Urban describes the exploits of the 23rd “Royal Welch Fusiliers” â€“ one of only a few British regiments that fought in the War from the opening shots at Lexington to the final shots at Yorktown.
This is a fascinating book because of the perspective that Urban takes. I have read many books on the American Revolution, but none from the British perspective. Urban brings a clarity of the “other side” that few writers writing from the American perspective can give the reader. I particularly like how Urban explains the similarities and differences between the American and British armies. In addition, the reader gets a better idea of what it was like to be a British soldier in an environment where most people despised him and often wanted to kill him.
Urban combines masterful writing with excellent scholarship. He draws chiefly from primary documents â€“ diaries and letters from officers and rankers. A wonderful source is Sergeant Roger Lamb’s memoirs. Lamb is a gold mine of information for the rankers because most of them at this time were illiterate and thus there is not much in primary sources from them. Lamb was a literate and intelligent man who served with the 23rd after he escaped from his imprisonment after Saratoga.
In summary, the book is an excellent work on British troops during the American Revolution.