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Publisher's Summary

The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then living in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with the British. In this trailblazing book, Gerald Horne shows that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt.

Prior to 1776, anti-slavery sentiments were deepening throughout Britain and in the Caribbean, rebellious Africans were in revolt. For European colonists in America, the major threat to their security was a foreign invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. It was a real and threatening possibility that London would impose abolition throughout the colonies - a possibility the founding fathers feared would bring slave rebellions to their shores. To forestall it, they went to war.

The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their right to enslave others. The Counter-Revolution of 1776 brings us to a radical new understanding of the traditional heroic creation myth of the United States.

©2014 New York University (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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A revelation, a paradigm shift and a new view

After just the prologue and intro, I was already riveted and fascinated by the ideas and interpretations based on extensive research reaching back before 1776 and beyond the borders of the 13 colonies. I’ve been grappling with the question of slavery’s place in the Revolution and development of the US post-independence, and was fascinated to see the sense Horne made of it based on his wide-angle, counter-hegemonic lens.

It was such a revelation--and I thought I was well-educated about slavery and about the American Revolution and the early years of the republic, and how they intertwined. Reading Horne's book, I feel profoundly ignorant. His historical scope reaches back to the Glorious Revolution (1688) in England and the privatization--and consequent proliferation--of the slave trade; the French and Spanish colonies and their relationship to African slaves in the British colonies; the Caribbean Island plantations and the violent uprisings of slaves there and their influence on the mainland; the creation of a category of Whiteness meant to paper over religious, ethnic and class differences and possible only in contradistinction with African blackness; and the active, angry, dangerous and continuous rebellions of the Africans themselves, sometimes in conjunction with the Spanish and/or the French and/or the Indigenous population.

Horne leads the reader through first-hand accounts and the debates and news of the day to show how London's fear of African insurrection led them on a path towards abolition while leading the American colonists to double-down on the lucrative slave trade. But the enslavement of the Africans was a two-edged sword--the more Africans were in the colonies, the more the white colonists feared them. Meanwhile, London's push towards abolition (motivated in great part on the same fear) pushed the North American colonists further towards revolution, or as Horne defines it, vis a vis the Africans, a counter-revolution.

Horne traces the ripples of the revolution and the African role in it through to the current racism in our society, arguing persuasively that you cannot understand it fully until you see it in its full context in the long view of history.

The Counter-Revolution of 1776 is fascinating, well-researched, funny, insightful, accessible and a constant challenge of our frame of reference about the founding of the US.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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more of the truth behind what you think you know

to truly understand you must see form different angles and different depths...get ready to learn

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an eye opener

an eye-opener and I think everyone should read it especially if they don't buy what they've been taught in schools. if you ever wondered about the origin of white supremacy and why it's continuing to be a problem around the world this book is a opener and a different perspective on the American Revolution which unlike most accounts this seems to be plausible.

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  • smallz
  • Sacramento, CA
  • 09-12-17

Hidden History

Mr. Horne makes this critical period interesting to read for African Americans because of the illumination of so many strange & unaddressed aspects slavery created that's been collectively hidden via omission. The way Horne tells it, had the wind blown in another direction during that period in mid 1600's we could be in a very different place. Very uplifting.

"We never knew how close we got" - Steve Cokely

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this book is a must-read.

mr. Horn Place a lot of information in this book that I wasn't taught in school and I do believe a lot of people need to read this book for themselves and check the facts to see if he's correct. I do believe the book is factual I do believe that he is correct and I do believe that a lot of people need to read this book.

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Europe creates racism in America

A whole new perspective regarding the motivations and causes for the American experiment. Must read for anyone interested in the reasons for racism in this country. it appears it was unavoidable given the machinations of the European powers of the time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful