The Preface explains: "This little book does not contain the substance of the lectures on the American Revolution which I have delivered in so many parts of the United States since 1883. Those lectures, when completed and published, will make quite a detailed narrative; this book is but a sketch. It is hoped that it may prove useful to the higher classes in schools, as well as to teachers. When I was a boy I should have been glad to get hold of a brief account of the War for Independence that would have suggested answers to some of the questions that used to vex me. According to Wikipedia: "John Fiske (March 30, 1842 – July 4, 1901) was an American philosopher and historian."