The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution

Hardcover | October 25, 2016

byJohn Oller

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In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British “southern campaign.” Employing insurgent guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted enemy losses that were individually small but cumulatively a large drain on British resources and morale.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of the "Swamp Fox" from the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film The Patriot, the real Francis Marion bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him.

In this action-packed biography we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution: Banastre Tarleton, the British cavalry officer who relentlessly pursued Marion over twenty-six miles of swamp, only to call off the chase and declare (per legend) that "the Devil himself could not catch this damned old fox," giving Marion his famous nickname; Thomas Sumter, the bold but rash patriot militia leader whom Marion detested; Lord Cornwallis, the imperious British commander who ordered the hanging of rebels and the destruction of their plantations; "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, the urbane young Continental cavalryman who helped Marion topple critical British outposts in South Carolina; but most of all Francis Marion himself, "the Washington of the South," a man of ruthless determination yet humane character, motivated by what his peers called "the purest patriotism."

In The Swamp Fox, the first major biography of Marion in more than forty years, John Oller compiles striking evidence and brings together much recent learning to provide a fresh look both at Marion, the man, and how he helped save the American Revolution.

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From the Publisher

In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British “southern campaign.” Employing insurgent guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted enemy losses that were individu...

John Oller, a lawyer and journalist, is the author of the critically acclaimed biographies of actress Jean Arthur and Kate Chase Sprague, Mary Todd Lincoln's great rival. He lives in New York City.JohnOllerNYC.com

other books by John Oller

Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew
Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew

Paperback|Jan 1 2006

$18.50 online$18.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:Da Capo BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0306824574

ISBN - 13:9780306824579

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Advance praise for The Swamp Fox“Not only a new Francis Marion, but a new American Revolution emerges from these riveting pages. Best of all, John Oller has performed this feat with solid, totally convincing research. His is a book that every American will learn from—and enjoy.”—Thomas Fleming, bestselling author of The Great Divide“John Oller’s thrilling narrative drops us into the steamy swamps of South Carolina as Francis Marion and his small militia repeatedly bloody larger, veteran redcoat armies, often serving as the only surviving patriot force between the British and the fall of the colony. The Swamp Fox paints a vivid portrait of the unassuming man who created a new, potent brand of guerilla warfare, one that balanced audacity with tactical genius and resolute ethics. Oller’s engaging work rightfully places Marion in the first ranks of great American heroes.”—John F. Ross, author of War on the Run“John Oller’s The Swamp Fox is a much anticipated fresh look at the life of Francis Marion, focusing on Marion’s distinguished military career during the American Revolution. Incorporating historical material either previously inaccessible or overlooked, Oller offers new perspectives on our lowcountry South Carolina partisan told within an engaging narrative that situates Marion’s campaigns within the greater British and American strategies.”—Steven D. Smith, Research Associate Professor, University of South Carolina, and author of Archaeological Perspectives on Partisan Communities: Francis Marion at Snow’s Island in History, Landscape, and Memory“A tour de force—a scholarly presentation which has been long needed. Brilliantly written and documented.”—Christine Swager, author of The Valiant Died: The Battle of Eutaw Springs and Come to the Cowpens: The Story of the Battle of Cowpens“Well written, well researched, fast paced, it deserves a large reading audience.”—John Buchanan, author of The Road to Guilford CourthouseKirkus Reviews, 9/15/16“An admiring biography of Francis Marion (1732-1795), a military hero of the American Revolution... A thoroughly researched biography.”