The Revolutionary War was not a polite conflict between orderly troops and gentlemanly officers. Civilians on the home front suffered considerably. This account depicts the ugly side of the War for Independence, where roving bands of robbers, known as banditti, plagued the countryside in areas not fully under the control of either army. Regardless of their political sympathies, American civilians lived in terror of these well-armed gangs of looters, who frequently engaged in torture, arson, and murder. The players in this sordid tale, chiefly motivated by greed, chose their victims indiscriminately and then returned to sanctuary. Many civilians fled their homes, leaving large sections of New York, Georgia, and the Carolinas as no-man's-land, where near anarchy and the complete disruption of civilian justice only abetted the success of the marauders. Ward details the activities of the most prominent banditti and looks at the horrors and devastation of their actions. His account challenges readers to look beyond the set-piece battles and even past the guerrilla activities, to examine what life was like for those caught between the lines.