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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the serious student of the period
This is not a book that you will read in one go. Reason for this is, that we are not dealing with events but with a 700-page analysis of events that the reader is considered to be already fairly familiar with. Since these events concern the ever-shifting alliances from 1700 to 1783 between France, Russia, Austria, England, Hanover and the many other German principalities...
Published on 9 Dec 2009 by Eric Schallenberg

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A thesis, not a story
The period covered by this book is one of the most formative in British history, but also one that is relatively ignored by history publishers at present, so I began reading with great hopes. Unfortunately, the author overcame all the potential of his material to make it unerringly slow and repetitive. The best writers make history read like a story, but Simms is no...
Published on 12 Oct 2010 by Robert Poll


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the serious student of the period, 9 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 (Paperback)
This is not a book that you will read in one go. Reason for this is, that we are not dealing with events but with a 700-page analysis of events that the reader is considered to be already fairly familiar with. Since these events concern the ever-shifting alliances from 1700 to 1783 between France, Russia, Austria, England, Hanover and the many other German principalities plus the different approaches to them by the Georges, the Whigs and Tories respectively, you can understand that without a basic knowledge knowledge of 18th century European history this book will give you a hard time. The "defeat" (the loss of the American colonies) is again, an analysis of the reason for British taxes and American complaints and how shifting alliances influenced the actions of other countries vis-a-vis this conflict, not a description of the liberation war itself.

Although mr. Simms has taken a lot of trouble to keep this book as accessible as possible for a more general readership, I consider this book mainly of interest to the serious students of this period. This group of readers will find solid and thought-provoking analysis, well written.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A thesis, not a story, 12 Oct 2010
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Robert Poll (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 (Paperback)
The period covered by this book is one of the most formative in British history, but also one that is relatively ignored by history publishers at present, so I began reading with great hopes. Unfortunately, the author overcame all the potential of his material to make it unerringly slow and repetitive. The best writers make history read like a story, but Simms is no story-teller, and the resulting style is more akin to a university thesis. Rather than identifying the best quotation to succinctly make a point before moving on, he seems desperate to show the full extent of his comprehensive research. So we find quotation after quotation making essentially the same point. True, the number of primary sources that concur with the point does add further support to it, but the point is taken after a couple.

Indeed, Simms' tone is consistently argumentative, as if he feels the need to persuade his reader. So, like a student essay defending its stance, quite basic points - such as that Britain's foreign policy was initially more Eurocentric than Atlanticist - are reiterated ad nauseam, with many such paragraphs then concluding with the phrase "In summary" in order to then make the point again! As such, some of the initially interesting political rivalries are focused on to such an extent that they soon become an obstacle to the flow of the story itself, and progress is far too slow to be engaging. Other irritating idiosyncrasies include the cliched Irish colloquialism 'to be sure', used dozens of times throughout, but it's the repetitiveness of the arguments which really kill this book and stop it being the page-turner it deserves to be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant Today, 16 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 (Paperback)
This book should be required reading for anyone who wants an informed opinion over the subject of the UK's role in Europe- what is clear here is that the question "what is the UK's destiny- European or Atlantic?" is an old question that has been re-occuring throughout political discourse for hundreds of years.

The author illustrates that the UK has always performed strongly and achieved her greatest successes by working within the European system, rather than isolating herself from it. Brendan Simms scope, research and prose makes this book riveting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brillant book, 6 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 (Paperback)
I found it to be very good ,Brendan Simms has an excellent style and it very readable. i now understand that Britain is for ever linked to Europe
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written and very informative, 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783 (Paperback)
This book covers a great period of British history and really focuses on British foreign policy of whether to be active in Europe or concentrate on the navy and the colonies. well written with lots of first hand quotes and sayings from politicians this is a very scholarly book and not just history for the unintelligent masses. It actually examines and argues about decisions made. So if your interested in British colonial and European history and parts of history that seem to be forgotten these days such as the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years Wars then this is for you!
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