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The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas, by John Buchanan, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1997, $30.

The American Civil War has long been called the “Second War for Independence” by many Southerners. When one begins to study the Southern campaigns during the Revolutionary War, it is easy to understand why. Certainly there were Loyalists involved in the fighting in the North during the Revolution, but the scale of Tory involvement there pales in comparison to the conflict in the South, where the bulk of the fighting pitted American against American, family against family.

In The Road To Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas, John Buchanan has provided an excellent detailed study that takes us beyond the battlefields, providing insights on the sociopolitical issues that were unique to the South, as well as good character studies of the major figures. The author does so in a way that other historians don’t always manage quite as well. Simply put, this book is just plain fun to read.

Some criticisms can be made. Certainly the lack of maps is troublesome, there are some minor points that come into question regarding accuracy, and some readers may find Buchanan a bit too lenient toward the Tory viewpoint. Still, taken as a whole, The Road To Guilford Courthouse is an enlightening and entertaining view of the Revolutionary War in the South.

B. Keith Toney