There are very few primary sources on the role of the rifleman in the revolution. The riflemen and their commanders left far more impression on the minds of those who interacted with them than they did on the pages of history. The subject book is an historical novel, a genre that is deserving of much of the infamy that surrounds it. However, one would be remiss not to note that there are those historical novels, such as those by Bernard Cornwell, Alan Eckert, and others that are firmly grounded in historical research. (Eckert's in particular have an extensive collection of footnotes.) "The Long Knife" is the story of George Rogers Clark and, in particular, his campaign in the Illinois territory during the revolution. This campaign is even less known in general than the campaign in the south. It was nearly totally a campaign of irregular American troops against British regulars and their Indian allies. In this book you'll find the story of Clark's winter campaign against harrowing conditions and extreme odds that somehow, unbelievably, Clark was able to win. You'll also be exposed to Henry Hamilton, British officer known as the "scalp buyer" for the bounties he offered to Indians that brought in American scalps. And, as with many of out heroes, you'll read of Clark's final days, isolated and in dire straits. I found "The Long Knife" to be enjoyable reading and educational at the same time. If you're interested in the frontiersman/rifleman in the war, this is a good book for you.
Avon. N.Y. 1979. paperback 592p.
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