Saratoga Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War

Richard M. Ketchum

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

576 Pages



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Winner of the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award
A New York Times Notable Book

Basing his incisive account on diaries, letters, and field documents of the participants, Ketchum brings one of the Revolutionary War's pivotal battles vividly to life. Saratoga shows how ordinary Americans turned what seemed to be a lost cause into the victory that made an independent America possible.


Praise for Saratoga

"Ketchum, who is the author or editor of several books on American wars, draws on an enormous range of sources, including diaries and letters by officers and common soldiers. The strength of Saratoga lies in his vivid descriptions of the rugged landscape and in his many arresting portraits of participants which make clear how personal rivalries affected the conduct of the war on both sides."—Pauline Maier, The New York Times Book Review

"More than a brilliant, gripping account of one of history's most important battles; it is a vivid, needed reminder of how hard-fought, gritty, sweat-soaked, god-awful, heroic, and all-important was the American War. Like Shelby Foote unfolding the drama of the Civil War, Richard M. Ketchum writes of the Revolution as if he had been there . . . No novelist could create characters more memorable than the protagonists on both the American and British sides . . . This is superbly researched, full-scale narrative history at its best."—David McCullough, author of John Adams and Truman

"An exciting and richly detailed narrative history of the events leading up to the decisive battle that altered the course of the American war for independence. Distinguished historian Ketchum uses a wide range of primary and secondary sources to vividly depict this extraordinary drama. When 'Gentleman Johnny' Burgoyne's feared army of British and German veterans invaded New York, intending to meet up with General Howe's forces, they seemed at first unstoppable. Burgoyne's fierce (and uncontrollable) Indian allies terrorized the countryside, killing civilians and burning and looting outlying settlements. The settlers (some of them previously lukewarm about the revolution) were forced to unite to defend their lives, families, and homes. The Americans soundly defeated the forces of the king at the fierce battles of Bennington and Fort Stanwix. At the same time, a merciless civil war between loyalists and rebels was being fought out in a series of small, vicious engagements. Burgoyne's logistical problems (he was compelled to drag mountains of equipment and supplies over narrow, primitive roads in unfamiliar country) and constant casualties served to weaken his seemingly invincible army. His exhausted forces were finally surrounded at Saratoga, and in the ensuing battle the Americans won a great victory under the courageous leadership of Benedict Arnold, Dan Morgan, and John Glover. Burgoyne's stunning surrender of his 6,000-man army brought a reassured France into the war on the side of the Americans, a move that would prove decisive. With clear, vigorous prose and well-drawn portraits of famous and obscure personalities, Ketchum captures a stirring time in American history, producing what should be the definitive study of Burgoyne's defeat for many years to come."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Richard M. Ketchum

  • Richard M. Ketchum's work has been hailed as "superb military history of an intimacy and narrative power such as is rarely written" (Orville Prescott). The author of twelve books, Ketchum served as the editor in charge of books at American Heritage Publishing Company for two decades. A graduate of Yale University, he commanded a subchaser in the South Atlantic during World War II. Ketchum was also the editor and cofounder of Blair & Ketchum's Country Journal, a monthly magazine. He and his wife live on a farm in Vermont.