cover image IRON TEARS: America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775–1783

IRON TEARS: America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775–1783

Stanley Weintraub, . . Free Press, $28 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-2687-5

Did America actually win the battle for its freedom in the Revolutionary War? Or did Britain—divided internally over whether to fight the war—simply fail to summon all its might to defeat the colonists? In this brilliant and provocative book, bestselling historian Weintraub (George Washington's Christmas Farewell , etc.) examines the possibility that the British lost the war because of protest and lack of support at home. In response to the siege of Boston in August 1775, King George accused the colonists of being traitors, but Gen. Thomas Gage urged conciliation. By 1780, the war, with its enormous casualties, had begun to take its toll at home; taxes had risen and trade had slumped, with a resulting rise in unemployment. The diversion of funds to win what seemed like an unwinnable conflict agitated both houses of Parliament as well as the working classes, who took to the streets in protests and riots. The British failure to win a war against ill-trained but determined guerrilla forces in often unpredictable circumstances and weather appears now as an eerie harbinger of modern conflicts such as the Vietnam War. Weintraub's fast-paced narrative and impeccable historical research provide a stimulating challenge to conventional histories of the Revolutionary War that focus exclusively on the heroism of American forces. Weintraub tells us the rest of the story. (Jan. 18)