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The Year of the Hangman

John S. Pancake

Narrated by Robert Thaler

Approximately 13.5 hours


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by University of Alabama Press

Anyone who has read the history of the War of Independence fail to be fascinated by the campaign of Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. The story evokes pictures in the mind's eye: scarlet-coated Englishmen; the green and blue uniforms of the German mercenaries; the flash of brass and silver and steel accoutrements; the swarms of Indians in their war paint; the whole moving through the green forests or sailing the blue waters of lakes and rivers. Even the names have a lyrical tone: Richelieu, Champlain, Oriskany, Ticonderoga, and La Chine. Not the least part of the fascination is the fact that the fate of the expedition marked a turning point in the history of the war. No scholar since Hoffman Nickerson in his Turning Point of the Revolution (1926) has attempted a detailed study of the British invasion from Canada.

John S. Pancake (1920-1986) was a native of Virginia, Professor of History at The University of Alabama, and author of studies on Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.


“A revisionist view of the Revolution’s most crucial year… it explodes many of the myths surrounding Burgoyne’s Canadian expedition and Howe’s Pennsylvania campaign. There is a wealth of fascinating detail in this book, including information on arms and supplies, rations for women camp followers, and even the numbers of carts (30-odd) carrying Burgoyne’s luggage.”

History Book Club Newsletter

“Smooth and easy reading, enlivened by anecdotes (with which the author has a sure touch) and based on extensive research.”

Journal of American History

“Pancake is nicely balanced in his judgments, writes with grace and wit, and has a thorough knowledge of secondary sources and published documents.”


“A timely addition to the literature of the War of Independence, useful both to scholars and to general readers.”

American Historical Review

“A welcome addition to the literature on the American War for Independence.”

Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine

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University Press Audiobooks