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The American War of Independence 1774-1783 (Essential Histories) [Paperback]

Daniel Marston
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Nov 2002 Essential Histories (Book 45)
The American War of Independence has been characterized as a revolution, both politically and in terms of the fighting methods employed by the insurgent colonist - the freewheeling colonial upstarts against the rigid British military establishment. Daniel Marston argues that this belief, though widespread, is a misconception and that the American War of Independence was, in reality, a war between two groups of British veterans of the Seven Years' War who had previously fought as allies. The subsequent peace treaty in 1783 marked the formal beginning of the United States of America as an independent political entity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (14 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841763438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841763439
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"I am most favorably impressed by the Essential Histories series on the American Civil War. Written by four of the best historians of the military course of the war, these volumes provide a lucid and concise narrative of the campaigns in both the Eastern and Western theaters as well as penetrating analyses of strategies and leadership. Ideal for classroom use or fireside reading."

About the Author

Daniel Marston completed both his BA and MA in History at McGill University, Montreal, Canada and his DPhil in the History of War at Balliol College, Oxford. His book 'The Seven Years' War, also in the Osprey Essential Histories series, was published in 2001. Daniel was born and raised in Boston, MA and now lives in Dorchester, MA

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The end of the Seven Years' War in North America sparked a dispute that would eventually lead to a rebellion among the Thirteen Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good basis. 25 May 2007
I purchased this book as part of a special edition volume alongside two other books in this series; 'The French and Indian War' and 'The War of 1812'.

I find the Essential Histories series generally to be very readable, presenting a balanced and even-handed account of events, and this is no different. However, my only criticism is that they tend to be short and don't go into extensive detail, instead forming a general narrative of causes, events and the aftermath.

Consequently, I would recommend this book as a basis for further reading on the subject to give the reader an initially grasp of the conflict, but not to anyone knowledgeable on the period.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts it straight for once and all! 18 Jun 2005
By A Customer
At last, a book that scrapes away all the patriotic, American propaganda and rhetoric surrounding this conflict for the last two-hundred years and produces an unbiased, accurate, even-handed and honest version of events for the first time.

The American War has deliberately been distorted ever since it was fought by American historians eager to promote their 'creation myth' in the style they're have liked it to have happened; namely righteous, noble, American heroes battling evil, dastardly, incompetent British redcoats. But this isn't the reality.

This book is a detailed overview of the whole of the American War that manages to resist the modern American failing of lapsing into self-indulgent, patriotic wallowing and just tells us what happened, when, where and why.

Most American writers would have you believe that the British were military inept buffoons during this war, but that isn't the truth, just patriotic boasting to divert attention away from their defeats.
Also, the idea that the American Rebels won the war by sniping at the dumb, inept British redcoats from behind trees with accurate rifles is false. In fact, both sides used riflemen, but mostly smooth-bore muskets.

George Washington is correctly exposed as a mediocre general who lost two-thirds of the battles he fought against the British and spent most of the war on the defensive. Of the battles he won, he had a large numerical advantage over the enemy in each. Washington certainly wasn't the great military genius his sycophantic admirers would have us all believe today.

Interestingly, the myth about 'British tyranny' provoking the American Colonies to rebel is examined and smashed. In fact, the American Colonies had all the freedoms that the Britons back home did.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A critique to Anglophobic vitriol 28 Aug 2006
By D. Bird
In response to Andrew McDonald's nationalistic, Anglophobic vitriol: I just can't understand what drives Americans to such vile contempt against the very country which provided the pre-conditions to your precious 'republic'. As previous readers have stated, this is an unbiased account of the war, balanced in favour to neither side - as all good introductions to history should be!

As for your pretentious drivel about George Washington being the greatest man of the 18th Century - I really think that's a matter of opinion. Other individuals, namely Thomas Payne, were far more influential in shaping that century. Also, I believe Washington presents a rather pallid front when one considers your point about him exhibiting greater authority and integrity than 'any' British monarch or Prime Minister - may I introduce you to the likes of Edward I, Henry V, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, William Gladstone, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill ... the list is endless. The fact of the matter remains that the war has been distorted into a myth - propaganda. The Continentals committed far greater atrocities against their own people than the British - such as that burning people alive in a church scene in that appalling excuse for a film - 'The Patriot' (anti-Semitism and Anglophobia galore) - such an atrocity was in fact carried out by the Continental Army!

Many historians agree that Washington was not a very astute military tactician or general either - other Continental generals were far more successful in their battles. And for all the democracy and liberty you so gallantly praise; I believe the Founding Fathers considered installing him as a king of all things! Perhaps you should come back and write a proper review once you've done some more reading (from both sides of the argument) and restrain yourself from throwing juvenile insults regarding dentistry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide. 22 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good quick reference guide to the American War of Independance, impartial, and free from the usual skewed US view of history that Mel Gibson would have us all believe. The book does not go into depth, but if you accept it for what it is - a broad-brush overview - it is sufficient to gain a good understanding of the conflict.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars superficial 2 Feb 2008
This is a very big story jammed into a very small book. The author handles the subject reasonably even-handedly; but the whole thing is just too superficial. Most of the required subject headings are there but with the bare minimum of content.
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