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The Men Who Lost America
 
 

The Men Who Lost America [Kindle Edition]

Andrew O'Shaughnessy
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Review

"Splendid - turns everything you ever thought you knew about why the British lost the Revolutionary War on its head." Andrew Roberts, broadcaster and author of The Storm of War "Andrew O'Shaughnessy's pen portraits are the historical equivalent of Reynolds' or Gainsborough's work. Deeply researched and carefully executed, they give new insight into the pre-eminent figures of the age" Mark Urban, broadcaster and author of Fusiliers "Enormously enjoyable" Sir Michael Howard, OM, CH, CBE, Emeritus Regius Professor of History, University of Oxford "This is the book that serious historians have long lacked... a major contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution." Jack Rakove, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Revolutionaries "Wonderfully balanced... shows that these men fought courageously in what turned out to be an impossible mission." T.H. Breen, author of American Insurgents, American Patriots "Skilfully crafted. Anyone interested in the American Revolution and its war should read this." Stephen Conway, UCL, author of The British Isles and the War of American Independence "Richly detailed, deeply researched... brings [the British leaders] back to life as eminently capable men fighting an ultimately unwinnable conflict." David Armitage, Harvard University "A highly-effective account of the role of leadership at a key moment in world history." Jeremy Black, author of Britain in the Eighteenth Century "There is no book quite like this... Crisp, sensitive... compelling... A must-read..." Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University, author of Liberty's Exiles "At last, Andrew O'Shaughnessy has done justice to [the British leaders'] abilities and efforts, while not neglecting their weaknesses and mistakes." Harry T. Dickinson, Edinburgh University "Page-turning... gets past the stereotype of an imperial government intent on suppressing its colonies and offers instead a long-overdue mature account of a war Britain almost won." Julie Flavell, author of When London Was Capital of America "Andrew O'Shaughnessy has written a remarkable book about an important but curiously underappreciated subject: the British side of the American Revolution. With meticulous scholarship and an eloquent writing style, O'Shaughnessy gives us a fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book. --Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

‘A fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book.’ Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion ‘Reveals the talents as well as the human foibles of a rich cast of intriguing characters. O’Shaughnessy gives the American revolutionaries exactly what their story has so long needed: worthy adversaries who fought hard and well.’ Alan Taylor, Bancroft and Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of The Civil War of 1812

<span class="msg-body-text-reply" id="caseCorrespondence_16560377986_text">“Splendid… turns everything you ever thought you knew about why the British lost the Revolutionary War on its head.”
Andrew Roberts, broadcaster and author of The Storm of War

“Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s pen portraits are the historical equivalent of Reynolds’ or Gainsborough’s work. Deeply researched and carefully executed, they give new insight into the pre-eminent figures of the age”
Mark Urban, broadcaster and author of Fusiliers

“Enormously enjoyable”
Sir Michael Howard, OM, CH, CBE, Emeritus Regius Professor of History, University of Oxford

“This is the book that serious historians have long lacked... a major contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution.”
Jack Rakove, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Revolutionaries

“Wonderfully balanced... shows that these men fought courageously in what turned out to be an impossible mission.”
T.H. Breen, author of American Insurgents, American Patriots

“Skilfully crafted. Anyone interested in the American Revolution and its war should read this.”
Stephen Conway, UCL, author of The British Isles and the War of American Independence

“Richly detailed, deeply researched... brings [the British leaders] back to life as eminently capable men fighting an ultimately unwinnable conflict.”
David Armitage, Harvard University

“A highly-effective account of the role of leadership at a key moment in world history.”
Jeremy Black, author of Britain in the Eighteenth Century

“There is no book quite like this... Crisp, sensitive... compelling... A must-read...”
Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University, author of Liberty’s Exiles

“At last, Andrew O’Shaughnessy has done justice to [the British leaders’] abilities and efforts, while not neglecting their weaknesses and mistakes.”
Harry T. Dickinson, Edinburgh University

“Page-turning... gets past the stereotype of an imperial government intent on suppressing its colonies and offers instead a long-overdue mature account of a war Britain almost won.”
Julie Flavell, author of When London Was Capital of America

“Andrew O'Shaughnessy has written a remarkable book about an important but curiously underappreciated subject: the British side of the American Revolution. With meticulous scholarship and an eloquent writing style, O'Shaughnessy gives us a fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book. --Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

Review

‘A fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book.’ Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion ‘Reveals the talents as well as the human foibles of a rich cast of intriguing characters. O’Shaughnessy gives the American revolutionaries exactly what their story has so long needed: worthy adversaries who fought hard and well.’ Alan Taylor, Bancroft and Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of The Civil War of 1812

“Splendid… turns everything you ever thought you knew about why the British lost the Revolutionary War on its head.”
Andrew Roberts, broadcaster and author of The Storm of War

“Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s pen portraits are the historical equivalent of Reynolds’ or Gainsborough’s work. Deeply researched and carefully executed, they give new insight into the pre-eminent figures of the age”
Mark Urban, broadcaster and author of Fusiliers

“Enormously enjoyable”
Sir Michael Howard, OM, CH, CBE, Emeritus Regius Professor of History, University of Oxford

“This is the book that serious historians have long lacked... a major contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution.”
Jack Rakove, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Revolutionaries

“Wonderfully balanced... shows that these men fought courageously in what turned out to be an impossible mission.”
T.H. Breen, author of American Insurgents, American Patriots

“Skilfully crafted. Anyone interested in the American Revolution and its war should read this.”
Stephen Conway, UCL, author of The British Isles and the War of American Independence

“Richly detailed, deeply researched... brings [the British leaders] back to life as eminently capable men fighting an ultimately unwinnable conflict.”
David Armitage, Harvard University

“A highly-effective account of the role of leadership at a key moment in world history.”
Jeremy Black, author of Britain in the Eighteenth Century

“There is no book quite like this... Crisp, sensitive... compelling... A must-read...”
Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University, author of Liberty’s Exiles

“At last, Andrew O’Shaughnessy has done justice to [the British leaders’] abilities and efforts, while not neglecting their weaknesses and mistakes.”
Harry T. Dickinson, Edinburgh University

“Page-turning... gets past the stereotype of an imperial government intent on suppressing its colonies and offers instead a long-overdue mature account of a war Britain almost won.”
Julie Flavell, author of When London Was Capital of America

“Andrew O'Shaughnessy has written a remarkable book about an important but curiously underappreciated subject: the British side of the American Revolution. With meticulous scholarship and an eloquent writing style, O'Shaughnessy gives us a fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book.”
Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2049 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DQAEU2U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,301 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They lost, but not the way we think. 8 July 2013
Format:Hardcover
It is often difficult to find books on the AWI from a British perspective. As you would expect for a history that is now largely unknown in the UK, not taught in schools and barely appreciated by the majority of the population. It is often difficult to find anything outside the norm of American historical studies, that for all their relevance to American history see the conflict in isolation rather than the context of the European and world conflict that the British government had to consider it from. Andrew O'shaughnessy a British academic in Virginia (beautiful place if you ever get the chance to visit), has written a potted biography of the ten most important British protagonists; politicians, soldiers and naval officers. It gives a view of their actions that does not disguise the in-fighting, destructive politicing and sometimes vainglorious adventurism that characterised this war, but neither does it denigrate them as people or their military exploits, both successful and disastrous.

The key American figures are little more than ciphers in this narrative and although the context of the seven years war which was so formative, is alluded to it is not covered in any detail. Nevertheless this a brilliant piece of historical research and writing. The battles in parliament often being from my pespective more riveting than those on the battlefield. The petty and professional jealousies between Cornwallis and Clinton, Carleton and Burgoyne, the Howe Brothers and the quite extraordinary Admiral Rodney, make for an education in late 18th century politics, military fortitude and chaos that nowadays would be regarded as close to professional anarchy.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'These are the times that try men's souls.' 28 Jun 2013
By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
'Your failure is, I am persuaded, as certain as fate. America is above your reach...her independence neither rests upon your consent, nor can it be prevented by your arms. In short, you spend your substance in vain, and impoverish yourself without hope.'

Thomas Paine, "To the People of England," 1774

In this scholarly but very accessible book, O'Shaughnessy takes the view that Britain's loss was not inevitable, and that in most cases the commanders and political leaders were scapegoated for the failure. He does this by taking a biographical look at the main players, political and military, on the British side; and showing the constraints that contributed to their defeat. As a non-historian, I make my usual disclaimer that I can't comment on the historical accuracy of the book.

I always enjoy biographical history and so the format of this book was perfect for me. Each section concentrates on one person (except for the Howe brothers, when O'Shaughnessy combines their stories). O'Shaughnessy tops and tails each biography with brief summaries of the person's life and career before and after the war, but the bulk of each section concentrates on the involvement in the war itself. In each case, he explains the reasons behind any successes or failures and, as the book progresses, common themes emerge.

The British system of government at the time led to divided responsibilities and thus to in-fighting between ambitious men. George III still had more power than a modern monarch would, especially in terms of patronage, and therefore interfered in the management of the war. The opposition was powerful and the government could never be sure of parliamentary support. There were budgetary constraints since Britain already had a high national debt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for all us amateur historians 2 Nov 2013
By barnton
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After I bought the kindle version of this book i had doubts about it particularly when I realised it was written by an American - but all doubts went when I started to read it. Well written, well constructed and easily read - some prior knowledge of that part of history was handy but not essential. The author has managed to avoid taking sides and doesn't make the mistakes evident in Mel Gibson's film a few years ago.
As often with modern history books it drags a little towards the end - almost as though a certain number of words were required by the publisher - but stll a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking view on the Revolution 27 Dec 2013
By Yank29
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone who grew up 20 miles from the Saratoga and Bennington battlefields, this book was a thought-provoking view of the "other" side of the story. As such, the first chapter I read was the one on Burgoyne! However, what really interested me was the description of the war in the South. I don't think enough emphasis is placed on this in US histories, even though Washington and Jefferson were both Virginians.
As other reviewers have noted, it's helpful to have some knowledge of the period, particularly regarding the growth of the British Empire and the concurrent political and economic rivalry with France.
In sum, a really well-written book about a fascinating period of history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is a series of essays on the key people whose decisions could be said to have lost the American colonies - King George III, General Corwallis, Pitt the Elder, Lord North etc. It is very well written and fairly readable but as a book for the non-academic it has some serious disadvantages.

Firstly, the author assumes that the reader already has a fairly good knowledge of the American War of Independence. This book does not contain such a history. I felt rather lost without one. When the author refers to events, it is difficult to appreciate their significance, their place in the story. The book contains 8 maps, but these are disappointingly bare sketches and not very detailed.

Secondly, the collection of essays does not form a continuous narrative. The essays look at mostly the same events from different perspectives, but they do not compare and contrast. They could (probably) stand alone.

Thirdly, each essay itself does not follow a continuous historical narrative but instead critically reconsiders the arguments for and against the culpability of each of the protagonists. The similar structure and purpose of each chapter becomes a little repetitive.

The book is too obviously academic. I cannot help thinking that it would be far more popular (ie more readable) if the content were re-cast into a single historical narrative.

Having made these criticisms, I have to say that the book is nevertheless wonderfully informative and packed with historical detail. The descriptions of battles and campaigns are tantalizing. The reality of the war is shown to be far more complex than the conventional view of it as the idealistic struggle of a fledgling republic for freedom from imperial despotism.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book if occasionally repetitive
Published 9 days ago by A.Pierce-Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful history - no previous experience required
Other than a broad-brush knowledge of the events, not really a period I have read much about but heard O'Shaughnessy won numerous awards so decided to try it out and was delighted... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Callaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable with a new perspective on this complex saga of colonial...
The political background in Britain to the problems in the American Colonies is very well-described and evocative. Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. D. Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars good read highly recommended.
A very enjoyable read full of interesting information and it keeps you on the edge of your seat love it.
Published 10 months ago by gerald lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent professional work
A brilliant new perspective on this conflict. Should be read by all historians studying this war. Even George 111 is revealed as an intelligent ruler
Published 10 months ago by Mr. G.Draper
5.0 out of 5 stars REVELATORY BOOK.
A great intelligent read, detailed but not too difficult. Unusual view of the American revolutionary war but thankfully unbiased. Read more
Published 11 months ago by M P Crouch
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing?
My over-riding feeling about this book is one of disappointment. It didn't hook me. Realistically, it is a series of biographical essays, some of which are more interesting than... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Gruber
5.0 out of 5 stars History's Tragedy.
Shows how Britain's entanglement with European wars led to American Independence. Without the revolt of the colonist oligarchs America would now be as civilised as Canada.
Published 13 months ago by Tony Heyes
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