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Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891 (Fortress) [Paperback]

Ron Field
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Oct 2011 Fortress (Book 105)
"Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891: California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska".

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Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891 (Fortress) + Forts of the American Frontier 1820-91: The Southern Plains and Southwest (Fortress)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (20 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849083150
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849083157
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 18.3 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 863,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ron Field was born in Hertford, England in 1943 and was educated in Cheltenham, where he gained a Bachelor of Education (Hons) degree. He was Head of History at The Cotswold School at Bourton-on-the-Water until his retirement in 2007. Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982, he taught History at Piedmont High School in California from 1982-83. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain from 1983 through 1992, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, based in Washington, D.C., in 2005. In 2010 he was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, The John Hay Library, Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also a contributing editor of Military Images, a magazine devoted to the photographic history of the U.S. soldier and sailor in the 19th century. A prolific author, Ron is an internationally acknowledged expert on U.S. military history.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely interesting volume 14 Dec 2011
By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Contents are -
P04: Introduction
P08: Chronology
P09: Development of the Forts
.Native American fortifications; Trade and supply forts
P15: Types of Military Fort
.Adobe-and-stone forts and structures; Wooden military forts and structures; Stone-and-brick forts; Parade-ground forts
P35: The Principal Elements of Defence
.Blockhouses-and-bastions; earthworks, ditches and moats
P43: Life in the Forts
.Trade forts; Military posts
P47: The Forts at War
.Alaska; Alta California; Early frontier wars; The Civil War period; later frontier wars
P56: The Fate of the Forts
P58: The Forts Today
P62: Bibliography
P63: Glossary
P64: Index

The Colour Plates -
P05: Map - The major forts, camps and blockhouses on the West Coast, 1776-1891.
A: Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory, c.1846. Built in 1829 by the Hudson's Bay Company, this is a substantial development of over 20 buildings enclosed in a 15' stockade.
B: Presidio of San Francisco, c.1792. This is still in Spanish territory in 1792, and shows a three-sided compound of adobe buildings; the fourth side was in place by 1816, according to an accompanying illustration on the next page.
C: Fort Clatsop, Oregon Territory, 1805. This is a wooden structure with buildings forming three sides and a stockade forming the fourth wall. This is a traditional `Hollywood' frontier fort!
D: Fort Paul, California, c.1861-65. This is a casemated brick and stone fortification - the only one on the Pacific Coast, we are informed - constructed by the US Corps of Engineers between 1853 and 1861, to mount 126 cannon, and protect San Francisco Bay from intruders.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too far west. 6 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A pretty decent book but for me not enough about the plains.
It's hard to tell from the discripton but it is about forts on the west coast.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Michael, not Gabriel!! 7 Nov 2011
By Alexander Zorin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This Osprey title is like most Osprey books and like all the books in the Fortress series, well illustrated, but text this new book has some mistakes. Mr. Field is the author of several interesting and informative books of Osprey on the American frontier forts. Unfortunately, Mr. Field, almost unaware of Russian America and the Russian forts in Alaska.
At p.4. the author argues that "by the 1770s the Russian Fur Company chartered by the tsarist government to control all exploration". However, this company did not exist at all, the Russian American Company was created only in 1799.
Mr. Field here writes that "In 1799 company manager Alexander Baranov established fortified trade factory called Fort Archangel Gabriel in Sitka Bay, Alaska."
In fact, the settlement was called "the fortress of St. Michael the Archangel" or Michael's fortress. The name "Fort Archangel Gabriel," which always occurs in the text and on maps, in Russian America never was.
On the maps, the green triangles indicate the trade forts, mistakenly placed fortresses of the Tlingit Indians (Brown Bear Fort, Sapling Fort, Grouse Fort). But they never were trading posts. They were the refuge during the war.
On p.10 wrongly described to strengthen the fort Archangel Michael. In the fortress of St. Michael's never had 32 guns. Such a large number of artillery was not in the whole of Russian America. In addition, the fortress had no stockade, and only from one side have chevaux-de-frise.
St. Michael's fortress was captured and burned by the Tlingit is not in May 1802, as stated in the text on p. 47, but on June 16 (28) 1802.
In the battle on the Russian side, and Aleuts was not killed and wounded 26 men, as stated on p.48. In fact, in the battle killed 10 men (3 sailors, 3 Russian hunters and 4 Kodiak Eskimos) and wounded was 27 (9 Russian hunters, 6 Kodiak Eskimos and 12 sailors).
Fortress New Archangel was not surrounded by a stockade with a blockhouse at the corners.
Baranov was not awarded the "Gold Medal of the Order of St. Vladimir," but had the Order of St. Anne, 2nd degree, which is shown on a reducible author portrait by artist Tikhanov. And he received it not in 1803, as alleged in the text, but in 1807. In 1803, Baranov was granted the rank of the collegiate counselor.
Apparently, the only source of information the author about of Russian America was referred to them in the bibliography of the article «Overland Monthly», full of errors. This contrasts sharply with professionally written sections of the American military forts, and even the Russian Fort Ross in California (details about the author, probably due to the museum staff).
Unfortunately, Mr. Field has not used even widely known and published material about the Russian forts in Alaska (Konstantin Fort, St. Michael's Redoubt, Redoubt St. Dionysius). Although preserved their plans and sketches of the appearance. It seems he is not even aware of their existence.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great art, good information 4 Dec 2013
By Lee Peterman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good information. I like that the author compared the various fortifications around the Golden Gate passage -- Spanish to American eras.
3.0 out of 5 stars American forts of the far west... 21 Feb 2013
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891" is an Osprey Fortress Series entry highlighting a selection of the improvised and finished fortifications built in California, Oregon, Washingtona and Alaska during the period.

The narrative by author Ron Field begins with a chronology and a brief nod toward native American forts before tackling the subject of the various defensive works built by Europeans and Americans in the region. Examples for the early colonial period cite the use of available local materials; more finished standard military fortifications make their appearence later in the narrative, usually after the arrivel of regular U.S. Army troops. Fort Clatsop, built by the Lewis and Clark Expedition during their winter stay in Oregon gets some deserved attention, as does Fort Point in San Francisco, perhaps the most extensive of the forts in the text. Also of note are the numbers of Civil War leaders who served in the Far West prior to that conflict, such as George Pickett and Phil Sheridan. Coverage for Alaska is frankly rather sketchy, and doesn't do really justice to the efforts by native Alaskans, the Russians, or the later-arriving Americans. The text is supplemented by some nice maps, period illustrations, photographs, and modern reconstructions.

"Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891" is recommended to fans of the study of frontier fortifications.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Received as a gift 10 Aug 2013
By K.Stanford - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
History buffs, this is a good one for you. Lots of wonderful information. You will be happy to add this to your personal library.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Major errors in the books maps 15 Sep 2012
By Kurt R. Nelson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I examined the book's maps, I was struck by the numerous serious errors. Some examples: Fort Astoria/Fort George is shown on the north side of the Columbia River, not the south. Fort Nez Perce (HBC) is shown near the USA Fort Walla Walla instead on on the Columbia River, Fort Henrietta is shown near Walla Walla instead of in Oregon (near Echo, OR), Fort Boise and Fort Hall aren't even shown, and the list goes on.

A much better book on the topic is Competitive Struggle: America's Western Fur Trading Posts, 1764-1865 although it does not detail all of the military forts. Robert Frazer's book Forts of the West: Military Forts and Presidios and Posts Commonly Called Forts West of the Mississippi River to 1898is far more accurate. Utley's two books at least displays the location of the forts accurately.Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866-1891Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army and the Indian, 1848-1865.

The text doesn't really supply anything new, particularly with so many other, better books available. Money better spent elsewhere for those interested in the history of military forts of the American Frontier.
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