Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Book Review: "Rebellion in the Ranks"

I had been looking forward to John Nagy's Rebellion in the Ranks: Mutinies of the American Revolution (2008, Westholme), and started reading it this week so as to coincide with the 225th anniversary of Washington's famous Newburgh Address, which we'll celebrate on 15 March.

Unfortunately, I wasn't even able to make it through the introduction, though I did sample long sections from several chapters later in the book just to see if things got better. The prose is incredibly clunky, and the text appears to have entirely escaped even a moment of an editor's time (I found at least eight typos in the first four pages, and I wasn't even looking). It is simply impossible to take seriously a piece of writing which contains such noticeable and prominent errors (including, I must add, a printing mistake on the title page).

I could continue to pile on (I thought about providing sample paragraphs) but I'll refrain. The only circumstance under which I would ever recommend this book to anyone is if they were looking to do their own research on mutinies: the bibliography is not horrible. Otherwise, unless you have a much higher tolerance for misspelled words and short, choppy sentences than I do, steer clear.

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