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Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free
     

Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free

4.5 17
by John Ferling
 

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With magisterial command and an unmatched sense of drama, John Ferling traces the political journey from protest to Revolution. Independence takes readers from the battlefields of Bunker Hill to the cobblestones of Philadelphia and into the halls of Parliament, where furious debate erupted over how to deal with the rebellion. Independence is not only the

Overview

With magisterial command and an unmatched sense of drama, John Ferling traces the political journey from protest to Revolution. Independence takes readers from the battlefields of Bunker Hill to the cobblestones of Philadelphia and into the halls of Parliament, where furious debate erupted over how to deal with the rebellion. Independence is not only the story of how freedom was won, but how an empire was lost.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Noted for his knowledge of the Revolutionary era, Ferling (The Ascent of George Washington) again gives us a narrative hard to surpass in fluency and authority. It covers the coming of the American Revolution from the Stamp Act in 1765 to the Declaration of Independence. Familiar leading characters on both sides of the Atlantic, from Lord North to Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, fill the pages, their motives examined as are the battles raging in both the colonies and Parliament on how to resolve their differences. Ferling treats them all with understanding and balance even while he offers criticism where it's due (as with Franklin's trying to play all sides). The problem is that Ferling's take on the coming of independence is conventional, limited, and out of date. Ferling fails to discuss how the American people's own activities pushed their leaders to take stronger stances, or the worries aroused by the Indian tribes or restive slaves once full-scale war broke out. Of thousands of Loyalists, only Joseph Galloway plays a role. When Abigail Adams puts in a short appearance, it isn't clear why. Ferling had a chance to give us a full picture of the turmoil and confusion of the decade before 1776. It's unfortunate that he hasn't done so. B&w illus. (June)
From the Publisher
"Noted for his knowledge of the Revolutionary era, Ferling again gives us a narrative hard to surpass in fluency and authority." ---Publishers Weekly
author of Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marr Edith B. Gelles

In clear and elegant prose and with formidable scholarship, John Ferling freshly examines the period that led to declaring independence. By focusing on the character of leaders in both England and her colonies as they intersected with circumstances, he captures the uncertainty of the times and the unpredictable journey to the declaration itself.
Library Journal
Prolific author Ferling (history, emeritus, State Univ. of West Georgia; The Ascent of George Washington) recounts the pivotal three years from the 1773 Boston Tea Party to the 1776 congressional vote for American independence, with a conventional focus on the major American and British players and the political and commercial issues that cleaved the slowly unifying colonies from their mother country. He clearly explains how the march toward independence was made in gradual and seemingly inevitable steps, with the British Parliament and monarchy missing repeated opportunities to make amends and avoid a breakaway. He relies on a bevy of primary and secondary sources, quoting liberally from correspondence and official documents, including the Declaration of Independence, which is transcribed in full for easy reference. British and congressional leaders' personalities, mannerisms, and personal backgrounds are examined along with their political contributions, lending human interest to what could have been a dry tale. VERDICT Unfortunately, Ferling provides nothing new to American revolutionary period scholarship in this minor but entertaining work. His readable narrative should appeal to general readers or students new to the topic of how and why the British colonies declared themselves American states.—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Libs., Columbia
Kirkus Reviews

A venerable historian of the American Revolution focuses on the events between the shot heard round the world and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Ferling (History/State Univ. of West Georgia; The Ascent of George Washington, 2009, etc.) uses a transatlantic approach to show how the stone of revolution began its roll, accelerating until it reached the velocity necessary to crush both American reconcilers and a major portion of England's colonial empire. Numerous characters (none really surprising) emerge in prominence as the narrative progresses: in England—Lord North (the Prime Minister), King George III, Edmund Burke, William Pitt, Charles James Fox; in America—Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston. Although the author spends some time detailing the initial civilian and military clashes (the Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Concord bridge, siege of Quebec), he attends most carefully to the human stories: the loneliness of families separated by war and politics (he highlights the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams), the fear of those near the war zones, the frustrations of dealing with international relations in a time when communications were snail-slow and the egos and ignorance on both sides of the Atlantic. Sometimes Ferling points toward contemporary analogies. Writing of England, he notes: "Not for the last time would a government underestimate its enemy as it took its people into the costly, bloody wasteland of war." Only occasionally is the author hobbled by a lack of documentary evidence, forcing him into multiple uses ofprobablyandseemsand their kin. He also reminds us the vote for independence was on July 2nd, not 4th.

A lucid, erudite account a period both terrifying and supremely inspiring.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608193974
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
614,373
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.21(d)

Meet the Author

John Ferling is a professor emeritus of history at the State University of West Georgia and the author of the award-winning A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic.

A two-time Audie Award winner, veteran actor Robert Fass is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects. He has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for his narration of Francisco Goldman's novel Say Her Name.

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Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Read this book if you are interested in the history that led the separation between Great Britain and its American colonies. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that gives a very broad insight into the events and reasoning behind the American revolution. This is a big book and I'm taking a long time to get through it, but highly recommended to the history buff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's very readable and am enjoying each page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Happy early Independence Day! It was awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An indepth look at how the US struggled with the decision to become independent and almost remained a part of the British Empire. By the slimmest of margins independence was sent to a 5 person committee to write the most important document in this country's history and a model for democracies around the world. Best book i have ever read regarding this subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LookingForGoodBooks More than 1 year ago
After the 1st 40% of book it just started rehashing the same thing, over and over again. Yes, I know everyone was afraid to say "Independence". Just when I think I finally going to get into July of 1776 it goes back to November of 1775. I feel like I'm reading John Adam's autobiography over and over again. I confess I haven't finished the book yet, it's going to be tough. I have about 30% to go. Wish me luck...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am the leader, Independencestar. See the spots open in the first result.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can I be in it? (I'm an alicorn)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh!!!! I lurv it!!!!!!! You need to write more shorts like this!!!! Pwweeeeezzz!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lol!