This controversial and revisionist history of America's War of Independence accompanies the four-part BBC TV series - written and presented by star military historian Richard Holmes.
This is the story of America's first civil war - the vicious struggle between brothers, friends and families which forged a new nation. Using the latest scholarship, vivid eye-witness accounts and original documents, this book tells the history of the passionate, violent and bloody events of the 1770s.
The book argues against the commonly held view that the War of Independence was the American people's struggle for liberty against an oppressive colonial power. The truth is far more fascinating. Many Americans were loyal to the Crown throughout the war.
Men and women often chose sides not because they wanted freedom, but because they wanted their neighbour's land. This book explores intriguing paradoxes through personal stories of women such as Jane McCrea, whose fiancé was a British officer but whose brother was a rebel soldier.
There are stories representing every interest group: Redcoats, loyalists, rebels, neutrals, French soldiers, Indian warriors, slaves, landed gentry and sharecropper, touching on issues such as that:
- The real victors of the War of Independence were the French not the Americans;
- The British Army could have continued the land war and intervention by the French Navy was decisive in the British defeat;
- Slave uprisings were supported the British against the rebels, because of their brutal treatment by the colonists;
- Many Native American tribes remained loyal to the British but both loyalists and rebels betrayed the tribes who had supported them;
- When the conflict began very few in Britain or America believed the 13 colonies would gain independence;
- There were many mutinies in the rebel army including one in New Jersey which had to be put down by a large force sent by General Washington.