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on 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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on 18 June 2005
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. Trouble started when a radical, hard-line group of the American elite came to power and wanted to break away to pursue their own, selfish, agenda.
Only when this demand was refused did the cries about 'British tyranny' begin. But if you're an American Rebel trying to engineer a war and stir up unjustified trouble, what else are you going to say to encourage fellow Americans to join the army and hate the British! British tyranny towards the American Colonies was merely a myth to justify the war.

Also, there were thousands of Americans who didn't support the Rebels and wanted to remain loyal to Britain. Some even supported the British by fighting in the British Army. However, loyalist activity like this is all but erased from the American version of evens, in the same way the French don't want to talk about their collaboration during WWII.
The reality was that the British won most of the battles and captured most of the biggest settlements. The Rebels spent most of the war on the defensive, usually retreating instead of risking pitched battles where possible. The French came in and saved the Rebels by giving them money and military aid!

That's more or less the truth of it, as demonstrated in this book. Of course, modern Americans don't want people to know that, so they assault us with fanciful, Brit-bashing, historically inaccurate, drivel on paper and film such as Mel Gibson's 'The Patriot' instead.

For example, the idea, popular amongst Americans today, that the Rebels won the Battle of Bunker Hill. In fact, as this book convincingly demonstrates, the British actually won the battle but the Americans are too proud to admit it and thus claim victory even today!

This is a great book! Acquire and read at all cost if you want to know about the REAL American War rather than the popular American nonsense that gets pu about.
It really does explode some outrageous myths and puts it straight for once and all...
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on 28 August 2006
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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on 22 April 2014
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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on 12 December 2014
A brief but informative overview of some of the key aspects of the American Revolution - though there is room for far greater depth. A good introduction.
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on 20 September 2014
Great little book just what hubby wanted
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on 17 November 2015
Short E book,well worth reading.
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on 23 July 2014
covers the events well
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on 21 October 2014
School text book lacking any real depth. Very general overview of events but lacking the social political and philosophical context of the times.
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on 2 February 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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