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Authors: Barbara W. Tuchman

First Salute

BOOK: First Salute
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Praise for Barbara Tuchman and
The First Salute

“[A] tightly woven narrative, ingeniously structured.… She concludes with a salute for all that America has achieved, and a deep sadness for all that it hasn’t.”

The Christian Science Monitor

“Nothing in a novel could be more thrilling than the moment in this glorious history when French soldiers arrive on a boat at Chester, Pa., in 1781, look on the dock and see a tall, familiar figure: George Washington.… It is only part of Tuchman’s genius that she can reconstitute such scenes with so much precision and passion.… [A]n exhilarating book about human greed, foolishness and courage.”

People Magazine

“This is ‘drum-and-trumpet’ history at its best (in this case ‘jib-and-mainsail’ would be more apt).… [B]ecause she presents both telling detail and grand theory in unexpected ways and in splendid, sweeping prose, Barbara Tuchman’s works continue to dazzle.”

Houston Post

“[F]resh, interesting.… The author’s keen sense of human nature and her considerable knowledge of 18th-century government and military tactics unlock the machinations and motivations behind the basic facts of the conflict.”

The Pittsburgh Press

By Barbara W. Tuchman











A Ballantine Book

Published by The Random House Publishing Group

Copyright © 1988 by Barbara W. Tuchman

All rights reserved

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Little, Brown and Company and to Curtis Brown Ltd. for permission to reprint excerpts from
John Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography
by Samuel Eliot Morison. Copyright © 1959 by Samuel Eliot Morison. Copyright renewed by Emily Morison Beck. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company and Curtis Brown Ltd

Ballantine and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 88–92862

eISBN: 978-0-307-79857-2

This edition published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc


To my grandchildren, Jennifer, Nell, Oliver and Jordan, lights of the new generation


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1. Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney at forty-two, by Joshua Reynolds, 1761 (Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London)

2. St. Eustatius (Courtesy of Algemeen Rijks Archief)

3. Southeast view of New York Harbor (Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society, New York)

4. Sir Joseph Yorke, by Perroneau (Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London)

5. Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse at Yorktown (Courtesy of the New York Public Library—Prints Division)

6. Action between the
Bonhomme Richard
(Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum, London)

7. The Battle of Cowpens, by Frederick Kemmelmeyer (Courtesy of The Yale University Gallery, Mabel Garvan Collection)

8. Sir Henry Clinton, 1787 (Courtesy of the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana)

9. General Count de Rochambeau, by Charles Willson Peale (Courtesy of Independence Hall)

10. “America Triumphant and Britannia in Distress” (Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg, H. Dunscombe Colt Collection, photograph by Delmore Wenzel)

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like to acknowledge with thanks those persons and institutions who helped me to locate sources in an unfamiliar field and otherwise assisted in the production of this book.

First, to my husband, Lester Tuchman, whose dependable presence and aid in support of failing eyesight is the rock on which this house is built.

H. E. Richard H. Fein, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, who gave the initial impetus by an invitation to address the Commemoration in 1985 of the fortieth anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

Dr. Fred de Bruin of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Special thanks to my daughter Alma Tuchman for persistence in untangling confusions, detecting errors and setting things straight, and additional thanks to my granddaughter Jennifer Eisenberg for help in the preparation of the reference notes.

A. B. C. Whipple of Greenwich, Connecticut, author of
Fighting Sail
, for clarification in the language and understanding of naval matters.

Dawnita Bryson, my secretary and typist, for devoted work through a difficult maze.

Han Jordaan of The Hague for records of Johannes de Graaff in the Archive of the West India Company.

G. W. Van der Meiden, Keeper of the First Section, Netherlands Rijks Archive.

Colonel Trevor Dupuy for guidance in the military history of the American Revolution.

Professor Simon Schama of Harvard University on questions of Dutch history.

Professor Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, for supplying the quotation from Hakluyt on naval education (
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Galen Wilson, Manuscript Curator of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, for records of Sir Henry Clinton.

Dr. Marie Devine, Joan Sussler, Catherine Justin and Anna Malicka, librarians of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, whose acquaintance with and instant recall of the contents of their collection is stunning.

Mark Piel, Director of the New York Society Library, and his staff for their kind assistance in many ways.

Rodney Phillips, Elizabeth Diefendorf and Joyce Djurdjevich of the New York Public Library for bibliographical help and guidance in the reference division. Bridie Race, secretary to the corporation, who pulls all wires with charm and efficiency.

BOOK: First Salute
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