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Short Synopsis
The Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of Gotham tells the forgotten story of New York's British prison camps—and the nearly 20,000 patriots who lost their lives there.

Full Synopsis
Between 1775 and 1783, some 200,000 Americans took up arms against the British Crown. Just over 6,800 of those men died in battle. About 25,000 became prisoners of war, most of them confined in New York City under conditions so atrocious that they perished by the thousands. Evidence suggests that at least 17,500 Americans may have died in these prisons—more than twice the number to die on the battlefield. It was in New York, not Boston or Philadelphia, where most Americans gave their lives for the cause of independence.

New York City became the jailhouse of the American Revolution because it was the principal base of the Crown's military operations. Beginning with the bumper crop of American captives taken during the 1776 invasion of New York, captured Americans were stuffed into a hastily assembled collection of public buildings, sugar houses, and prison ships. The prisoners were shockingly overcrowded and chronically underfed—those who escaped alive told of comrades so hungry they ate their own clothes and shoes.

Despite the extraordinary number of lives lost, Forgotten Patriots is the first-ever account of what took place in these hellholes. The result is a unique perspective on the Revolutionary War as well as a sobering commentary on how Americans have remembered our struggle for independence—and how much we have forgotten.

"A moving tribute to the martyrs of the prison ships." ---Kirkus

"Pathbreaking.... Burrows masterfully explores a subject that had been left nearly untouched for more than two centuries." ---The Washington Post Book World

"Small stories of individual prisoners and colonists abound, and they punctuate the narrative with...human interest." ---AudioFile

"[A] very interesting and well-written book. Highly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Review
Library Journal Review

Forgotten Patriots

The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War

Author Edwin G. Burrows

Narrated by Norman Dietz

Publication date Nov 24, 2008

Running time 11 hrs

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