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History faculty member publishes book on American Revolution

Photo of book cover

Book cover

Photo of Donald Johnson

Donald Johnson

Donald Johnson, assistant professor of history, recently published a book titled "Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of Revolution." The book was published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

In the 304-page book, Johnson investigates how military occupation shaped the lives of people during the American Revolution. He examines day-to-day life in port cities held by the British Army. Johnson recounts how people were impacted by harsh conditions, threats to their families and livelihoods, took advantage of new opportunities and were balanced between revolutionary and royal attempts to secure their allegiance.

“I hope that readers will take away a new perspective on the event; that for many people, the Revolution was not just about ideals of freedom and new systems of government, but also about day-to-day survival during a violent conflict,” Johnson said. “Those experiences shaped the outcome of the Revolution just as much as high-minded ideology. The experiences of those living under military occupation reveals that the British army lost not only, or even primarily, on the battlefield but also in the hearts and minds of those who they hoped to rule.”

Johnson joined the NDSU faculty in 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, master’s degrees from the University of Delaware and Northwestern University and his doctorate in history at Northwestern University.

His previous work has appeared in The Journal of American History, The Journal of Commonwealth and Imperial History and The William and Mary Quarterly, among other venues, and he has received research grants from more than a dozen libraries and archives, including most recently the American Philosophical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia and the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.

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