Brumwell, Stephen 1960–

views updated

Brumwell, Stephen 1960–

PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Portsmouth, England; married; one daughter. Education: University of Leeds, B.A. (with first class honors), 1993, M.A. (with distinction), 1994, Ph.D., 1998.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Da Capo Press, Eleven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142.

CAREER: Cornish Times, Cornwall, England, reporter, 1979–82; Evening Herald, Plymouth, England, senior reporter, 1982–90; University of Leeds, Leeds, England, tutor in modern history, 1994–98, lecturer in modern history, 1998–99; freelance scholar and writer, 2000–

AWARDS, HONORS: W.M. Keck Foundation and Fletcher Jones Foundation fellow to Huntington Library, 1999.

WRITINGS:

Cassell's Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2001.

Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755–1763, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

White Devil: An Epic Story of Revenge from the Savage War That Inspired "The Last of the Mohicans," Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2004, published as White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Wolfe: Soldier of Empire, Humbledon & London Books (London, England), 2005.

Author of introduction, Through So Many Dangers: The Adventures & Memoirs of Robert Kirk, Late of the Royal Highland Regiment, Purple Mountain Press; contributor to British Military Greats, Cassell.

SIDELIGHTS: An historian particularly noted for his studies of the British army in eighteenth-century America, Stephen Brumwell is the author of Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755–1763 and White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America.

In Redcoats Brumwell provides a comprehensive examination of the men who fought for England during the French-and-Indian War. Drawing on numerous memoirs, letters, courts-martial records, and other archival materials, he recreates the individuals who enlisted for financial or patriotic reasons, or to escape the drudgery of rural life. In doing so, he finds a number of soldiers who displayed remarkable intelligence and initiative, and in turn, an army that adapted to the unique terrain and unconventional fighting style of colonial North America. This is in sharp contrast to the image of the British army as being hopelessly hidebound, relying on the American frontiersmen to win the kind of war European troops were incapable of waging. This is the view of the French-and-Indian War that comes from General Braddock's resounding defeat by unconventional forces in the forest in 1755. But as Brumwell reveals, this is not the end of the story, but, rather, the beginning. In the wake of this defeat, Brumwell shows, the British were forced to rethink their tactics and create a different kind of army. In fact, Brumwell reveals that George Washington's own Continental Army would use many of these innovations to defeat that same British army in the Revolutionary War. As a result, according to Military Book Review contributor Michael Russert, "Brumwell has successfully created a fascinating and insightful book that should be of interest to all interested in Eighteenth Century warfare." For Albion contributor Jeremy Black, "this is an excellent example of military history, that will at once be of value to scholars working on eighteenth-century Britain and also to those interested in the struggle for empire."

In White Devil Brumwell turns to a specific incident in the French-and-Indian War, and to one of those unconventional warriors celebrated in the more-traditional histories of the period. In 1759, Robert Rogers was ordered to take his group of rangers and punish the Abenaki, a Native-American tribe that supported the French and had massacred English settlers at Fort William Henry. Rogers' response was a brutal slaughter of the Abenaki village, an incident that became the source of James Fennimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans. In addition to narratives written or retold by survivors on both sides, Brumwell draws on 250 years of archival materials on Native American and European relations "to explore the truth behind this controversial episode from America's aggressive past," in the words of Library Journal contributor Dale Farris. The result, for Len Barcousky writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is a "fast-moving tale of courage, cruelty, hardship and savagery."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Albion, spring, 2003, Jeremy Black, review of Cassell's Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, p. 262.

Booklist, September 15, 2002, Jeremy Black, review of Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755–1763, p. 134.

Contemporary Review, October, 2004, review of White Devil: An Epic Story of Revenge from the Savage War that Inspired "The Last of the Mohicans," p. 254.

Library Journal, February 15, 2002, T.J. Schaeper, review of Redcoats, p. 158; March 1, 2005, Dale Farris, review of White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America, p. 97.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 3, 2005, Len Barcousky, review of White Devil.

Spectator (London, England), September 28, 2002, Hugh Cecil, "An Army Emerges with Honour," p. 66.

ONLINE

Military Book Review Online, http://www.themilitarybookreview.com/ (September 12, 2005), Michael Russert, review of Redcoats.

Stephen Brumwell Home Page, http://www.vleggaar.nl/brumwell (September 12, 2005).

About this article

Brumwell, Stephen 1960–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article