“Rev War Revelry” Author Interview: Christian McBurney

The hottest part of the hotttest temperature engagement in the American Revolution happened on June 28, 1778 at Monmouth Court House in New Jersey. The portion that gets the most attention out of this entire battle was the supposedly heated exchange between General George Washington and his second-in-command, General Charles Lee.

What ensued was the end of an American military career, as Lee would face a court martial, a suspension from duty, and a fall into obscurity. Historians have sorted through the primary sources of the time period to reconstruct what exactly happened on that balmy June day.

Yet, for the first time, a dedicated study, from the lens of both a historian and a practicing attorney, brings into focus the details of that fateful day in New Jersey. That topic, his new book, and historian Christian McBurney will be the focal point of this week’s “Rev War Revelry” as a Facebook live, this Sunday at 7 p.m. EST.

McBurney, an attorney in Washington D.C. and president of the George Washington American Revolution Round Table of Washington D.C. will speak on his latest publication, George Washington’s Nemesis, The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the Revolutionary War. This book is one of five that McBurney has written on the subject of the American Revolution.

For more information on those books, click here. To read up or read the synopsis of the book at the center of the historian happy hour this Sunday, click here.

We look forward to welcoming you this Sunday; whether you read the book or on the fence about adding this volume to your expanding library or just want to know the history behind this last major battle in the northern theater in the American Revolution. Or all three! Remember to bring your comments, questions, and a favorite beverage to sip on as you tune in.

Review: The French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France, by William R. Nester. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2014 (paperback).

Both the American Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War (as it was called in North America) have been the subject of many history books.  The original American sources have been pretty much culled through, as have many of the British sources.  But French sources have not received the same scrutiny.  Why this is the case, is not clear.  Of course, the French language is a barrier to English-speaking historians.  I believe another factor is that French historians have not shown much interest in either war, and when they have, they have failed to use adequate footnotes, making it difficult for other historians to follow up on the sources they have used and confirm their credibility.  In the French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France, William R. Nester, a professor at St. John’s University in New York City, helps to address this imbalance.  His history of the French and Indian War (called the Seven Years’ War in Europe), which was fought from 1754 to 1763, is from the French perspective and he has relied on many original French sources.  Interestingly, despite the title of the book, about half of the book, if not more, occurs in France and the rest of Europe.   This decision is understandable; paraphrasing one contemporary, Canada was lost on the battlefields of Germany.

“The French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France”

Nester starts his history by explaining the disorganized and weak state of the French political system.  One might believe that because France had a monarchial system, its government was efficient, but the contrary was true.  For one, the French legislature, dominated by merchants, lawyers and the middling classes who suffered the burden of heavy taxation (aristocrats were not taxed), frequently hesitated or refused King Louis XV’s constant requests for more funds to fight his wars and pay for his extravagant lifestyle.  As a result, his administration was constantly deep in debt and always short of funds it needed to fight.

The court of King Louis XV was a convoluted maze of intrigue, dominated by the king’s beautiful but conniving mistress, Madame de Pompadour.  Due to her heavy influence on King Louis XV, if she did not approve of a general or a foreign diplomat, that individual would either never be retained or would eventually be fired.  This was no way to run a great country.  Continue reading “Review: The French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France, by William R. Nester. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2014 (paperback).”