The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

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The Southern Strategy
The Southern Strategy:
Britain's Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775-1780

by David K. Wilson
Published by University of South Carolina Press
May 2005

Book Review from The Patriot Resource:
David K. Wilson's The Southern Strategy follows a format also seen in John Buchanan's The Road to Guilford Courthouse and Dan Morrill's Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution in that the book basically jumps from battle to battle although there are a couple of transitional chapters. Even though the format is similar to those two books and John Buchanan endorses The Southern Strategy, Wilson looks to be making a strong effort to set his book apart from those books. He clearly does not want to retread the same material and several times cites material from those two books and then moves to ardently disagree with their sources and conclusions.

Despite it's similarities, The Southern Strategy has plenty of fresh material that set it apart from the other two aforementioned books unlike the mostly disappointing Partisans & Redcoats. Wilson chooses to begin in 1775 with the Battle of Great Bridge and end with the Battle of Waxhaws in May 1780. This allows for some overlap with the other recent books, but also presents fresh material. Put The Southern Strategy with the other two books and one almost covers the entire war in the South from the Battle of Great Bridge in 1775 to the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.

When Wilson covers more familiar territory, he keys in on elements that were previously left in the background and moves some more well-known elements from the foreground more into the background. This approach along with his effort to bring in some different sources than have been used and reused by previous book easily earns The Southern Strategy a place in one's library. One possible turnoff for some readers is Wilson's penchant for some strikingly blunt editorializing, which is rare enough that it can be overlooked without taking away from the book.





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