John Stark
Maverick General

A Foreword Magazine Finalist for Best Biography

Author Ben Z. Rose brings to life the legendary hero of the New England Militia during America’s War of Independence. Born in Colonial New Hampshire to Scotch Irish immigrants, John Stark survived Indian captivity, and later fought alongside the British in the French and Indian War as part of Rogers Rangers, the legendary militia company which pioneered the tactics of today’s U.S. Army Special Forces. Stark’s first-hand exposure to second class citizenship in the British army fueled his desire to enlist in the Continental army and prevent a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Later, his surprise attack against British hired mercenaries at the Battle of Bennington turned the tide in favor of the young American army.

Ben Z. Rose focuses on a handful of people in John Stark’s life in an effort to gain insight into his motivation and character. These include his wife, Elizabeth “Molly” Stark, who hailed from a prominent Puritan family; his oldest son, Caleb, who enlisted in the Continental Army at the age of 15; Robert Rogers, founder of the colonial ranger force that bears his name; Seth Warner, captain of the Green Mountain Boys who fought for Vermont’s independence; fellow New Hampshire General John Sullivan, and General Horatio Gates, who rivaled George Washington for leadership of the Continental Army.

John Stark inspired the phrase “Live Free or Die—Death is not the greatest of evils” in a letter to the citizens of Vermont. Stark’s sentiment at the time was clearly intended to warn against another British invasion, which occurred a short time later when the British burned down the US Congress during the War of 1812. As we live in an age when the pendulum swings between concerns over government intrusion into our lives and the necessity to confront our overseas enemies, Stark speaks to us today with the same relevance as he did more than two-hundred years ago.

Editorial Reviews

A fascinating, in-depth portrait of a military genius who shares responsibility with George Washington and the Founding Fathers for the birth of America. “–Midwest Book Review

 “An earnest history buff and a smooth writer, Rose has done extensive research in all the right places to produce a readable fabric that brings to life the personality of this modest but courageous early-American original who emerged from the wilderness.” –Tyler Resch, Librarian of the Bennington Museum

“By far the most readable biography of John Stark…the writing is direct and to the point.”— New Hampshire Union Leader

“the book is a great short biography on General John Stark; Rose is to be commended for helping to bring him out of obscurity.”Curled Up with a Good Book

“Ben Z. Rose does a masterful job…with his fine writing and thorough research…”New Hampshire Magazine

“Rose’s book is clearly-written and moves quickly…”Concord Monitor

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Ben Z. Rose for bringing this hero of the Revolution back to life. This is a well-researched, important story of a memorable life.”

- Terry Golway, Author, Washington’s General: Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution

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