This compellingly written history presents a fresh, new view of the events that led from the first foreign salute to American nationhood in 1776 to the last campaign of the Revolution five years later. It paints a magnificent portrait of General George Washington and recounts in riveting detail the events responsible for the birth of our nation.
©1988 Barbara W. Tuchman; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Trenchant observations and an exciting climax....Most libraries will want this Pulitzer Prize-winner's latest." (Library Journal)
"Blackstone's inspired pairing of narrator Nadia May with the work of Barbara Tuchman introduces a new generation to...one of the twentieth century's most popular and esteemed historians." (AudioFile)
"[A] brilliant slice of American Revolutionary history....expertly weaving political and military history, Tuchman lets you feel how Washington's victory at Yorktown sent shock waves around the globe." (Publishers Weekly)
Before I start my review I have to say that I have loved the works of Tuchman since Highschool and owned this same work by the same narrator (on audio tape) for years. It seems that no sooner than I go out and buy a converter to convert my tapes into MP3 than Audible comes out with this ;-).
This is Tuchman's history of the American revolution focusing on the naval aspects. It is an excellent and interesting take on the revolution from an interesting perspective. Tuchman is attracted to the Irrational in Human Affairs and finds much fodder for her interest in the actions of the British during the revolution. This leads her to indulge in sweeping statements of human nature and political philosophy which get a little tedious. She also indulges her tendency to tangential anecdote including a complete history of the Dutch war of independence from Spain and an in depth review of the careers of many actors going back decades before the events at the center of her book. However, this is forgivable as her analysis is interesting, clear, and generally logical. Also, the writing style is brilliant and engaging.
The narration by Nadia May is exceptional (that said, some people do not like her voice -a love it or hate it sort of thing so try the sample). She is clear and easy to understand with very good inflection.
While this is not the best of Tuchman, it is brilliant and interesting and well worth the listening. I can recommend it to anyone with an interest in Naval History, The American Revolution, or European History. The book is good for most reading levels from seniors in high-school on up.
This is a wonderful read if you are interested in excruciating details about the events leading up to the American Revolution and the Revolution itself. I have never read a book on the AR that captures the European background and the Revolution's progress through the battles and events, for some time, after the Yorktown surrender. If you like European and U.S. history I highly recommend this book
I really enjoyed this book and decided to write the review only after reading the criticisms. If you judge the book by the 1st negative review you will be missing a bright and insightful view of history. To most of the world our revolution was a little thing to be viewed with curiosity more then intrigue, I think one reason is that no one expected us to win. This is a good book worth of your time.
I am an avid reader of history and truly enjoy most of everything written about the American Revolution. This book however was a horrid waste of time if looking for another perspective of the Revolutionary War.
A more apt title would have been "A Brief Naval History of the Dutch and English 1640-1790". Most likely, this WAS the title at some point, but it was changed in order to cash in on the newfound interest in the Revolutionary War created by recent publications on the topic.
This book contained very few and far between references to the War of Independence, concentrating mostly on the Dutch and English Naval exploits taking place before, during and after. In doing so, the story was fragmented and jumped back and forth in time. I must admit that it has a few intersting and little known facts of how the Dutch influenced the war, yet that was not what I thought I was buying.
I enjoy Eurpean History, but not when I have been sold American History by the synopsis of a book.
Want to know how the British lost the Revolutionary War? Here's the answer. You cannot get better history telling than Barbara Tuchman, and you can't get a better reader than Nadia May. This book is worth 10 stars.
I finally gave up after suffering thru 6 chapters. It was not enjoyable...it felt more like a college assignment. Too many details in a dry narrative. And, we never even got to the war!A waste of $$ for me! Life is too short to read unentertaining books.
I first read Ms. Tuchman in "The Guns of August." I was impressed with her ability to tell a story and to keep me on a tether by showing how one important fact or event inevitably led to the next. In "The Guns of August" she clearly showed the line of reasoning from Edward VII's efforts to improve relations with France to that policy causing jealousy on the part of Kaiser Wilhelm. From there it was easy to see how a slighted Kaiser moved inexorably toward war with its promise of reasserting German diplomatic supremacy on the continent. "The First Salute" tells a wonderful story of how the United States was first recognized as an independent nation by the firing of a signal gun in the port of Dutch-owned St. Eustatious and the ramifications of that action on English-Dutch relations. The first few chapters tell the story of the governor of the island, his decision to recognize an American ship that sailed into his harbor, the history of the island, etc. But then the rest of the book broke off into separate stories of the War of Independence, biographies of some of the major players (like Rodney, Cornwallis, etc), how the French were convinced to come in on the Americans' side, pushing the decision at Yorktown, etc. All in all, very convoluted if not superfluous or confusing.
The title led me to believe that the book would be more about the new nation's path to recognition in the world, rather than its struggle for independence. It isn't a bad book, but it could have been better. The chapters about the Dutch and the First Salute should have been bolstered by further stories of how America found recognition around the world as a new country, or they should have formed a section of a larger work on the history of the Revolution. Ms. Tuchman's skills are great but the book could have been better organized or the title changed to reflect the real main plot. Buy it anyway. It's a great story and Ms. Tuchman's perspective on the British officers is refreshing.
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