Book Review: The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lovell (Three Stars)

Book Review: The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lovell

Three Stars out of five

An excellent history of the German soldiers hired to supplement the British forces in North America during the American Revolution. Commonly called mercenaries, the soldiers gained nothing by their duty. The various German rulers, led by Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse (cousin of the Britain’s George III), rented their conscript armies to the British and received all the rent.

Of thirty thousand Germans who came to North America just over half returned to Germany. Twelve hundred were killed in action, while over six thousand died of other causes. About five thousand settled in America.

Lovell used German sources and dairies to identify who the soldiers were and what they did. Anecdotes flesh out the narrative with glimpses of the trials and sufferings of the soldiers (and occasional accompanying family).

The style is dense, and some sentences require re-reading. Translated German sources undoubtedly contributed to the stilted style.

A good read for the student of the American Revolutionary War.

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