Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution

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9780140275001: Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution

A dramatic, epic narrative of the American RevolutionA disparate group of settlers, spread from New England to Georgia, agreed on little in the mid-eighteenth century. This fascinating history tells the story of how they eventually conquered a common enemy, England, while it reminds us how divided the colonies were, how close they came to defeat, and how magnificent their achievement was.Filled with lively evocations of the dynamic people and culture of the time, Angel in the Whirlwind traces the deterioration in relations between the American colonies and England while profiling Washington, Franklin, and other influential figures. Many voices add to the authenticity of Bobrick's account: English and American, patriot and loyalist, soldier and civilian. From major battles such as Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill to the climactic siege of Yorktown when the British flag of empire was finally lowered before patriot guns, the American Revolution comes alive with thrilling intensity on every page.

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Review:

George Washington at Valley Forge, Benedict Arnold's treason at West Point, Corwallis's defeat at Yorktown--these are the characters and events most Americans remember from their high-school history lessons about the Revolutionary War. Yet the war itself is so removed from us in time, its villains and heroes so remote, that it fails to grasp the place in popular imagination occupied by the Civil War, the two World Wars, or even Vietnam. Benson Bobrick's fresh account of the Revolutionary War, Angel in the Whirlwind, might just change all that. The secret to Bobrick's success lies in his entertaining, lively prose, and--more importantly--in his choice of focus: this account of the American Revolution weaves the fortunes of two of its more fascinating participants, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, into its larger story. Washington's fascination is rooted in his military genius and talent for leadership, Arnold's in his flawed character. At once a fearless soldier and a greedy opportunist, Arnold's perfidy makes an interesting counterpoint to Washington's heroism.

Bobrick does a fine job of covering the ins and outs of this extraordinary war, giving readers enough background to understand the complexities of the issues that led to the Declaration of Independence by taking them through the war years leading to Washington's inauguration. Better yet, he creates a sense of the times in which these stirring events occurred, limning the details of the common people's lives and attitudes to add a sense of immediacy. Angel in the Whirlwind is popular history at its best; George Washington would be proud.

From the Publisher:

Overwhelmed with debt following its victory in the French and Indian Wars, England began imposing harsh new tariffs and taxes on the colonies in the I760s. When it did, the independence movement grew in strength until protest and rebellion eventually erupted into war.

But despite the charismatic leadership of the independence movement, more than half the colonists remained loyal to England. Benson Bobrick casts light on such important, often overlooked aspects of the American Revolution, and offers compelling portraits of the major figures, as well as some illuminating observations by some of their lesser-known contemporaries.

He thrillingly describes the major battles, from Lexington and Concord to Bunker Hill, Trenton, Saratoga, Camden, and Kings Mountain, and then the climactic siege of Yorktown when the British flag of empire was finally lowered before patriot guns. At the same time, Angel in the Whirlwind weaves together the social and political as well as the military history of the struggle into one epic tale. A variety of voices is represented: English and American, patriot and loyalist, soldier and civilian, foreign adventurer having come to aid the Revolution and German mercenary hired to serve in the army of the king. Their vivid presence brings life to every page.

Angel in the Whirlwind is a dramatic narrative of the American Revolution illuminated by fresh insight. As a history of our nation's birth it will not easily be surpassed.

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