Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival after Yorktown

Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival after Yorktown

4.4 11
by Thomas Fleming
     
 

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On October 19, 1781, Great Britain's best army surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. But the future of the 13 former colonies was far from clear. A 13,000-man British army still occupied New York City, and another 13,000 regulars and armed loyalists were scattered from Canada to Savannah, Georgia. Meanwhile, Congress had declined to a mere 24

Overview

On October 19, 1781, Great Britain's best army surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. But the future of the 13 former colonies was far from clear. A 13,000-man British army still occupied New York City, and another 13,000 regulars and armed loyalists were scattered from Canada to Savannah, Georgia. Meanwhile, Congress had declined to a mere 24 members, and the national treasury was empty. The American army had not been paid for years and was on the brink of mutiny.

In Europe, America's only ally, France, teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and was soon reeling from a disastrous naval defeat in the Caribbean. A stubborn George III dismissed Yorktown as a minor defeat and refused to yield an acre of “my dominions” in America. In Paris, Ambassador Benjamin Franklin confronted violent hostility to France among his fellow members of the American peace delegation.

Thomas Fleming moves elegantly between the key players in this riveting drama and shows that the outcome we take for granted was far from certain. With fresh research and masterful storytelling, Fleming breathes new life into this tumultuous but little known period in America's history.

Editorial Reviews

Richard N. Smith
“As riveting and suspenseful…it is ultimately inspiring, this is history the way we all wish it could be written.”
John C. McManus
“No one understands the Revolutionary Era better. No one brings it to life with such amazing insight and intimacy.”
Charles Bracelen Flood
“A remarkable achievement, brilliant in conception and illuminating in the way in which heroes and villains…walk off the page.”
Tom McGuire
“[A]n engaging and lively narrative.”
Michael P. Federici
“[A] meaningful story about America’s past that compels readers to rethink their understanding of American identity.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061139116
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/23/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
654,760
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

What People are saying about this

Michael P. Federici
“[A] meaningful story about America’s past that compels readers to rethink their understanding of American identity.”
Charles Bracelen Flood
“A remarkable achievement, brilliant in conception and illuminating in the way in which heroes and villains…walk off the page.”
John C. McManus
“No one understands the Revolutionary Era better. No one brings it to life with such amazing insight and intimacy.”
Richard N. Smith
“As riveting and suspenseful…it is ultimately inspiring, this is history the way we all wish it could be written.”
Tom McGuire
“[A]n engaging and lively narrative.”

Meet the Author

Thomas Fleming is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently, The Perils of Peace. He has been the president of the Society of American Historians and of PEN American Center. Mr. Fleming is a frequent guest on C-SPAN, PBS, A&E, and the History Channel. He lives in New York City.

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Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival After Yorktown 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
GeoffSmock More than 1 year ago
Flemming does well to fill in a void that history has left. When we look at the American Revolution we usually skip from the victory at Yorktown in '81 to the Treaty of Paris in '83 as if the only thing that passed within that two year period was time. In fact a lot happened in that biennium, with political turmoil in Great Britain and a near collapse of the Continental structure in America. Immediately after Yorktown it was not at all clear that the war was over, as you may have been led to believe. That period is a compelling story of its own, and Flemming aptly tells it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great stuff! For those who love a good story, and a well-written piece of history, 'The Perils of Peace' is just your huckleberry. Fleming's tour de force takes you to the time, circumstances, people and places, where dreams of a free and independent United States arrived nearly stillborn -- for all the human nature at work. Written in a flowing, readable style, Flemming delivers his narrative devoid of the usual glittering platitudes and 'fulsome' hagiography that so often fabricates the most revolting wort into a thing of beauty. Basically, Fleming's scholarship is impecable so, do yourself a favor -- read this book. And once you do, you'll understand a lot more about the 'Great Experiement' than you ever did before. Promise!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WORST BOOK EVER!!!! It's by far, the most boring book i ve ever read. Feels as if you are reading a textbook. No plot or character development. It's just a bunch of facts about the Revolutionary war put in chronological order.
Saint-GermainBS More than 1 year ago
Given such intrigue, congressional back-biting and international diplomatic one-upmanship, it is amazing that the USA came about at all. Contrasting 1782-83 with the present day, it seems not much has changed in politics. The text is easy to read and follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent work. Primarily all we hear nowadays is the "issue" of slavery. And yet, the emancipation proclamation was not issued until January of 1863, due to the violence and riots in all major northetn cities.
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JoeS More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written. The author describes a tenuous series of events that against all odds led to a peace treaty. For the first time, I read a comprehensive description of the political and diplomatic battles not only in America, but in Europe. These non military battles were every bit as threatening to the survival of this infant nation as the full combat battles. Speaking of combat, the author provides details of the ongoing near civil war in the southern states between many different factions, and the continued military actions. The author additionally provides insight into the lesser known roles of Holland, Austria, and Russia. The personal descriptions of the many diplomats, politicians, and military figures is excellent. It leads to an understanding of why the individuals acted the way they did. I found that the author was able to convey numerous emotions. Fear, anger, suspicion, contempt, exhilaration, dejection, loyalty, etc. The author carefully constructs the complete story and provides detailed reasons to explain why some events were so important and what might have been different if communication was instant rather than being measured in months. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting more than the battles and the fairly common descriptions of the main figures.
Tillman More than 1 year ago
Mr. Fleming has added much needed historical detail and perspective to that period of the American Revolution between Yorktown and the peace treaty. His thoughts are presented in a very readable style. The story is balanced between both sides of the Atlantic. I highly recommend The Perils of Peace for anyone who likes American history and especially the revolutionary period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leave it to Tom Fleming, writer & historian, to pursue a previuosly-neglected Washington as the stratgist determined to fashion an effective government in peacetime beyond his against-all-odds military victory. This illumination is unique -and its' scholarship is a breath of fresh air. The insight which he brings to Edmund Burke alone is worth the price of admission!