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When the Revolutionary War began, Nathanael Greene was a private in the militia, the lowest rank possible, yet he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer--celebrated as one of three most important generals. Upon taking command of America's Southern Army in 1780, Nathanael Greene was handed troops that consisted of 1, When the Revolutionary War began, Nathanael Greene was a private in the militia, the lowest rank possible, yet he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer--celebrated as one of three most important generals. Upon taking command of America's Southern Army in 1780, Nathanael Greene was handed troops that consisted of 1,500 starving, nearly naked men. Gerald Carbone explains how within a year, the small worn-out army ran the British troops out of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and into the final trap at Yorktown. Despite his huge military successes and tactical genius Greene's story has a dark side. Gerald Carbone drew on 25 years of reporting and researching experience to create his chronicle of Greene's unlikely rise to success and his fall into debt and anonymity.


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When the Revolutionary War began, Nathanael Greene was a private in the militia, the lowest rank possible, yet he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer--celebrated as one of three most important generals. Upon taking command of America's Southern Army in 1780, Nathanael Greene was handed troops that consisted of 1, When the Revolutionary War began, Nathanael Greene was a private in the militia, the lowest rank possible, yet he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer--celebrated as one of three most important generals. Upon taking command of America's Southern Army in 1780, Nathanael Greene was handed troops that consisted of 1,500 starving, nearly naked men. Gerald Carbone explains how within a year, the small worn-out army ran the British troops out of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and into the final trap at Yorktown. Despite his huge military successes and tactical genius Greene's story has a dark side. Gerald Carbone drew on 25 years of reporting and researching experience to create his chronicle of Greene's unlikely rise to success and his fall into debt and anonymity.

30 review for Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Arminius

    Nathaniel Greene was a surprisingly portly Quaker from Rhode Island. He inherited a foundry business from his father in 1770. In 1774 he married a local girl named Catherine “Caty” Littlefield. He also organized a local militia in 1774 called the Kentish Guards. When the British seized Boston Greene was appointed General by the Rode Island Government. In 1776 the Continental Congress appointed him a Brigadier General. He arrived at Boston after the Boston Massacre and after the British evacuated Nathaniel Greene was a surprisingly portly Quaker from Rhode Island. He inherited a foundry business from his father in 1770. In 1774 he married a local girl named Catherine “Caty” Littlefield. He also organized a local militia in 1774 called the Kentish Guards. When the British seized Boston Greene was appointed General by the Rode Island Government. In 1776 the Continental Congress appointed him a Brigadier General. He arrived at Boston after the Boston Massacre and after the British evacuated. General Washington appointed him commander of Boston. He saw his first action at the Battle of Harlem Heights on September 16, 1776. The British forced an American retreat to White Plains (an area between NY and NJ). From White Plains the Americans retreated to Fort Washington. At Fort Washington Greene made the only tactical mistake of his Revolutionary Career. Washington was against defending the Fort named after him. Greene however convinced Washington that he could defend it. General Howe produced a three prong attack on the fort. One brigade came from the south side of the fort, one brigade from the east and the main force from the North. 8000 British forces easily overran the smaller inexperienced American troops and captured a large contingent. Greene was forced to retreat with the remaining troops across the Hudson and regrouped at Fort Lee, NJ. Washington however never lost confidence in Greene. One of Washington’s greatest attributes was his judgment and it was working well at this time. Greene was with Washington at the terrible conditions in Valley Forge later in the War as well. Then on December 26, 1776 Washington and his men crossed the Delaware River and surprised the Hessians at Trenton. Greene led one of the two columns in that battle capturing the entire Hessian Force. In 1778, Washington appointed Greene to Quartermaster General. The Continental Army was in a dreadful condition. Greene made some headway getting food and clothing for the impoverished troops by giving IOU’s to willing suppliers and also obtaining goods from willing families. The British suddenly changed their strategy and decided to attack the Southern States. After the Continental Congress appointed three failed Generals to lead American forces they left Washington appoint the next one. Washington using his superb judgment again picked Greene. Greene used Washington’s strategy of fight and retreat to perfection. The humid Southern summer wrecked havoc on British troops unaccustomed to very humid conditions. Lord Cornwallis looked to end the war with one big battle. He burned all his troops’ gear and equipment so they could travel faster. Then he chased Greene’s Army up through North Carolina. Greene crossed the Dan River and took his troops to safety in Virginia. After a week of recovery Greene re-crossed the Dan River in an attempt to engage Cornwallis’s troops in a battle. And a battle is what Greene got at a place called Guilford Court House. In a battle that lasted only 90 minutes, the American’s were forced to retreat giving Great Britain the technical victory. However, the British Army lost one quarter of its forces and never fully recovered afterwards. Greene described his strategy in these words "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again.” After the war Greene was hailed as the Southern savior. South Carolina and Georgia gave Greene large tracts of land to farm on. He however sadly run out of luck. During the war, he bought supplies with IOU’s those creditors came looking for their money. The Continental Congress had no money to compensate for Greene’s IOU’s. And Greene’s farming ventures failed. His one prize farm in Georgia, where he grew rice, was burnt by a fire and flooded into ruin. Greene spent much of his life attempting to negotiate his debt. This forced him to do a lot of traveling. He died in 1786 at the young age of 43 a poor broken man. He was buried in an unmarked tomb in Savannah, Georgia. And became a War hero with unjustified unheralded recognition.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Nathanael Greene is considered one of the heroes of the American Revolution. He was from an influential family in Rhode Island and had an ancestor that helped settle the colony along with Roger Williams. He ran a family smithy in the village of Coventry, Rhode Island, which also happens to be my home town. This book really focuses on his rise through the colonial army during the war due to what seemed to be a natural talent for military strategy and managing supplies as a quartermaster. He start Nathanael Greene is considered one of the heroes of the American Revolution. He was from an influential family in Rhode Island and had an ancestor that helped settle the colony along with Roger Williams. He ran a family smithy in the village of Coventry, Rhode Island, which also happens to be my home town. This book really focuses on his rise through the colonial army during the war due to what seemed to be a natural talent for military strategy and managing supplies as a quartermaster. He started as a private in the East Greenwich militia and ended the war as a major general and being the first leader of the colonial forces in the Southern theater. This was actually a pretty interesting read. The first and final chapters do a nice job of bookending Greene's story as Carbone highlights how his burial place had been lost only to be found in modern times and obviously concluding with the story of Greene's death. Carbone actually reported on some of the content of the book with a series of stories in the Providence Journal, which I do remember reading when it was originally published. The book does a nice job of really presenting the story of Greene's military career and the important role he played in the revolutionary war, thus the important subtitle. I would have liked to have a bit more information about the personal aspects of his life, but that might have been difficult to have as participation in the war seems like it was all-encompassing in his life. I do think this would be a great read for anyone with an interest in American history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    The author of this book provided an informed and smooth flowing story that weaved the course of time and significant history to which General Nathanael Greene was born and raised. The Prologue begins with the General Greene’s casket and a search that began in 1901 would end with his official reburial in Savannah Georgia and this time with a headstone (1903), this is the reason in part why it took two years to locate the former grave of the General. There weren’t many slow parts to this book, whi The author of this book provided an informed and smooth flowing story that weaved the course of time and significant history to which General Nathanael Greene was born and raised. The Prologue begins with the General Greene’s casket and a search that began in 1901 would end with his official reburial in Savannah Georgia and this time with a headstone (1903), this is the reason in part why it took two years to locate the former grave of the General. There weren’t many slow parts to this book, which made it easy reading; however, there were several distractions and detours that were loosely attached to the storyline. This combined with lacking maps, and confusion as written on The Battle of Guilford Court House add to the final score of 4 stars – the story overall is why I do not give the book 3 stars. The author spends about a page and a half of the death of the general and the book just dropped off – there was no follow through with following generations, and this wouldn’t have had to be a large section, often just providing a synopsis of following generations is enough to whet one’s whistle. A bit perplexing why the Rhode Island General Assembly would choose Private Nathanael Greene as their General from the Kentish Guards in April of 1775. In having chosen Greene to lead the Rhode Island Militia of 1,500 men the Assembly did not seek the most popular of men, they did however (as would be proven) chose the most capable. Nathanael Greene had left the Quakers way of life at some point between the fall of 1774 and spring of 1775 – this can be clearly counted to the fact that he purchased a gun in Boston that he hid in the cart under hay as he returned. He also brought back with him a deserter of the British Army to teach the Kentish Guards how to march the “British way.” There was obviously an independent spirit in Nathanael, one of which would allow him to fight for his country and yet never give up his faith and belief in “Providence.” To all these lads that fought in this war there was a belief in one’s homeland and a belief in God. This is the overriding point that pops up time and again from the various framers, founders, and policy makers of the Continental States of America. This independent spirit that was displayed and then acted upon from Nathanael would be representative of the American spirit going forward to the War of 1812, the American War Between the States, the Spanish American War and the many other wars of the 20th century. Nathanael of course wasn’t thinking of the far future – he was thinking of his present Rhode Island, his present time of war and protection of individual property and rights – his spirit led him to lead from the front, regardless of whatever convictions he may have held. His battle record wasn’t perfect but he fought in Boston, New York, Pennsylvania and then took command of the Southern States war with Britain after he was appointed by General Washington (The U.S. Congress left the decision officially to General Washington.) His battlefield strategies were similar to General Stonewall Jackson, General MacArthur, and General Patton in that he knew how to elude, divide, and then confront his opponents on the battlefield when they were exhausted. He studied the topography of areas in a similar manner to which Napoleon would some 30 years later. General Greene was like his boss General Washington in that he made the most out of what little resources were provided to him. There is simply a touch and comparison here that cannot be overlooked for his battlefield prowess. He also had great people underneath him such as Major General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee (father to General Robert E. Lee) and Brigadier General William Washington, Polish Combat Engineer Tadeusz Kościuszko and others – he knew how to pick good people to be around and yet he challenged the status quo – oft times almost being caught while spying enemy positions and would check his lines regularly. The Southern States of North and South Carolina were literally in a civil war between loyalists and revolutionaries, the bloodletting was horrific and this author really only touched upon it in the most general manner (there are full books on this section of the American War for Independence.) Persons interested in the American Revolutionary War should read this book as it will provide a good and effective overview of Generals, battles, and locations that will encourage further reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Editorial Reviews Carbone has produced an enjoyable, informative, and worthy addition to the ever growing library of scholarly biographies of the American Revolutionary generation.” —Rhode Island Bar Journal “The personality of George Washington has so dominated the story of the American revolution that many of his able lieutenants have been relegated to history's sidelines. One of these, Nathanael Greene, is now the subject of…a engaging new biography by Rhode Island journalist Gerald M. Carbone… Editorial Reviews Carbone has produced an enjoyable, informative, and worthy addition to the ever growing library of scholarly biographies of the American Revolutionary generation.” —Rhode Island Bar Journal “The personality of George Washington has so dominated the story of the American revolution that many of his able lieutenants have been relegated to history's sidelines. One of these, Nathanael Greene, is now the subject of…a engaging new biography by Rhode Island journalist Gerald M. Carbone…[who] has made extensive use of the Greene papers, and these afford a rounded portrait of his subject.” —The Washington Times “Carbone gives a little-known Revolutionary War leader his due in this admiring biography... [A] lucid account of the Revolutionary War from the point of view of its most successful general.” —Kirkus “A brisk march through Greene's short life (44 years) but action-packed military career…Arranging events in a chronological illustration of Greene's canniness in the duel of Cornwallis, Carbone's informative portrait should connect with the American Revolution readership.” —Booklist “Although Nathanael Greene's miliary accomplishments generally receive less attention than Benedict Arnold's or Lafayette's, historians consider him the better general. Journalist Carbone's lively chronicle corrects this neglect...He should be known better, and this well-researched chronicle...is a good first step.” —Publishers Weekly “To this much-needed new biography of America's most unjustly neglected Revolutionary War hero, Gerald Carbone brings a journalist's concision, a storyteller's eye for illuminating detail, a wry New England sensibility, and a historian's diligence. The result is a compelling account of how Nathanael Greene, the self-taught former Quaker ironmaster from Rhode Island, made himself over into the Continental Army's finest strategist and one of the best minds of Enlightenment America. Carbone carries us deftly through the triumphs and tragedies of this remarkable life, offering us a Founder of flesh, blood, acumen and ambition who, had he lived longer and his luck been kinder, might even have become president.” —Charles F. Price, award-winning author of Freedom's Altar and of Nor the Battle to the Strong “Ged Carbone has written a lively, accessible biography of one of the truly great strategists in American history, Major General Nathanael Greene, second only to Washington in the pantheon of heroes of the War of the Revolution.” —John Buchanan, author of The Road to Guilford Courthouse “Nathanael Greene remains one of the American Revolution's most compelling yet unsung heroes. In Nathanael Greene Gerald Carbone provides a complex and absorbing portrait of a resourceful general, a devoted husband, an unfortunate businessman and an ardent American patriot. Carbone cleary admires his subject but also portrays his all-too-human human sides. Well-researched, the general's story is told against a backdrop of dramatic battle scenes, wonderful characters and revolution that seems on the verge of collapse if not for the extraordinary sacrifices of figures such as Greene, to whom all Americans will be forever indebted.” —Mark Puls, award-winning author of Samuel Adams and of Henry Knox “With a journalist's eye for telling anecdote and pithy, but illuminating, quotation, Ged Carbone makes Nathanael Greene come alive in this lively, readable biography that is also very good history.” —Dennis Conrad, Editor, Papers of General Nathanael Greene Wikipedia - Nathanael Greene (August 7 [O.S. July 27] 1742 – June 19, 1786, sometimes misspelled Nathaniel) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. He emerged from the war with a reputation as General George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer, and is known for his successful command in the southern theater of the war. I read this book because I lived in Greene, NY - named after Nathanael Greene. He was known as the "Fighting Quaker". He was from Rhode Island and was a general in the Revolutionary War - commanding troops in the North, being quartermaster for all the troops, then being assigned to lead troops in the South. He ended up as a Major-General and lived out his final days in Savannah, Ga before his death at age 43. He is buried at Johnson Square - Savannah.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Heiskell

    I like to think that I know something about sacrifice, but then you read about some of the founding fathers went through (and their families endured) and I realize I do not. Sort of males me embarrassed, thinking of them them knowing what we are bickering about today, given what they went through to get it for us.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    An easy read with some well done research, it left me found wanting more. It does provide the framework of what Greene participated in during the Revolution. There wasn’t much depth. Not a bad first read for a major American hero but certainly not a definitive account.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin Lowery

    As one of three major generals who maintained their rank throughout the Revolutionary War (George Washington and Henry Knox as the others), Nathanael Green is known for successfully leading the Southern Campaign that ultimately ended in the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1783.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Renn Daniels

    Understanding a General's General, his frailties, and greatness.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris Longmoon

    It didn't have has fluid and engaging a narrative as some bios I've read, but I am grateful for the close look into the prominent, but still largely unknown, Revolutionary figure.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David P

    The subtitle is ambiguous: "A Biography of the American Revolution." A personal history of a revolutionary figure, or a history of the revolution itself? It may be deliberate, because the book covers both subjects quite thoroughly: Greene was indeed a major figure of the revolution, and as for the other meaning, on p. 214 the author admits "Of all the generals in the Continental Army only three had served since the 1775 siege of Boston: Washington, Knox and Greene. Of these Greene had seen far The subtitle is ambiguous: "A Biography of the American Revolution." A personal history of a revolutionary figure, or a history of the revolution itself? It may be deliberate, because the book covers both subjects quite thoroughly: Greene was indeed a major figure of the revolution, and as for the other meaning, on p. 214 the author admits "Of all the generals in the Continental Army only three had served since the 1775 siege of Boston: Washington, Knox and Greene. Of these Greene had seen far more hardship, battle and bloodshed . Indeed, the story of Nathanael Greene's life during the war reads as a biography of the American Revolution itself." Carbone leaves little doubt that had George Washington been taken out of action by British musket ball or grapeshot (a real possibility, considering the personal risks he kept taking), Greene may well have been the only man capable of leading the colonial army. And yet, when Greene died in 1786 in Savannah, Georgia, his grave in a brick vault was not marked and its location was soon forgotten. The book opens with the story of the rediscovery and reburial of Greene's remains in 1901, thanks to determined efforts by Colonel Gardiner. Nathanael (no "i") Greene is mostly remembered in association with the southern campaign of the American Revolution, in which a small force harried British General Cornwallis--winning some encounters, losing others, but always pressing on--until Cornwallis was trapped at Yorktown and surrendered, after which the southern states were safe from the British. Actually, he was a Yankee from Rhode Island, where before the war he managed a large iron forge. His involvement with the revolution started with a confiscation of his merchandise by the British revenuer ship "Gaspee", later set on fire by American patriots who were never caught. It continued with his enlistment as private in the Rhode Island militia, soon becoming its commander. He narrowly missed the battle of Bunker Hill, but throughout the campaigns that followed--Brooklyn, Manhattan, Fort Lee, Trenton, Morristown, Valley Forge and Monmouth--he may have been the general closest to Washington, who assigned him to whatever task seemed most urgent. In 1778 the urgency was in providing food and arms to colonial soldiers, who throughout the war often suffered hunger and cold. Congress had lacked the power of taxation and therefore left the task of supporting the army to individual states. As quartermaster general, Greene did much to improve the situation--until 1780, when an even more urgent task appeared: it seemed as if the British would soon recapture their southern colonies. They forced the surrender of the defenders of Charleston, S.C., a large loss of men and arms, and they inflicted in Camden a serious defeat on Horatio Gates, who had earlier commanded the battle of Saratoga. Furthermore, British loyalists were quite strong in the south. When Gates ignominiously fled the battlefield, Washington appointed Greene to command the south, but only a few thousand soldiers were at his disposal. Now Greene showed himself as master of Washington's old tactics: confronted with a much larger enemy, he evaded and attacked, retreated but kept up his threat. At first, results were mixed: Daniel Morgan of Virginia beat the British at Cowpens, but Greene had to dodge Cornwallis until he was safe behind the Dan River (Roanoke River). Cornwallis then prudently marched back to base--he too was overextended, and his troops might have been hungry too. Later Greene failed to take the strongly defended town of Ninety-Six in South Carolina, yet he kept up the pressure and the British evacuated it. Gradually and with much hardship, Greene's small army started dominating the countryside and depriving the British of their supplies. After the war ended, Greene's lot was not a happy one. Though acknowledged as a hero and awarded the estate of a British governor (including slaves), his personal resources were hard pressed, especially by merchants to whom he had vouched for army supplies. Congress was of little help, Greene's body was worn out by war, and he died in 1786, at age 43. By extensively quoting Greene's letters to his wife, this book captures well the atmosphere and currents of the American Revolution, and the problems of fielding a volunteer army with few resources and a strong professional adversary. The rough spelling and wording of a talented man whose formal education stopped early give it a flavor of authenticity, more than many academic accounts of American history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Nathanael Greene is my favorite Revolutionary War person. An asthmatic Quaker with a limp, he was voted against being an officer in his own militia because his limp was so obvious. A year later, he was the youngest brigadier general in the Continental Army and everything he knew about warfare he’d read in a book. He became the Savior of the South. If only they hadn’t lost his bones for 115 years. (Don’t worry, they found him in 1901.) As far as the book itself goes, there was almost nothing I ha Nathanael Greene is my favorite Revolutionary War person. An asthmatic Quaker with a limp, he was voted against being an officer in his own militia because his limp was so obvious. A year later, he was the youngest brigadier general in the Continental Army and everything he knew about warfare he’d read in a book. He became the Savior of the South. If only they hadn’t lost his bones for 115 years. (Don’t worry, they found him in 1901.) As far as the book itself goes, there was almost nothing I hadn’t read before. The author wrote in the introduction about having “tightened up the narrative,” but I think it was a bit too tight. Although I’m familiar with the historical events, the book would have benefitted from a few more sentences of explanation here and there. And it could have used a better editor. It’s evident that it was once broken up into a series of newspaper articles, as the flow between passages isn’t as smooth as it could be, with some facts being repeated unnecessarily. There were also a few historical errors. And some parts of the narrative really needed to be flushed out a bit more. Overall, it was a decent book about a general who never really got his due.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    A very straightforward book; no new research or interesting finds like Hackett Fischer. The theme, so far as there is one seems to be "a great man rises from humble beginnings and through self conscious preparation and diligent application of his genius to the peculiar demands of his current station without regard to his personal taste for the position, proved himself invaluable in the execution of the War through his thrifty, clever, intelligent, and faithful management of his army and his quar A very straightforward book; no new research or interesting finds like Hackett Fischer. The theme, so far as there is one seems to be "a great man rises from humble beginnings and through self conscious preparation and diligent application of his genius to the peculiar demands of his current station without regard to his personal taste for the position, proved himself invaluable in the execution of the War through his thrifty, clever, intelligent, and faithful management of his army and his quartermaster position." It was a good book for getting an overall view of his life. Carbone is very hard on the slavery issue and it's of course hard to argue with him. I just wish that people would address that issue and then leave it be instead of trying to get brownie points with the establishment by outdoing the next man in criticism. It was a blight on the character of the time, and a common and nationwide one, so I see little value in continuing to act as if any person we're studying at the moment was a particularly grievous offender and that we are uniquely qualified (by our utter blamelessness in the eyes of future historians) to point out with smug self-satisfaction that "He continued to enslave hundreds of people for the remaining three years of his life." I didn't realize how little credit he gets for Yorktown. He basically corralled Cornwallis out of the South and sent him into Lafayette's territory who then penned him into the Yorktown peninsula in time for Washington and Rochambeau to finish the job. He put the ball into play, but Washington, Lafayette, and Rochambeau finished the job and got the recognition. I also did not realize how hard a personal life he had. As you know, he only lived about 3 years after the War ended. When the war was over, he had 6 children whom he barely knew (he had married about 8 months before joining the army around Boston) and was completely broke, having personally fronted money for the equipping of the southern army. His army contractors turned out to be scams and left him facing a $30,000 debt that he could not pay. His wife Caty miscarried their 7th child after falling during the winter, and his 6th child died in infancy in Rhode Island of the whooping cough. Add to that the fact that his 6th child was born 10+ months after he and his wife were last together before the final throes of the southern campaign, prompting understandable rumors of infidelity on her part, particularly after her rather public dalliances with General Anthony Wayne in high society while Greene was away during the post-Treaty disbanding of the army. The author says that he never seemed to resent this, though he did seem to show some concern that his wife seemed to be rather attracted to their children's tutor Phineas Miller, whom she married after Greene's death. She was 12 years younger than Greene. If I had to come up with one word to describe Genl. Greene it would be the word "faithful." No matter what the position he occupied or the responsibilities he had, he executed them to the best of his ability, and when the civil structure (i.e. Congress and the state governments) failed him, he made himself personally liable to furnish their wants. Thought he complained in letters of not getting the "glory" he deserved from some of his exploits, that is understandable in what at the time was private correspondence, and he never publicly thrust himself forward or tried to pull down another hero. About the Battle of Yorktown, which he well knew he had set up, he said to Henry Knox, "We have been beating the bush and the General has come to catch the bird. Never was there a more inviting object to glory. The General is a most fortunate Man, and may success and laurels attend him. We have fought frequently, and bled freely, and little glory comes to our share." Of everyone I've read of in my limited study of the War for Independence, he, more than anyone else, truly gave his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christy B

    I can't say much for the biography itself, except that this is a good start at getting Greene's name in the history books, along with George Washington's, where it belongs. And for someone interested in getting to know more about Nathanael Greene, I would suggest this, seeing as how accounts of the forgotten general are few and far between. It boggles my mind how absent Greene's name is from accounts of The American Revolution. People don't realize there would have been no Yorktown if not for Gre I can't say much for the biography itself, except that this is a good start at getting Greene's name in the history books, along with George Washington's, where it belongs. And for someone interested in getting to know more about Nathanael Greene, I would suggest this, seeing as how accounts of the forgotten general are few and far between. It boggles my mind how absent Greene's name is from accounts of The American Revolution. People don't realize there would have been no Yorktown if not for Greene. Before Greene's magnificent Southern campaign, the British controlled all of the south. By Yorktown, they controlled virtually none of it. Without decisively winning any battles, Greene not only took charge of the south, but had driven Cornwallis' troops out of the Carolinas and right into George Washington's hands. Greene himself said it best after the battle at Yorktown: We have been beating the bush and the General has come to catch the bird. Never was there a more fortunate Man, and may success and laurels attend him. We have fought frequently, and bled freely, and little glory comes to our share. So what happened to Washington's favorite general, the savior of the south, after the revolution? He was met with much debt and received no fanfare when he returned to his home state of Rhode Island. And he died three years later, in 1786. He was buried in an unmarked tomb that wasn't discovered until 1901, which is covered at the beginning of this book. His name was virtually forgotten and the whereabouts his remains were unknown for virtually 115 years. It's despicable and sad. There probably would not have been a Yorktown, and who would know what would have happened, how long the war might have gone on and who would have won if there was no Nathanael Greene.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shelly♥

    Most of the men who get all the press for the American Revolution are Washington, Adams, Jefferson, maybe Hamilton, Lafayette and of course the infamous Benedict Arnold. Greene started as a private, and moved all the way up to Major General - taking control of the Southern Army during the final stages of the war. He also served as quartermaster under Washington. He was successful in defeat, well known in his lifetime, and had accumulated a huge debt during the war. He died of possibly heatstroke Most of the men who get all the press for the American Revolution are Washington, Adams, Jefferson, maybe Hamilton, Lafayette and of course the infamous Benedict Arnold. Greene started as a private, and moved all the way up to Major General - taking control of the Southern Army during the final stages of the war. He also served as quartermaster under Washington. He was successful in defeat, well known in his lifetime, and had accumulated a huge debt during the war. He died of possibly heatstroke in 1786. Yet, I am certain he is not one of the first names thought of in connection with the Revolution. This biography brings us up to speed with a quick summation of Greene's life. It begins with the attempt to discover his grave site around the turn of the century. Hard to believe such a great hero could slip between the cracks - especially since Greene was buried near Savannah, GA and greatly revered in the South following the war. It then recounted the life of this brilliant American, and how his strengths and perseverance turned him into Washington's most trusted general. Unlike other Revolutionary Bios I have read, this story was lite and short - only 236 pages. It was a basic bio of Greene, (fulling annotated with footnotes) but opened up some detail on the Southern Campaigns he fought in, so often not covered by rudimentary History lessons - mostly because all the other major players were further North. While I didn't come to know Greene as intimately as other Founding Fathers through this bio, I am also guessing that his life was not as deeply documented as others (like Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton). It still provided a good background and gave life to Greene - with his strengths and weaknesses. Would be a great book for teenagers studying the Revolutionary War.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson Ludlow

    The book begins with a gruesome but fascinating account of the search for Greene’s missing bones in 1901. Carbone is a journalist, not an historian, but he is a widely recognized authority on Greene’s life, and this biography is painstakingly documented. As he points out, Nathanael Greene - one of the great generals of the Revolution, more talented perhaps than Washington himself - has been neglected in popular history. An overweight, asthmatic son of a pacifist Quaker preacher, Greene’s talents The book begins with a gruesome but fascinating account of the search for Greene’s missing bones in 1901. Carbone is a journalist, not an historian, but he is a widely recognized authority on Greene’s life, and this biography is painstakingly documented. As he points out, Nathanael Greene - one of the great generals of the Revolution, more talented perhaps than Washington himself - has been neglected in popular history. An overweight, asthmatic son of a pacifist Quaker preacher, Greene’s talents were soon recognized (though family connections didn’t hurt, either). Present at most of the war’s key engagements, he was made Quartermaster General during the hard winter at Valley Forge. His real genius manifested itself in the last years of the war, as commander of the army in the South. The war impoverished him (and on the last page, we are left wondering whether his massive debts were ever paid after his death at age 43 in 1786). This biography is highly readable, including numerous excerpts from the letters and diaries of Greene and his correspondents. In particular, it gives us a clear picture of the extremely confusing and muddled Southern campaigns of 1780-1782.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Since I live in eastern Connecticut, and am walking distance from Westerly, RI, I felt a personal familiarity while reading about most of the landmarks and communities described in this biography of Nathanael Greene by Gerald Carbone. My initial enthusiasm while starting it soon evolved into a sense that the author was rushing through certain details. Carbone could have added about another 50 to 100 pages, at least, to describe in more detail most of the major instances in Greene's life, especia Since I live in eastern Connecticut, and am walking distance from Westerly, RI, I felt a personal familiarity while reading about most of the landmarks and communities described in this biography of Nathanael Greene by Gerald Carbone. My initial enthusiasm while starting it soon evolved into a sense that the author was rushing through certain details. Carbone could have added about another 50 to 100 pages, at least, to describe in more detail most of the major instances in Greene's life, especially some of his earlier battles and the details surrounding some of his more famous events. But in the end, this book gave me a much better appreciation of who Nathanael Greene was and how much he sacrificed for our Independence. I guess what I took away from Carbone's book was a better sense of respect for Nathanael Greene's sacrifice. Very few people gave of themselves more to win our War of Independence more than Major-General Nathanael Greene.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike Prochot

    A well written biography of a now forgotten hero of the American Revolution. A typical American story in many respects. A self-made man with no military training, save reading military books, overcoming obstacles that would have sidelined a lesser individual to form himself into one of the most trusted officers of Washington. Too often, histories of the Revolutionary war overlook the fact that Washington's army was in fact organized and was staffed by some very capable men. Nathanael Greene was A well written biography of a now forgotten hero of the American Revolution. A typical American story in many respects. A self-made man with no military training, save reading military books, overcoming obstacles that would have sidelined a lesser individual to form himself into one of the most trusted officers of Washington. Too often, histories of the Revolutionary war overlook the fact that Washington's army was in fact organized and was staffed by some very capable men. Nathanael Greene was a "gifted and dependable" officer in Washington's close knit group. Greene was generous to his troops, an understanding man with a sense of duty and a sense of humor. He did all that Washington asked of him and more. He died too young, without a chance to take advantage of his success. A man to be remembered. A wonderful read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Al Gritten

    Nathanael Greene is probably my favorite person from this era in American history - he is, in my opinion, the most unknown and underrated of the founding fathers and the general who was most responsible for the colonial victory over the British during the Revolutionary War. He was the general most trusted by Washington as a field commander and he served at Boston, New York, Delaware, New Jersey and Philadelphia. He was the Quartermaster for the Continental Army and he finished his military caree Nathanael Greene is probably my favorite person from this era in American history - he is, in my opinion, the most unknown and underrated of the founding fathers and the general who was most responsible for the colonial victory over the British during the Revolutionary War. He was the general most trusted by Washington as a field commander and he served at Boston, New York, Delaware, New Jersey and Philadelphia. He was the Quartermaster for the Continental Army and he finished his military career as the commanding general for the Southern Army setting up Cornwallis for his final defeat. Carbone covers all of this and more in a book that offers plenty of primary source citations for the academic but is very readable for the history buff or the casual biography fan. A very well done book about one of the most prominent faces and forces in the American Revolution.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve Van Slyke

    Having read several biographies of Washington and other notable officers that reported to him (Hamilton and Arnold), I was intrigued by the praise for Greene and wished to know more about him. I found Carbone's book very satisfying. Fortunately for the author most of Greene's voluminous correspondance has been collected and organized in 13 volumes. Sadly, like many other heroes of the Revolution, Greene's military career ends with him being in deep financial distress and without the thanks and a Having read several biographies of Washington and other notable officers that reported to him (Hamilton and Arnold), I was intrigued by the praise for Greene and wished to know more about him. I found Carbone's book very satisfying. Fortunately for the author most of Greene's voluminous correspondance has been collected and organized in 13 volumes. Sadly, like many other heroes of the Revolution, Greene's military career ends with him being in deep financial distress and without the thanks and assistance of the government he fought to preserve. One wonders if he had not died prematurely if he would not have had some role in Washington's presidential administration as did Knox and Hamilton.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    If you want a mostly 100% positive book on General Greene, then this book might fill the need. I'm familiar with Greene's southern campaign, and this book is accurate with that - so I will assume accurate with the rest. It will explain his popularity in the past (there are many communities named after him), if not so much why he is basically forgotten, indeed there are no analysis or explanations - just wonderful hero worshiping in most of this book. Fun for those who like this sorta thing, and If you want a mostly 100% positive book on General Greene, then this book might fill the need. I'm familiar with Greene's southern campaign, and this book is accurate with that - so I will assume accurate with the rest. It will explain his popularity in the past (there are many communities named after him), if not so much why he is basically forgotten, indeed there are no analysis or explanations - just wonderful hero worshiping in most of this book. Fun for those who like this sorta thing, and I admit that I certainly do at times.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is the account of a man whose physical limitations kept him from appearing to be an ideal soldier. Yet his intellect and hard work made him one of Washington's righthand men. A Quaker, he proved to be so valuable and dedicated that he even accepted Washington's assignment to be the logistics/supply guy- a truly thankless task given the unpaid bills, mud, etc of the Revolution. I really enjoyed this book, largely because the man himself was so amazing. Perfect example of how and why we won t This is the account of a man whose physical limitations kept him from appearing to be an ideal soldier. Yet his intellect and hard work made him one of Washington's righthand men. A Quaker, he proved to be so valuable and dedicated that he even accepted Washington's assignment to be the logistics/supply guy- a truly thankless task given the unpaid bills, mud, etc of the Revolution. I really enjoyed this book, largely because the man himself was so amazing. Perfect example of how and why we won the Revolution against almost all odds....true grit and determination.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary Cantrell

    I like a good biorgraphy, but have a hard time finding them. This was a good one. Nathaniel Greene was an officer through almost the entire Revolution and was very successful, in spite of no military training. He was bold and demanding. I found it all very interesting. At the same time, he was very compassionate towards his soldiers and deeply concerned about their suffering. The end of his life was very sad, as he was saddled with more debt than he could handle, most of it because of the war. I I like a good biorgraphy, but have a hard time finding them. This was a good one. Nathaniel Greene was an officer through almost the entire Revolution and was very successful, in spite of no military training. He was bold and demanding. I found it all very interesting. At the same time, he was very compassionate towards his soldiers and deeply concerned about their suffering. The end of his life was very sad, as he was saddled with more debt than he could handle, most of it because of the war. I enjoyed this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Most people haven't heard of Nathaniel Greene. And those who have probably didn't realize he was just as important to the American Revolution as was George Washington. This book doesn't drown you in dates and details. It takes you through Greene's early life and the war years. You get the flavor of how hard the war was and how difficult it was for Greene personally as well as financially. It's a really good read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This book is a decent start, I guess. It's about an eighth-grade reading level that pretty much just skims over details. That can probably be forgiven, seeing as how a detailed account of Greene's war actions would be a lot more than some two hundred odd pages. There's a couple of errors in my 2008 edition (James Monroe as an author of the Federalist Papers? Really?). Anyway, I'd mostly target this book towards middle or high schoolers studying military history or the American Revolution.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Loren

    A good short biography and much needed for an individual who has not been given the respect and due he has earned. I would only wish that it was longer and more detailed. I feel like alot of things were either passed by or ignored entirely and while this covers his early years in the army well, it runs through the latter half as if it has a train to catch.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jane Gregga

    Stellar history of the American Revolution. Because this is a biography, the book provides context to the battle stories beautifully. This book has given me a much greater understanding of the suffering and the bravery of the men who won the war for independence. If you love history, you will love this book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    David R.

    A highly readable and engaging biography. As is often the case the author tends to cast his subject in the most favorable light (and his critics the worst). Greene is one of the overlooked giants of the American Revolution and well deserves this particular treatment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charles M.

    Very readable biography of all-but-forgotten major player in America's pursuit of independence during the Revolutionary War. Reads like a narrative/novel---probably best of several recent biographies on Greene.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    A truly magnificent biography of Greene, one of the greatest heroes of Rhode Island and the American Revolution (second only to Washington with regard to the latter, I should think).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hauser

    Good recap of his life. Very sad how his life ended after the Revolution.

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