Forgotten Patriots by Edwin G. Burrows
The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War

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Synopsis

Between 1775 and 1783, some 200,000 Americans took up arms against the British Crown. Just over 6,800 of those men died in battle. About 25,000 became prisoners of war, most of them confined in New York City under conditions so atrocious that they perished by the thousands. Evidence suggests that at least 17,500 Americans may have died in these prisons—more than twice the number to die on the battlefield. It was in New York, not Boston or Philadelphia, where most Americans gave their lives for the cause of independence.

New York City became the jailhouse of the American Revolution because it was the principal base of the Crown’s military operations. Beginning with the bumper crop of American captives taken during the 1776 invasion of New York, captured Americans were stuffed into a hastily assembled collection of public buildings, sugar houses, and prison ships. The prisoners were shockingly overcrowded and chronically underfed—those who escaped alive told of comrades so hungry they ate their own clothes and shoes.

Despite the extraordinary number of lives lost, Forgotten Patriots is the first-ever account of what took place in these hell-holes. The result is a unique perspective on the Revolutionary War as well as a sobering commentary on how Americans have remembered our struggle for independence—and how much we have forgotten.

 

About Edwin G. Burrows

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Edwin G. Burrows is Distinguished Professor of History at Brooklyn College. He is the coauthor of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, which won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for History. He lives in Northport, New York.
 
Published November 11, 2008 by Basic Books. 383 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian revisits the story of the brutal, degrading treatment of American prisoners of war during the Revolution.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Forgotten Patriots: The Untol...

Bookmarks Magazine

It was in New York, not Boston or Philadelphia, where most Americans gave their lives for the cause of independence.New York City became the jailhouse of the American Revolution because it was the principal base of the Crown’s military operations.

Dec 14 2008 | Read Full Review of Forgotten Patriots: The Untol...

The Roanoke Times

Burrows The treatment of prisoners of war often generates stories of unpleasantness.

May 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Forgotten Patriots: The Untol...

Shelf Awareness

Kids also need to see their parents read books on a regular basis and not be discouraged by parents when they choose a book the parent feels is too long (we've actually had parents tell their children they should pick a shorter book).

Nov 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Forgotten Patriots: The Untol...

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