Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes

Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes The Story Of This War Has Usually Been Told In Terms Of A Conflict Between Blundering British Generals And Their Rigidly Disciplined Red Coated Troops On The One Side And Heroic American Patriots In Their Homespun Shirts And Coonskin Caps On The Other In This Fresh, Compelling Narrative, Christopher Hibbert Portrays The Realities Of A War That Raged The Length Of An Entire Continent A War That Thousands Of George Washington S Fellow Countrymen Condemned And That He Came Close To Losing Based On A Wide Variety Of Sources And Alive With Astute Character Sketches And Eyewitness Accounts, Redcoats And Rebels Presents A Vivid And Convincing Picture Of The Cruel, Accursed War That Changed The World ForeverPages Of Illustrations Hibbert Combines Impeccable Scholarship With A Liveliness Of Style That Lures The Reader From Page To Page Sunday Telegraph

Christopher Hibbert, MC, FRSL, FRGS 5 March 1924 21 December 2008 was an English writer, historian and biographer He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.Described by Professor Sir John Plumb as a writer of the highest ability and in the N

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  • Paperback
  • 412 pages
  • Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes
  • Christopher Hibbert
  • English
  • 26 November 2018
  • 9780393322934

10 thoughts on “Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes

  1. says:

    .The seasoned bard of the Ancien R gime follows the American revolution through British eyes Not every edition s title states this plainly, a publisher s strategy that was later repeated for A Few Bloody Noses The American War of Independence Luckily, there is no inherent revisionism here Contrary to Harvey, Hibbert takes us to the other side of Bunker Hill to provide the novice with a solid framework for further reading This book cannot equally accommodate within 350 pages the familiar American story, but it will profit in combined reading from the pattern of the British war plan For sheer pleasure, it is also elegently written.The development of the War of Independence can be explained through a relationship of cause and effect The authorities in London or the local commanders often than not provided an action to which the American opposition would feel obliged to react This pattern is well known in regards to the origins of the conflict Increased control over the colonies in the form of new taxation which was customary for British colonies but to which the lightly taxed Americans were wholly unaccustomed giving shape to long term economic grievances over the non expansion policy of the crown towards the rich interior of the continent.The outbreak of hostilities occured between troops present in Massachusetts The American resistance had to preoccupy itself with establishing an armed force out of a population that possessed heterogeneous military experience and few resources, in the hope of raising an army that could take the field against Redcoat regulars and not disintegrate due to short term enlistment Meanwhile, the transatlantic command formulated a strategy based on the relatively meager manpower available for service overseas, since it had a global empire to defend against the hostile attentions of Spain and France Thinning out garrisons in the West Indies or the Channel Fleet risked the loss of colonies or even an invasion of the home islands Not to be neglected were the post war relationships with the thirteen colonies even if they proved successful in securing independence to build an American nation, good relations were in Great Britain s commercial interest In short, bloody repression or large scale land offensives were out of the question Based upon these reflections, possession or short distance blockade of Atlantic ports promised the best outcome Either way, the size of reinforcements was constrained by the limitations of transatlantic logistics in the age of sail.The British war plan thus evolved into a focus on the constrained garrison of New York In a first phase, a union with British forces in Canada was the idea in a second phase, the action shifted to the southern theater of the Carolinas and the American breadbasket of Virginia Most of the maneuverings on both sides fit into this pattern, down to the siege of Yorktown, where Cornwallis hoped for a time out after the defeat of his last New York bound invasion To this must be added the strain of the incessant quarrels within the British high command, of the simultaneous defensive war against the French navy and the non manifestation of massed Loyalist support.The narrative ends all too abruptly on the Field of Surrender, with no mention of the Treaty of Paris Unfortunately, this applies to almost every morcel of diplomatic activity outside of 1778, with a few pages on the peace feelers extended by the rebuffed Carlisle Peace Commission and the Treaty of Alliance with France The battles narratives are to the point there is little discussion of weapons and tactics except for a standard chat about the limitations of the smoothbore musket and the deficiencies of the purchased commission A look back at the impact of the Seven Years War would ve been interesting, since the disdain among seasoned commanders in the American theatre for colleagues of the German school clearly refers to the split evolution of warfare on two continents.The absence of a conclusion doesn t matter regarding the causes of the British defeat the infeasibility of a hard victory over enormous distances was clear from the beginning It was an accomplishment that a war which one side had to fight with one first tied behind its back continued to the point where b th sides neared desperate exhaustion.

  2. says:

    I always thought that history depended on who was telling the story at the end of the day Turns out I was right on Imagine yourself as a citizen of London, anxious to hear the latest news from The Colonies It won t be immediate, you know that The swiftest passage of the Atlantic is four or five weeks, and a usual time is two months By the time you receive your news, it is already at least six weeks out of date So imagine the frustration of His Majesty s Government, trying to make policies for the administration of a country isolated not just by an ocean, but by Time Then imagine yourself as a Colonial Governor or a Commander in Chief of British Colonial Army, trying to carry out policies, enforce laws and keep order, when your orders are a response to stale news, uninformed by intelligence on the ground and arrogantly optimistic Isn t that just ducky Christopher Hibbert tells us the story of the American Revolutionary War from the viewpoint of the British The governors, the generals, the admirals, the politicians and the Loyalists To one such as myself raised to think of the British Empire as a monolithic Juggernaut, menacing all with the weight of its power, this is a startling and thought provoking read Hibbert shows us an Empire as a shambling, sleepy giant, slow to react, confused as to its aims and bewildered as to how to carry out its own decisions It appears that the monolith had some cracks in the foundations The British did not invent bureaucracy, but they embraced it with enthusiasm For example, commissions in the army and navy were purchased Thus officers from moneyed families able to purchase promotions, would be promoted over the heads of those with only experience in their portfolios Positions in the government likewise often went to those with influence and the ambition to line their own pockets The results were predictable An example Hibbert points out will be instructive Faced with difficulties in recruiting Englishmen to enlist for miserable pay, brutal conditions and the chance to go shoot other Englishmen, the government decided to fill their ranks with the king s OTHER subjects, from Hanover, in Germany Actually, many of these German troops were from Hesse, which is why the colonists called them all Hessians Sounds brilliant, right Well, except that naturally nobody sends their best troops and equipment off to work for someone else, so when the trips arrived, they were shabby, and barefoot Yup, I said barefoot So, the bureaucrat in charge of boot emergencies sent off for footwear, which in time was delivered and found to be five thousand cases of dancing slippers This delayed the sailing of the troop ships well into the stormy season, insuring that most of these troops arrived in the Americas on sick call.Folly did not reside on only one side of the Atlantic The British Commanders, Lord Howe, Sir William Clinton and General Burgoyne, detested and mistrusted each other Howe was unimaginative and cranky, Clinton was a first class drama queen and quarrelsome Then there was Burgoyne, who insisted on dragging thirty wagons of his personal possessions from Canada down to Lake Champlain and supposedly on down the Hudson In what was then a howling wilderness, literally, wolves followed the armies to eat the corpses Burgoyne sat down nightly to a table set with fine porcelain, crystal and silver Take that you rebellious peasants When Howe finally prevailed upon his London associates to be recalled home, Clinton was elevated to Commander in Chief and Lord Cornwallis was sent to command in the South Cornwallis thought he could do a better job than Clinton, and Clinton knew it He thus refused every suggestion Cornwallis made It was a lovely little war Hibbert tells his tale with gusto His books are always well written and he did not disappoint me this time This is history told vividly and from an unusal perspective I give this one an A.

  3. says:

    Themes war, American Revolution, liberty, politics, biography, geographySetting the new United States of America, 1770s 1780s, Canada, and EnglandSo we ve all heard the story about how the patriots wanted freedom from the oppression of that evil King George and how they rose up, demanded their rights, and made the world safe for democracy, right Not surprisingly, the story is not quite that simple, and this book presents the whole war from the British point of view We get a good look at what was going on back in Britain, the political maneuvering behind the scenes, the personalities of the British officers involved, and how Britain finally lost the colonies.Washington is still a central figure here, but we also get to learn about Burgoyne, Lord Cornwallis, the Howe brothers, admiral and general, and most of all, Clinton, who was so prickly and hard to get along with that he alienated every single man assigned to work with him It wouldn t be a huge exaggeration to say that the feuding that went on among the English generals, the politicians back home, and the lack of communication is what really allowed America to win the war There were other factors, to be sure, but I had no idea what a mess the British were really in.There are very few saints in this book Loyalist and rebels alike committed horrible crimes against civilians and the enemy captives But it was great to read a new perspective on the war for American Independence.I have to say that I found some interesting parallels as I read this book As the English troops talked about the difficult terrain, how impossible it was to fight an enemy that they couldn t see through the forests and that fought an unconventional style of warfare they hadn t seen before, it reminded me of the descriptions of the Vietnam War Like that one, the American war became and unpopular back in England, especially among the wealthier aristocratic class It was the poor and desperate, the foreign mercenaries who were the ones sent to fight this war a continent away.The other interesting thing that struck me was the repeated refrain that the British politicians back home gave, that American loyalists would be happy to rise up and support the British troops fight to overthrow the rebels It s a little different, but it did sound like what our government said during the second Gulf War, that the Iraqis would all be happy to get rid of Saddam Hussein, that all we had to do was show up and they would rush to join America get rid of the dictator Didn t quite work that way the US, and didn t work that way for the British Let s face it, most people will be happy to join a successful cause after it s obvious who is going to win But to risk your own life when the issue is still very uncertain most people will sit it out and let the soldiers do the fighting.I started this one on tape, but I don t have as much time to listen in the car as I used to, so I switched over to physical book format to finish Both versions were very enjoyable, although I admit I liked seeing the pictures I will warn thought that the audio version started out with a 15 20 minute acknowledgment before the story ever got started, so if you listen, you can definitely skip all that and not miss a thing But the narration was very good Highly recommended for Americans and British alike.

  4. says:

    A readable general history of the war from the British perspective, although it ultimately ends up covering both sides or less equally.Hibbert emphasizes the difficulties faced by the British, and how they dealt with infighting among military commanders, the challenge of raising troops for an unpopular war in a distant colony, communications problems, and the difficulties in rallying loyalists to the cause Hibbert has little sympathy for his subjects, except maybe Cornwallis He also does a fine job describing the strategy debates in London and the British campaigns against the French, Spanish and Dutch once these nations entered the war Hibbert rightly credits the French intervention with having an impact Americans don t always acknowledge An insightful and accessible history, although there is little on the motivations of the British or their strategic dilemmas.

  5. says:

    I feel this book is both good and pleasant to read I know something of the subject, but I m certainly no authority, so I was occasionally surprised by turns of events This account views the American War from the British perspective, which is what the title on goodreads says, but oddly my copy does not Anyway, the book gives a picture of British divisions, lack of governmental focus hampered by the distance, the multitude of concerns facing it and chronic shortage of resources and troops and American conviction It also manages to give a balanced view of both sides, the focus of course on the British Recommended.

  6. says:

    In some ways I am being too kind Hibbert makes some errors in his mastery of facts The Americans barely make an appearance in the narrative although when they do it is oddly detailed His powers of analysis are limited and his conjecture at the book s end is interesting but not developed Yet he does a good job of showing the command paralysis and errors that led to Britain s defeat His judgement of character is shrewd, for he sees the good and bad in each man I think he is too kind to Cornwallis and Sandwich but that is all I can say in his disfavor in this regard.

  7. says:

    The most annoying thing i can say about the author is that he tends to describe everything the Americans did militarily as being foreseen by the British Generals He also wades over a number of American victories with barely a mention Granted some of these victories can be overall viewed as insignificant or militarily unimportant An example i can give is early in the war with the siege of Boston While in the grand scheme of the war it was a small victory for the Americans, the author skims over it in a page He also give all the credit to the The British foreseeing the Americans taking the hill over Boston, while numerous accounts from both sides give credit to the Americans for pulling off such a strategic move I find that the authors insistence on this being considered as a civil war over a revolution are fairly correct The author does a very good job of highlighting the hypocrisies in American actions thought while blunting the Nationalistic fervor that plagues some Americans recounting of the war The author also does a good job of describing the disunity among the British generals and also the disconnect between said generals and The officials in England who themselves were plagued by infighting As many reviewers seemed to be unaware of the Whitewashed version of the war, I have to say that this could be useful and in all probability eye opening for those people For someone that is fairly knowledgable on the war, they will mostly be concerned with the description of English disunity, which i have to say was direct and fairly informing.

  8. says:

    I got this book because as a history teacher, I always try to give my students multiple perspectives As such, I was hoping for a lot from this book I wanted some primary sources, and I did get some of those, but it was largely a political perspective It is also a book I wouldn t recommend for anyone who is not VERY familiar with the Revolution already There were several things in there that could have been confusing to me if I didn t teach this material There were also times I was confused because he would quote a militiaman It wasn t clear from the text or the quote if it was from a Patriot or Loyalist militiaman.However, I still might have given the book 4 stars if it had actually been annotated The author did explain that there are a few annotated copies available, but the bulk of them aren t Why in the world wouldn t he just publish all annotated books There were several times I read a quote from someone, and would have been interested in looking into the book where it came from, but I had no idea which book it was Something I view as lazy scholarship will always be dropped at least a star whenever I give a rating.

  9. says:

    This is a great book for fans of history and especially those who are intrigued by different points of view on historical events Some aspects of the war are only treated differently in subtle ways, but there are several events recorded by the British that I had never heard about before This was the first time I learned that Paul Revere was apparently captured by the British during his famous run only to escape when a small band of Americans attacked, for example The experiences of loyalists are covered in depth than in many American books too If you haven t read many books about the American Revolutionary War but you think you might find the subject interesting, this is certainly a good way to go It corrects some misconceptions many of us learned in school which American historical books would also do so it s a solid historical book on its own whether you find the British viewpoint on the war interesting or not.The book is written in British English and there are Britishisms in it that will be slightly but unintentionally funny to American audiences Which is kind of a bonus.

  10. says:

    not being the life long scholar of the revolution that some of the reviewers are, i really enjoyed the book I found it to be rather informative on the tory side of the war I am a product of the 50 s and we were given a whitewashed account of this period which i still prefer to the hang your head in shame teachings in todays super liberal education system I would never have thought there was as widespread support of the Crown as there apparantly was, or that our Military was as inept as it was It always amazes me when reading about wars, the level of bickering and the disasters created due to egos and incompetence One thing,one of the best parts about reading this book, as is the case with any Folio Society edition that i pick up, is the pleasure of the quality book you hold in your hands, from the print to the page stock, the binding and just the feel, is an experience to be savored.i almost hate to finish.

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