Joseph Plumb Martin fought as an ordinary foot soldier under George Washington in most of the important battles of the American Revolution from Long Island to Yorktown. His memoirs present a rare grunts-eye-view of the war, a vital primary source for historians of the War of Independence. Yet Dr. Peter Manos sees even richer revelations in Martin’s narrative than as a supplement to blow-by-blow descriptions of battles. Martin’s narrative reveals nothing less than an ordinary American’s view of the shift from authoritarian monarchy to that of the first democratic republic in the modern world, a grass roots record of the genesis of the American character: its populism, anti-intellectualism, and even racism. Manos’s ground-breaking work culminates in a play in which Martin speaks for himself and therefore speaks for America as a whole. It is an essential addition to any study of the growth of democracy and popular sovereignty in the world.