The War Before Independence: 1775-1776

Written by Derek W. Beck
Review by Jo Ann Butler

America’s Revolution began long before the Declaration was signed, when New England’s militiamen defied Great Britain on April 19, 1775, and harried its army back to Boston. Thus begins The War Before Independence, Derek W. Beck’s tightly-focused history spanning the fifteen months between Lexington and Independence Day. The Continental Congress had to prepare quickly, for King George would hear of the insurrection as fast as a ship could sail, and his response would be fearsome. However, Great Britain’s General Gage didn’t wait for orders, sending his army against the militias’ forts on Breed’s and Bunker Hill. Gage’s men were battered again, a bullet ended Dr. Joseph Warren’s leadership far too soon, but Americans proved that they could fight.

On July 2, 1775, Congress sent George Washington to army headquarters. The newly-created Commander in Chief seized the initiative, launching Benedict Arnold’s meteoric career. Few remember that Arnold was once revered. For them, and anyone else who loves American history, I recommend The War Before Independence. Mr. Beck’s history is impeccable, his documentation thorough, and he tells an entertaining, vivid tale. I loved it.