The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760-1785

Don Cook, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $24 (416p) ISBN 978-0-87113-588-9
Retelling the saga of the American Revolution from the viewpoint of Mother England, Cook ingeniously portrays the 13 colonies' breakaway as a succession of inexorable blunders and collective missteps in London that led to an unnecessary, unwinnable war. Former political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Herald Tribune, Cook lays the lion's share of blame at the feet of autocratic King George III, who prodded his government into war-provoking acts, refusing all suggestions of compromise. Cook's vivid, wonderfully readable narrative sheds new light on the origins of the American Revolution and is peopled with memorable characters: Anglophile diplomat/scientist Benjamin Franklin, testifying before the House of Commons in London against the oppressive Stamp Act in 1766; Isaac Barre, fierce, rough-talking, one-eyed British colonel, sympathetic to the American cause, who warned Parliament that a revolution could be brewing; amiable, indecisive British prime minister Lord North, totally unfit to wage war, who repeatedly tendered his resignation in vain; parliamentarian William Pitt, who dared to question the king's wisdom in fiery oratory. Cook provocatively concludes that with a more conciliatory policy, England might well have reached an accommodation that would have kept the American colonies in the British Empire. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-87113-661-9
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