Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War

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9780007156252: Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War

Controversial and revisionist history of America’s first civil war. Accompanying four-part BBC TV series – written and presented by star military historian, Richard Holmes.

Most people view the American Revolutionary War of the 1775–83 (also known as the War of Independence) as a popular struggle for liberty against an oppressive colonial power. REBELS & REDCOATS by historian Hugh Bicheno, written to accompany a four-part BBC television series presented by Richard Holmes, demonstrates that it was in fact America's first civil war.

Employing the latest scholarship and vivid eyewitness accounts, Bicheno argues t that the war was the product of a broad French imperial design, and greed of many prominent colonials. As many Americans remained loyal to the Crown as rebelled against it, and the reasons for adopting or changing sides were as varied as the men and women who had to make the unenviable decision. Native and African Americans overwhelmingly favoured the British cause.We hear not only the voices of Rebels and Redcoats, but also of German mercenaries and aristocratic French adventurers, as well as Indian warriors and Black slaves fighting for their independence, which together shed new light on events that forged a nation. The main loser was the French monarchy, which ruined itself to gain no lasting influence over the United States, while unable to exploit the distraction the war created either to invade Britain or gain control of the West Indies, which at the time were considered a far bigger prize than all of North America.

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Review:

'Redcoat is a wonderful book, full of anecdote and good sense. Anyone who has enjoyed a Sharpe story will love it, anyone who likes history will want to own it and anyone who cherishes good writing will read it with pleasure.' BERNARD CORNWELL, Daily Mail

‘It would be hard to exaggerate the excellence of this book. It is vivid, comprehensive, well-written, pacy, colourful, and above all, highly informative. The author has a command of his subject of Wellingtonian proportions, and his enthusiasm communicates itself to the reader on every page.’ Simon Heffer, Literary Review

‘This is an army from another, and Redcoat is a splendidly entertaining, moving and informative description of its strengths and foibles.’ Hew Strachan, Daily Telegraph

From the Publisher:

REBELS & REDCOATS
The American Revolutionary War
by Hugh Bicheno

Foreword by Richard Holmes

Most people view the American Revolutionary War of the 1775-83 (also known as the War of Independence) as a popular struggle for liberty against an oppressive colonial power. Now a new book, REBELS & REDCOATS by historian Hugh Bicheno, written to accompany a four-part BBC television series to be presented by Richard Holmes in June, demonstrates that it was in fact America’s first civil war.

REBELS & REDCOATS employs the latest scholarship and vivid eyewitness accounts to argue that the war was the product of a broad French imperial design, which found fertile ground in the resentments, opportunism and greed of many prominent colonials. As many Americans remained loyal to the Crown as rebelled against it, and the reasons for adopting or changing sides were as varied as the men and women who had to make the unenviable decision. Native and African Americans overwhelmingly favoured the British cause, and by the end of the war there were even more white Americans in the British Army than there were serving under General George Washington, the Rebel leader.

The book explores intriguing paradoxes through personal stories such as that of Jane McCrea, murdered by Indian auxiliaries attached to the British Army in which her fiancé was serving, but whose brother was a Rebel stalwart. We hear not only the voices of Rebels and Redcoats, but also of German mercenaries and aristocratic French adventurers, as well as Indian warriors and Black slaves fighting for their independence, which together shed new light on events that forged a nation.

In REBELS & REDCOATS Bicheno also argues that, apart from the Native and African Americans, the main loser was the French monarchy, which ruined itself to gain no lasting influence over the United States, while unable to exploit the distraction the war created either to invade Britain or gain control of the West Indies, which at the time were considered a far bigger prize than all of North America.

REBELS & REDCOATS is a controversial but much-needed historical corrective to standard accounts of the war, a vivid portrait of the passionate, violent and bloody events that resonate down the centuries to the present.

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Bicheno, Hugh; Holmes, Richard
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