The American Revolution: A Concise History

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Overview

Here is a brisk, accessible, and vivid introduction to arguably the most important event in the history of the United States—the American Revolution.

Between 1760 and 1800, the American people cast off British rule to create a new nation and a radically new form of government based on the idea that people have the right to govern themselves. In this lively account, Robert Allison provides a cohesive synthesis of the military, diplomatic, political, social, and intellectual ...

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The American Revolution: A Concise History

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Overview

Here is a brisk, accessible, and vivid introduction to arguably the most important event in the history of the United States—the American Revolution.

Between 1760 and 1800, the American people cast off British rule to create a new nation and a radically new form of government based on the idea that people have the right to govern themselves. In this lively account, Robert Allison provides a cohesive synthesis of the military, diplomatic, political, social, and intellectual aspects of the Revolution, paying special attention to the Revolution's causes and consequences. The book recreates the tumultuous events of the 1760s and 1770s that led to revolution, such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, as well as the role the Sons of Liberty played in turning resistance into full-scale revolt. Allison explains how and why Americans changed their ideas of government and society so profoundly in these years and how the War for Independence was fought and won. He highlights the major battles and commanders on both sides—with a particular focus on George Washington and the extraordinary strategies he developed to defeat Britain's superior forces—as well as the impact of French military support on the American cause. In the final chapter, Allison explores the aftermath of the American Revolution: how the newly independent states created governments based on the principles for which they had fought, and how those principles challenged their own institutions, such as slavery, in the new republic. He considers as well the Revolution's legacy, the many ways its essential ideals influenced other struggles against oppressive power or colonial systems in France, Latin America, and Asia.

Sharply written and highly readable, The American Revolution offers the perfect introduction to this seminal event in American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Authors] have produced centuries of works on this subject, but non of the comprehensive descriptions are as surprisingly crisp as Robert J. Allison's version...Allison's organization of the book is excellent...Only outdone by his excellent organization is Allison's experience with this subject, which is qualitively displayed throughout the book...Allison is an effect writer, and has produced a summary that captures most prevailing historical accounts in good form." —Army History

"Robert Allison's volume serves as an ideal introduction to the American Revolution. All the central events and participants come alive in this brisk narrative that illuminates the origins and meaning of the War for Independence."-Louis P. Masur, Trinity College

"Anyone looking for a compact, highly conceptualized, readable history of the American Revolution and its aftermath needs to look no further than The American Revolution: A Concise History. I would never have imagined that so big a picture could be conveyed in so few words, but Bob Allison has done it. That he has accomplished this feat without losing the voices and the character of individual people is an amazement indeed. A fine book."-Fred Anderson, University of Colorado, Boulder

"This highly readable account is ideal for general readers and can also be utilized for college survey courses in U.S. history." - Booklist

"A scholar has to master a lot of material to present it so concisely and authoritatively, and Allison's book is one of the best places to get a reliable introduction to the Revolution and the Constitution." -Thomas S. Kidd, Books and Culture

Kirkus Reviews

"The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other," prophesied John Adams. Allison (History/Suffolk Univ.; Revolutionary Sites of Greater Boston, 2005, etc.) aims to correct a few of those mistruths.

In the space of little more than 100 pages, the author covers a tremendous amount of ground, including the complex precipitating causes of the struggle for American independence. He locates one in the much-hated Proclamation of 1763, which forbade English colonists in North America from settling across the Appalachians, and which stirred up resentments even as colonists disobeyed it. Wrote Virginia's governor to the British secretary of state, the law was "insufficient to restrain the Americans, and that they will do and will remove as their avidity and restlessness incite them." Allison notes that American revolutionaries did indeed object, vocally and violently, to the notion that they should be taxed without parliamentary representation. However, correcting the popular record, he adds that the American colonists' tax burdens were comparatively light, and those colonists were generally more prosperous than Britons back home. Such corrections are timely in an era of neo–Tea Party fundamentalism, which holds the founding fathers blameless and the British fonts of evil. Allison carefully addresses the checkered American military record during the Revolutionary War. The eventual victory owes more to France than many would care to acknowledge, but also to the dedication of the volunteers who fought at the first engagements, such as Bunker Hill, which the author vividly describes, and about which he concludes, "A defeat for the Americans, Bunker Hill had nevertheless proven they could fight." Even though the book is brief, the author finds room to discuss the war in the South, which historians have been giving renewed attention to lately. He also fits in the better-known figures, such as Molly Pitcher, while acknowledging the contributions of countless unsung fighters. A helpful timeline opens the book.

A useful introduction to a complicated series of historical events.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195312959
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2011
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 186,304
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Allison is Professor of History at Suffolk University. His books include The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815 (OUP, 1995); Stephen Decatur, American Naval Hero, 1779-1820 (2005); A Short History of Boston (2005); and Revolutionary Sites of Greater Boston (2005). He lives in Boston, MA.

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Table of Contents

TOC:
American Revolutionary Chronology
Preface
Ch 1 Background to Revolution
Ch 2 Rebellion in the Colonies
Ch 3 Independence
Ch 4 War
Ch 5 Was America Different?
Further Reading

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Customer Reviews

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