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The American soldier demonstrated that, properly equipped, trained and led, he has no superior among all the armies of the world… Lucian Truscott

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The North American military experience from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries had a unique character due to the fact that from the Spanish Missions in the South and West to the villages from the Virginia Capes to the St. Lawrence the new continent was made up almost wholly of small frontier settlements as the population grew to cover the continent. Possibly taking their example from the Spaniards who built their missions a day’s march apart New England in its march to the Ohio Valley threw up a string of stockaded settlements and just as the Conquistadors tried to stop the worst depredations of the nomadic warriors of the plains and mountains men like Robert Rogers and his rangers sought to make the English colonies safe from the marauders of the Iroquois Confederation.

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Rogers was neither the first, nor the last, to improvise adapt and overcome but he was one of the most successful and he did distill his rules of ranging into a handy manual that is still studied today. Although the rangers were instrumental to the success of the American Revolution it is somehow instructive that our most prominent general – and our first commander-in-chief – George Washington felt that they were groups best operating as parts of state militias rather than his “regular” army. That same error in judgement would allow Philip Sheridan to send George Armstrong Custer against Sitting Bull and Woodrow Wilson to send John J. Pershing against Pancho Villa. It would take the Texas Rangers to rescue American troops during the Mexican War and the leadership of Lucian Truscott to finally see rangers given their due in the regular army.

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War on the run: the epic story of Robert Rogers and the conquest of America’s first frontier New York: Bantam Books, c 2009 John F. Ross History, Military 18th century, French and Indian War, 1755-1763, Rogers, Robert, 1731-1795 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xxiv, 548 p., [8] p. of plates: ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [473]-534) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Often hailed as the father of today’s elite special forces, Robert Rogers trained and led an unorthodox unit of green provincials, raw woodsmen, farmers, and Indian scouts on “impossible” missions in colonial America that are still the stuff of soldiers’ legend.

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The child of Scots-Irish immigrants, Rogers learned to survive in New England’s dark and deadly forests, grasping, as did few others, that a new world required new forms of warfare. John F. Ross not only re-creates Rogers’s life and his spectacular battles with breathtaking immediacy and meticulous accuracy, but brings a new and provocative perspective on Rogers’s unique vision of a unified continent, one that would influence Thomas Jefferson and inspire the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Rogers’s principles of unconventional war-making would lay the groundwork for the colonial strategy later used in the War of Independence — and prove so compelling that army rangers still study them today. Robert Rogers, a backwoods founding father, was heroic, admirable, brutal, canny, ambitious, duplicitous, visionary, and much more — like America itself.

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