(Published March 10, 2015)
ABOUT THE BOOK
San Francisco Book Festival First Place in History Category
Many people have difficulty comprehending the enormity of America’s Great Lakes, and are surprised to learn that the U.S. Navy ever operated on them “because they are, after all, just lakes.” In order to correct this misconception, this book speaks of the Great Lakes, along with Lake Champlain, as “America’s Inland Seas.” While a significant naval presence on these bodies of water was relatively short-lived — from the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 to the end of the War of 1812 in 1815 — several noteworthy naval battles took place there. A number of U.S. Naval heroes were recognized as a result of those actions. Among them were Benedict Arnold (yes, that Benedict Arnold) on Lake Champlain during the Revolutionary War. Thomas Macdonough on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812, and Oliver Hazard Perry on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The focus of the main text is on the battles, and appendices provide insight into the people, places, and ships involved.
David Ritchey's book, "Keep the Colors Flying" is a must for any American History fan's library. Concisely and intelligently written, Mr. Ritchey covers America's battles on the Great Lakes or as he corrects, inland seas, from the early 1700's to 1945. His appendices cover details of the main military characters, key places and interestingly the type of ships involved. If you choose to read these first, Mr. Ritchey's accounts of the battles come to life knowing the personalities with their decisions as they execute strategies in the face of weather, abilities of the vessels and knowledge or the lack of. A sudden shift of the wind could drastically alter the course of a battle and then again the prowess of a naval commander might just do the same.
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