Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783

Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783

by Brendan Simms
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“Here is revisionist history at its bracing best—conceived on an epic scale and achieving originality and analytical rigor without foregoing the pleasures of narrative.”—Christopher Clark

See more details below

Overview

“Here is revisionist history at its bracing best—conceived on an epic scale and achieving originality and analytical rigor without foregoing the pleasures of narrative.”—Christopher Clark

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Simms, of Cambridge University, is among the finest of a new generation of British historians. In his most ambitious work to date, he addresses arguably the fundamental question of British identity: is it European or insular? Simms lines up solidly with the Europeanists, but provides a global twist. He interprets Britain's greatness and survival as a function of maintaining a buffer zone on the continent. The Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire had to remain in friendly hands. In the first half of the 18th century, Britain, as a burgeoning empire, sought allies with economic resources and, when necessary, with armed force. The result was "three victories"-against Spain, Austria and in the Seven Years' War-that established a balance of power. Yet Britain's government and people began to believe the sea and the Royal Navy alone guaranteed Britain's security. Neglecting and alienating its continental neighbors led to the expansion of a debate with the North American colonies into a global war. Britain suffered disaster, but learned a lesson as well, Simms shows, maintaining in succeeding centuries the continental commitment that sustained its existence. Illus., maps. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Britain's empire and security, according to Simms (European International Relations, Univ. of Cambridge; Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia), were not so much the results of its vaunted and storied navy, but were, rather, the consequences of its many canny alliances on the continent. To forestall the always anticipated attack by France, Britain's Hanoverian kings cloaked their nation with an ever-shifting canopy of ententes, sometimes with the Dutch, sometimes the Russians, but always with someone who had an interest in containing the dreaded Bourbons. The defeat of Britain by its American colonies marked the end of that phase of British history as well as a definite downturn in the empire's fortunes. Yet again, the continent had played a pivotal role in deciding England's fate. Britain simply could not defend itself from the east while attacking to the west, and the colonists knew it. Simms has created a prolifically annotated and vividly detailed recounting of the 18th-century watershed that temporarily sundered the British Empire. Profoundly scholarly, yet still accessible to the nonscholar, it is recommended for academic and public libraries.
—Michael F. Russo

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465013326
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
12/08/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
802
Sales rank:
754,854
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >