What if the year we have long commemorated as America’s defining moment was in fact misleading? What if the real events that signaled the historic shift from colony to country took place earlier, and that the true story of our nation’s emergence reveals a more complicated - and divisive - birth process?
In this major new work, iconoclastic historian and political chronicler Kevin Phillips upends the conventional reading of the American Revolution by puncturing the myth that 1776 was the struggle’s watershed year. Mythology and omission have elevated 1776, but the most important year, rarely recognized, was 1775: the critical launching point of the war and Britain’s imperial outrage and counterattack and the year during which America’s commitment to revolution took bloody and irreversible shape.
Phillips focuses on the great battlefields and events of 1775 - Congress’ warlike economic ultimatums to king and parliament, New England’s rage militaire, the panicked concentration of British troops in militant but untenable Boston, the stunning expulsion of royal governors up and down the seaboard, and the new provincial congresses and many hundreds of local committees that quickly reconstituted local authority in Patriot hands. These onrushing events delivered a sweeping control of territory and local government to the Patriots, one that Britain was never able to overcome. Seventeen seventy-five was the year in which Patriots captured British forts and fought battles from the Canadian frontier to the Carolinas, obtained the needed gunpowder inmachinations that reached from the Baltic to West Africa and the Caribbean, and orchestrated the critical months of nation building in the backrooms of a secrecy-shrouded Congress. As Phillips writes, "The political realignment achieved amid revolution was unique - no other has come with simultaneous ballots and bullets."
Surveying the political climate, economic structures, and military preparations, as well as the roles of ethnicity, religion, and class, Phillips tackles the 18th century with the same skill and perception he has shown in analyzing contemporary politics and economics. He mines rich material as he surveys different regions and different colonies and probes how the varying agendas and expectations at the grassroots level had a huge effect on how the country shaped itself. He details often overlooked facts about the global munitions trade; about the roles of Indians, slaves, and mercenaries; and about the ideological and religious factors that played into the revolutionary fervor.
The result is a dramatic account brimming with original insights about the country we eventually became. Kevin Phillips’ 1775 revolutionizes our understanding of America’s origins.
©2012 Kevin Phillips (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The story held your attention and went way beyond the history I missed in school.
The reasearch and accuracy of the historical content was well researched and presented.
Kevin Phillips gives us great insight into the American Revolution and is well-read by Arthur Morey.
The author wants to construct a case that 1775 was a more crucial year for the Revolution than 1776. But, as another reviewer points out, he uses examples from the 1760s onward to bolster his case. He never makes a compelling argument for the importance of this distinction.
His examination of the various motives for independence go too far into detail to hold the reader's attention. For example, when discussing the effect of religious denomination he gives an overlong, state-by-state, county-by-county, denomination-by-denomination analysis of dozens of different congregations.
I kept waiting for the groundwork to end and the interesting discussion to begin, but I had to give up 2/3 of the way through.
I would have put things more in chronological order.
I believe he started with a wrong premise. Truly 1775 was important leading up to 1776, but so was 1774, and 1773, etc. He is trying to prove a point that isn't an issue. As a result he continually uses events from many years before 1776 and from different socialogical angles.
To me, history is always interesting in itself. However, so much of it is left up to the interpreter. When it comes to figuring out what part of 1775 was religion the main motivator, or economic factors, etc. the conclusions are solely in the hand of the story teller.
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