In The Long Fuse, Don Cook investigates the American Revolution from the British side, throwing new light on this colorful age and its players. He draws from a multitude of primary sources, including personal correspondence and political memoranda, to show how Britain, at the height of her power but suffering from internal political strife, made one mistake after another, culminating in the loss of her prized colonies. In opposition to King George's American policies were such towering figures as William Pitt, Edmund Burke, and Charles James Fox; their speeches in the House of Commons are some of the best oratory in the English language. But despite their eloquence and forcefulness, they did not have the votes to prevail. In the end, the Americans rebelled as much against an English political state of mind as against the British Army. Cook takes us through the war years: King George's decision that "blows must decide" the colonies' future; Lord North's futile effort to negotiate peace after the British defeat at Saratoga, which only hastened the American alliance with France; the secret letter from Washington to Lafayette that the British intercepted, perhaps altering the outcome of the Battle of Yorktown; and the peace negotiations masterminded by Franklin and John Jay. Winner of the Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award 1996. "The Long Fuse is a marvelous new way of understanding the Revolutionary War. Many Americans have no idea of the extraordinary combination of brilliance, ignorance, stubbornness and intelligence on the British side. We won with a majestic collection of heroes, fools, geniuses, and rogues; they lost with an unforgettable cast of colorful characters. This eye-opening book is a splendid historical synthesis." - John Chancellor
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What People are Saying About This
Don Cook has given us a lively account of the British bumbling and fumbling which led to the birth of our nation. Drawing on his reporters skills in politics and diplomacy, Cook scores a real coup in The Long Fuse - he makes the British actions understandable even as he exposes their incredible stupidity. The result - the vivid chapter on the march of human folly.
The Long Fuse is a marvelous new way of understanding the Revolutionary War. Many Americans have no idea of the extraordinary combination of brilliance, ignorance, stubbornness and intelligence on the British side. We won with an objective collection of heroes, fools, geniuses and rogues; they lost with an unforgettable cast of colorful characters. This eye-opening book is a splendid historical synthesis.
Don Cook's years of experience in London as a foreign correspondent have given him a special insight into the British body politic. I read it at a footing. Cook's hero is clearly Ben Franklin, and in few accounts have I found a more appealing depiction of this Renaissance man, dealing with intransigent pig - headedness. Here is also a classic lesson how, in history, small events when handled insensitively can lead, with terrible inevitability, to great disaster.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As former national chairman of the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail Association (dedicated to the Yorktown Campaign of the American Revolution) and a passionate scholar of the Philadelphia Campaign, I have read literally hundreds of books about the American Revolution. This book is the missing piece of the puzzle. The Long Fuse is one of the only books written that talks about the decade before the American Revolution. Don Cook has written a compelling, exciting book about the reasons we went to war against England. The quotations from primary documents make the people of the 18th century come alive. Their thinking processes, their problems, personalities and fears are very real to the reader. Carefully-researched, good bibliography.
This book reveals a side of the American Revolution that few people know about... the British politics/politicans/ political bumbling tht laid the ground for, brought about and continued the America Revolution. To lesser degree (but equaly important) it touches on the reacting/opinion of the average Britian, and why the sheer geograhical lay out of the American colonies all but guarenteed why Britian could not win this war.
Perhaps what makes this book so different from other books about the American Revolution is the simplicity in which it was written. Cook uses his skills as a journalist to present a piece that is accessible and enjoyable to everyone. A great book for readers who are interested in learning about this amazing episode in American history. AEP