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Valcour

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Valcour is about the people involved in the 1776 three-day battle of the fledgling American Colonies against the pesky Brits. In the summer of that year, word came that the British were coming from Canada.

The Americans had wanted to maintain their hold on the upper rivers and knew that to do so they would have to make a stand. And what a brave stand these soldiers who were really just volunteers, made. A stand that would change the course of history.

You will recognize the names. Washington, Schuyler, a General who would become Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law by marrying Eliza. We also see a different side of Benedict Arnold. A bit rougher than some, but a brilliant strategist.

While Washington routed them in Trenton, Arnold sent the British Gates packing in a three-day battle on Lake Champlain and forced a retreat.

This is a well-researched book. I think we all are familiar with Benedict Arnold as a traitor, but he really is so much more. These men were young and untried but passionate about not being under the thumb of Britain. This was more than a history lesson. These were real people who overcame incredible odds to hold up our fledgling country against more powerful enemies and prevailed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

NetGalley/ April 6th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
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“Valcour” by Jack Kelly is about the run-up to, the battle of, and the aftermath of the Battle of Valcour Island during the U.S. Revolutionary War.  The narrative starts in 1776 with the failed invasion of Canada.  It describes actions prior to Valcour in the area of Lake Champlain and Quebec, the Battle of Valcour itself, and some parts of the Revolutionary War occurring in New Jersey and New York.  The action on Lake Champlain is not a part of history that is generally known by the public.

There is a lot of historical background and detail for the reader on the region, military figures, native North American tribes, and the French and Indian War (1754-1763).  There is also background on the beginnings of the United States Navy, which is interesting and really could have been expanded upon a little bit.  Finally, living conditions for the soldiers are detailed, particularly the smallpox epidemics.  The Whig political party is mentioned and the narrative could’ve benefitted from a few lines about it at this time in the Colonies.  I recognize that distilling down the relevant parts of this history and keeping the narrative on-track is difficult.

The main focus of the book is the northern campaign of 1776, and of course, the Battle of Valcour Island (or Battle of Valcour Bay) on October 11, 1776.  Notable are General Philip Schuyler, General Horatio Lloyd Gates, and General Benedict Arnold.  General Arnold was in direct command of colonial forces at the Battle of Valcour, which was one of the first battles of the new United States Navy.  The Battle was in many ways a loss for the Patriots as they needed to withdraw from the area, BUT it was a psychological victory for them because of inflicting losses on a far better armed and trained British force.  The Patriots’ performance at Valcour also forced the British into a winter conflict which effectively slowed their advance into the colonies from Canada.    

The narrative style of the book is not as dry as many history books and is quite readable throughout.  I am wondering about some of the passages describing feelings or physical being of soldiers as to whether they were taken from journals or memoirs and hope that those passages are footnoted.  There does appear to have been a lot of journal or memoir research done, with ample quotes of General Gates and General Arnold.  I see a section of “Source Notes” at the end of the galley which I hope will function as either footnotes or endnotes for the final published book.  The Bibliography is welcome and interesting.  I looked up the article from the American Battlefield Trust about Women in the American Revolution.  Thank you for including the brave widow who kept marching with the Colonial Army after her husband’s death.

I read an uncorrected galley of this book.  I noted a few typos in the text that need to be corrected but I will not list them in this review.  I would if this were a published copy.  I like to give credit that the editorial staff will catch them prior to publication. 

A large portion of this history is rightly spent on General Benedict Arnold.  I suspect that this author will next be writing a book about him, which I would like to read.

One of the pluses of this book is the great detail with which it is written.  I particularly like the afterword with the notes on the gondola "Philadelphia" exhibit at the National Museum of American History.  A visit there is at the top of mine and my husband’s list the next time we are in Washington, D.C.

I definitely recommend this book to those interested in American History.

Thank you to Jack Kelly, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an uncorrected galley of this book.
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Valcour
By Jack Kelly

Valcour Island in Lake Champlain was the site of one of the decisive battles of the Revolutionary War and a turning point for the Continental Army - and yet few of us know the name. Even more startling is the fact that one of the battles greatest heroes was Benedict Arnold, whose name is synonymous today with treason.

This is an amazing book. While a work of non-fiction, Mr. Kelly's depiction of the navel battle rivals some of the best historical fiction of Bernard Cornwell. That is high praise. But even more fascinating is the amount of detail about the man, Benedict Arnold, and others, which allows the reader a more well-rounded picture of who these patriots were - just regular people like you and me.

I would recommend this book highly to anyone with an interest in more than a superficial understanding of what it took to birth our nation.
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I love history, so reading this book was a no brainer. It was a very interesting book about a part of history not known by a lot of people. Very good job done by the author.
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"Valcour" by Jack Kelly is the story of the relatively little-known first true test of the infant U.S. Navy during the Revolutionary War. Following a disastrous attempt to invade Quebec and bring Canada into the rebel fold against England, led by Gen. Benedict Arnold, the British set their sights on a pincer movement. Their goal was to invade and occupy the Hudson Valley, from the north via Lake Champlain and Albany and from the south via New York City. Doing so, the British could cut off the more rebellious New England states from the relatively Loyalist mid-Atlantic citizens. By the end of 1776, Gen. Washington had slipped his army (at a high cost, of course) through New York City and into New Jersey, where he would go on to turn the tide and prevent an all-out defeat that the British hoped to secure early in the conflict. That story is told well by several other authors, including David McCullough. "Valcour" is the story of the other side of the pincer movement, where Gen. Arnold (yes, *that* Arnold) defended the northern route into the Hudson Valley by forming a leading, though contentiously, a small freshwater navy on Lake Champlain in upstate New York. The author's descriptions are all first-rate: the backstories and foregoing campaigns and battles, the personalities and egos involved and the politics among them, the preparations to defend Fort Ticonderoga and, finally, the naval battle that ended in defeat but still pushed the British back into Canada and demonstrated that the rebels would not go quietly. As a campaign to stall the end of the rebellion and give the new United States another season of fighting chances, Valcour was a pivotal event early in the American Revolution, and Mr. Kelly tells that story well and with proper context. With the maps that are planned for the published edition, I would have given it 5 stars.
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This is a well-researched work that presents the desperate days and weeks in 1776 when a dispirited, beaten and sick U.S. force hastily retreated from their optimistic foray into Canada and had to regain cohesion, health, skill and build a fleet in a short period of time to stop the superior fleet, numbers and skill of the British navy prepared to foray down Lake Champlain and onto New York City where they could have crushed the rebellion in its early stages as well as the actual battle itself that many people don’t know about (I didn’t).  

The battle itself doesn’t start until about 50% into the book; this does allow a thorough picture of the desperate position the people were in and the great accomplishment they were able to achieve.  It also allows a portrait of some of the average people who were risking everything on the possibility of a better future and a new country.  The focus, though, is on three people:  Horatio Gates who “transformed the beaten, sick and discouraged army…they became a respectable fighting force”; Philip Schuyler (yes, the father of Eliza who married Alexander Hamilton) who “oversaw the construction of a fleet of war vessels in the wilderness”; and Benedict Arnold whose “actions on Lake Champlain in the summer of 1776 helped save the cause of liberty.”  

Well-known as a traitor it is very interesting to see Benedict Arnold as a charismatic and daring leader whose bold behavior contributed to saving the day and stopped the British fleet from proceeding down to New York City.  His skill and achievements are often overlooked in light of his later behavior.  But this tells the story of the foundation of his later actions.  

Kelly’s work is not a dry recitation of facts.  The tension is palpable in the writing and he gives a good description of the conditions and chaos of the actual naval battle.  He indulges a bit in atmospheric descriptions that I would expect more in a historical fiction story but it makes for good reading.  Informative and interesting.  Good job.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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Jack Kelly presents an interesting description of the revolutionary war in the north. The battles here early in the war were critical to preserving the colonies during 1776. Several interesting characters stride the stage with Benedict Arnold probably the most notable (before he turned into a synonym for treachery. If you enjoy military history, you will enjoy this book.
 
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this to review prior to publication.

Valcour is a finely researched and tightly woven look at the short naval campaign on Lake Champlain during the American Revolutionary War. Jack Kelly goes into detail about the location, the building of the boats and the environment these brave soldiers and sailors endured. Central to the cast is Benedict Arnold, probably one of the most enigmatic characters in early American history in regard to his motivations and actions. His command of the small naval force that tied up the British forces in the north was instrumental in the later actions of the war. The last chapter acts as a "where are they now" type of list where we see the fall of this patriot.
If you enjoy American history, pick up this book about a not widely known battle of the Revolutionary War.
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An interesting read on a little known battle of the American revolution and the impact on the overall war. The intrigue and interactions among the main figures was compelling. The story is well told and held my interest. A great read for history fans.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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When someone thinks about pivotal battles or campaigns in the War of Independence, their minds probably don't got to the sea or lakes first. But important work was done on water too and this book does a good job at covering some of that work.
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Fireworks and cheers for a red, white and blue, star spangled book that brings the Revolutionary War to life. More like a thriller than a non-fiction history book, Valcour: The 1776 Campaign that saved the cause of Liberty is a salute to the Patriots of the Revolutionary War. The book is well-researched and very informative, but this is not dry history. The people, some names known to history, some forgotten, are vivid, the settings and war scenes are life-like, and the ideals of the time shine like gold.

Every war starts with enthusiasm. For the young United States, the ending of the war seemed to be coming too quickly. In 1776, Continental Army Commander George Washington was having a tough time defending New York City, and the woes continued. The Northern Campaign, with it ignominious failure to take Canada, meant that the defense of Lake Champlain in upstate New York was crucial to the cause of the patriots. Three men would be put to the test. General Phillip Schuyler was an expert at logistics, and Horacio Gates was the general best prepared  to lead men and rebuild the northern army. Benedict Arnold, yes “that” Benedict Arnold was a superb seaman  with a larger-than-life personality. How would they far against the best army and navy in the world?

The life and times of the famous presented in this book are uplifting and inspiring, as are the stories of lesser luminaries. During a perilous winter battle near Quebec, one young soldier sat down on the trail and died. His wife had marched with him; she picked up his musket and kept going. A 13 year-old boy kept a diary as he accompanied his father on a boat during the battle at Lake Champlain. 

A fascinating and timely story involved the highly contagious small pox virus, which was a scourge of the army camp. Rumors persisted that the British had sent infected persons into the Continental Army to decimate it! And there were differing views about the use of inoculations!

A memorable part of the book was when a copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived at Fort Ticonderoga and was read to the troops at the Sabbath service. The words were stunning to people raised in a monarchy. Like the author, I salute and give heartfelt thanks to the men and women willing to die for the idea that all are created equal, all endowed with unalienable rights. 

From the battles on Lake Champlain to Washington crossing the Delaware, wit, faith and persistence would win. Farmers had faced soldiers and had done their best. I highly  recommend this book to all who love and respect history, and to anyone who needs to meet again the people of those historic times, when action, skill, boldness and enthusiasm created a new country. 

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance review copy. This is my honest review.
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i really enjoyed reading this book, I liked that I hadn't heard about and I learned about this book. The author did wonderful research and it kept me invested,
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Let's kick this review off with a big thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for giving me this chance to read this outstanding book, and thank you to #JackKelly, the brilliant author, for compiling and writing this novel. 

The Battle of Valcour, have you heard of it? Most have not, but it plays a huge role in the Revolutionary War. Jack Kelly takes real letters, real plans, and real people. Taking their stories and giving us a very detailed incredible account of what happened on that 1776 October day. Despite rebels losing most of their fleet, and a good handful of their men, they were able to delay the British just enough from progressing forward to the Hudson River valley. 

Following the plans of three men who planned and fought for what they believed in against the British. The day-long battle on the sea was the first step in the British realizing this would be bigger than what they had imagined it would be; even though they won this small battle, they realized maybe they would not win the war. 

I feel like everyone should read this book, especially if they are naturally drawn to history. They won't be able to put it down. 

This is so intellectually written, so well constructed. It is by far the most exhilarating history book I've ever read. I want more from Jack Kelly. 

I rate this book 5 stars; I'm in love with it. It is set to release April 6th, 2021.
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In Valcour, Jack Kelly gives a detailed, up front account of the little-known battle of Valcour Island, thrusting the reader into the watery oblivion of this three-day naval battle on Lake Champlain. Out-maneuvering the British, Benedict Arnold acts here as a brilliant military leader and patriot. Kelly writes of Gates and Schuyler as well, noting that none of the three were given the distinction that they deserved after their efforts. Important to American history, this novel begs to be read.
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historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, military-history, military-intelligence, american-rev-war

Excellent Publish or Perish history of early northern campaigns in the War for Independence in North America highlighting the Generals and battles involved culminating in the Battle of Valcour. It is finely detailed and obviously meticulously researched, but a bit above my pay grade despite having been involved in the Northwest Territory Alliance re-enacting for a number of years. I highly recommend it for readers of military campaigns and the American Revolution!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
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I do not usually read American history. However I wanted to read this non fictional account of the Revolutionary War battles fought on Lake Champlain. I  have personal connections to this area and am very familiar with the Adirondack region.

This book is very well-researched and intelligently written. The author includes quotes from the people who participated in this conflict as well as an exquisite amount of detail about the battles and the horrible conditions military men had to contend with at this time. The author based this work on research and fact. Opinion and conjecture are kept to a minimum, if included at all. This would be an excellent scholarly read for a university course on American history.

Those who are particularly interested in this historical period will probably enjoy this book more than I did. I read over 60% of the book and found myself skimming the details that others would probably relish. At this point, I read the last chapter and afterward. They provided a concise conclusion.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley, St. Martins Publishing and the author for the opportunity to read an Advance Readers Copy of this book.

For those who do not know, the United States were once colonies of Great Britain. From 1775 to 1783, they fought a war for independence that ended after few military peaks and many valleys. The American Revolution is one my favorite subjects, both in fiction and nonfiction. VALCOUR by author JACK KELLY takes a nonfiction look at one aspect of that war.

During the first year of military engagements, the colonies had some ups and downs. They included a siege of British occupying forces in Boston (Battle of Bunker Hill) eventually forcing the Redcoats to abandon Boston, a successful raid on Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York (by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys) and a disastrous winter attempt to seize Quebec City in Canada. 

Benedict Arnold was one of the men leading the Canadian campaign. In America, his name is synonymous with treason for his attempt to turn over an important fort (West Point, New York, mid-Hudson River Valley) to the British later during the war. Mr. Kelly’s purpose of this book is to help understand Arnold, not as traitor but as a brilliant military leader mistreated by the Continental Congress and by some of his superior officers jealous of his successes.

Arnold took charge of the retreat from Quebec City in the latter months of a cold winter. His troops were suffering from smallpox and dysentery. He led them south into Lake Champlain that lies between the states of Vermont and New York. He took them to Fort Ticonderoga where other leaders had been assembling a fleet of small naval ships to stop the British before they could divide the New England colonies from the rest of the colonies. The British had been putting together a larger naval force at the north end of Lake Champlain. 
The two forces made contact in October 1776 near Valcour Island. A daylong sea battle ensued. On paper, the British won. The American fleet snuck away during the night. However, it had made the British commander realize that this was not going to be an easy campaign.

Benedict Arnold was leader in charge of the rebel forces. He succeeded in delaying the British from moving south to Fort Ticonderoga until 1777. In that year, at nearby Saratoga, New York, American forces defeated a British Army further postponing a British march to New York City and Albany. The Battle of Saratoga directly led to the French decision to come to the aid of the American colonies.

This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for readers of military campaigns and the American Revolution.

GO! BUY! READ!
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Jack Kelly has written a thoroughly enjoying and exciting book about a conflict that isn't well known or even really talked about. very few knew about a British attack from Canada or that there was a small naval battle played out on Lake Champlain. 

I certainly knew very little about it, I had heard that it. happened and that was about it. Jack Kelly gave me so much new information in a very entertaining fashion. I was instantly drawn in and couldn't wait to read the next page. His descriptions are phenomenal and I really enjoyed learning more about Benedict Arnold and his (frankly) brilliant strategy 

It doesn't feel like a history book, which is a good thing! This book is great for anyone who is interested in history, the American revolution, Benedict Arnold, military history and naval battles. If you have a hard time reading historical books I would still suggest you give this a try, it's so action packed and well written you would think you're reading historical fiction.

5 Stars, well done Mr. Kelly!
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