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Redcoats and Rebels. The War for America 1770-1781


Redcoats and Rebels. The War for America 1770-1781

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    Available in PDF Format | Redcoats and Rebels. The War for America 1770-1781.pdf | English
    Christopher Hibbert(Author)
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The story of the American revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, is often celebrated as the triumph of heroic American patriots over tyrannical imperialists. Yet, as this gripping and detailed account reveals, it hardly seemed like that to those who lived through it. Many English radicals supported the American cause, while many Americans wanted to remain under British rule. Others kept changing sides, quite happy, as one captain reported, to 'swallow the Oaths of Allegiance to the King and Congress alternately with as much ease as your Lordship does poached Eggs'.Christopher Hibbert has been described as 'perhaps the most gifted popular historian we have' (Times Educational Supplement). Here, drawing largely on British and loyalist sources, many of them hitherto unused by historians, he has created a powerful new narrative of the war that raged the length of the continent. Leading figures like John Adams, Lord North, Thomas Paine and William Pitt are sharply characterised and the politics and personalities of George III's court come to life as we learn not only how George Washington and his colonists won the war, but also how the British lost it. Battles, marches and the horrible realities of warfare are vividly realised: recruitment posters encouraged unemployed young men to 'nick in and enlist', so they might be 'admired by the fair' and 'get switched to a buxom widow'. Yet it was they who bore the brunt of the 'cruel, accursed' war, and it is from their perspective, and in their own words, that Hibbert tells his historic story.

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Book details

  • PDF | 388 pages
  • Christopher Hibbert(Author)
  • Folio Society; 1st Thus edition (2006)
  • English
  • 7
  • History
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Review Text

  • By (((Marco Buendia))) on 3 May 2016

    This book was a bit of a disappointment. The break between Britain and its colonies on the Eastern Seaboard was preeminently a political war, arising from ideas of governance and finance that were current in both countries. It was not about resources, religion or some previous bloody shirt affair that estranged the parties to the point where they wanted to kill each other.I had hoped for a book that would discuss at length and in detail the politics of colonial control etc in Parliament, the actions of Burke & Fox, and on the other side Lord North, Germaine etc, with some reference to Anglo-American politics as well (throughout the English holdings between the Canadas and the West Indies).To some small degree I got this. However, what seemed to me an inordinate part of the book was taken up by the details of military campaigns (of great interest to many, I realize) and the intolerable personalities that most of the British generals displayed. The politics of the Parliament and the awakening people of England were only occasionally discussed, frequently just touched upon. The war became increasingly unpopular in Britain, especially with the intelligentsia, and after Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, even the Government admitted the war was unwinnable. Yet a peace wasn’t negotiated for another couple of years. This bizarre behavior was not much explored, though of course all Americans who are not fools have agonized at the subsequent behaviors of American governments that remind them of this folly.I realize it's foolish to complain about a book not being the book I wanted it to be. However, for those who are looking for a book about Edmund Burke et al, this is not the book.A previous reviewer pointed out that the maps were not very good. Agreed. But of course this is surprisingly common. Particularly troublesome in such a book as this one, though, since recent dictionaries/encyclopedias of American history are so mediocre, and readers are less apt to have an actual historical atlas to hand.

  • By Alan Lenton on 20 March 2008

    This is an interesting book. I know quite a lot about the American Civil War, but relatively little about the American revolution. This book rectified that deficit. It also made it clear that my preconceptions - outmoded Brit generals confounded by American sharpshooters - were somewhat inaccurate.Yes, the British generals were not exactly top quality, but the real problem was the fact that Britain could not find enough troops to fight a war on a continental scale. Add to that the lack of coordination between the armies and you have a recipe for failure.In real terms the British only lost two major battles - Saratoga and Yorktown - in eight years but that was enough to precipitate a crisis at home and bring conciliators to the fore in Britain.Perhaps the war is best summed up by the US commander Nathanael Greene, "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." This is a useful book if you want to find out about the revolution and its social, economic and political setting, as well as the basic military information.

  • By Dave Edmondson on 24 March 2014

    This is compelling reading as it is the genuine history, supported by academic rigour, but written in readable style. I had a particular reason for reading it, namely Col. Banastre Tarleton, but it is likely to be a good read for someone with no special reason for opening it.

  • By Embra Boy on 13 September 2010

    I found this a fascinating and authoritative book and for me, it balanced perfectly the military side of the campaign with the broader political context. I particularly appreciated the vivid, and sometimes acerbic, portraits he painted of all the major players in the conflict. It is written from the British standpoint, but it is pretty forthright about the British blundering and lack of political clarity about their aims.And now to a quibble - a minor one perhaps for many readers but one which had me continually irritated. Hibbert refers to the military forces as British, but the political entity is referred to as England (e.g Chapter 15 - The English Debate). This type of sloppy approach was commonplace 50 years ago but is past its sell by date. Hence, he talks about the volunteer regiments raised after Saratoga - in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the surge of patriotic enthusiasm in England. Perhaps this is because he just doesn't know his British history - on page 103 he talks about a colony of emigrants from the Scottish Highlands, "predisposed to support the King, who by the act of Union of 1707 was their monarch as much as England's". Tsk. The Union of the Crowns was much earlier - in 1603, and 1707 marked the political union of which he seems unaware!

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