The Men Who Lost America British Leadership the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to

  • Title: The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire
  • Author: Andrew O'Shaughnessy
  • ISBN: 9780300191073
  • Page: 240
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they This intriguing book makes a different argument Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the waThe loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they This intriguing book makes a different argument Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George III, Prime Minister Lord North, military leaders including General Burgoyne, the Earl of Sandwich, and others who, for the most part, led ably and even brilliantly Victories were frequent, and in fact the British conquered every American city at some stage of the Revolutionary War Yet roiling political complexities at home, combined with the fervency of the fighting Americans, proved fatal to the British war effort The book concludes with a penetrating assessment of the years after Yorktown, when the British achieved victories against the French and Spanish, thereby keeping intact what remained of the British Empire.

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    About “Andrew O'Shaughnessy

    1. Andrew O'Shaughnessy says:

      Andrew O Shaughnessy is the Saunders Director of the Robert H Smith International Centre for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and Professor of History at the University of Virginia Originally from Britain, he lectured at the University of Oxford before moving to the US, where he currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.



    2 thoughts on “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire

    1. This is a fascinating work on the American Revolution. It is told as a tale of English leaders--political (George III, Lord North, Lord Germain, the Earl of Sandwich), army (Generals Howe, Burgoyne, Clinton, and Cornwallis), and navy (Admirals Howe and Rodney) One narrative of the success of the Revolutionary War is poor leadership by the British. This book, though, contends that many of the leaders were actually very good. Leadership was not, in fact the reason for the American victory.George I [...]

    2. In the popular imagination of Americans, the revolution has been reduced to a cartoon, a story dominated by the “heroes”: the colonists that rallied to the cause of independence with enthusiasm, and the brilliant and noble military genius the lead them to victory, George Washington. As far as the British have any role in this myth, they are typically portrayed, cartoonishly, as evil tyrants bent on destroying liberty. All of these assumptions, which make up the popular image of the Revolutio [...]

    3. Very, very informative. There's a lot to absorb, so it can be a bit of a drag to get through it at times. If you're interested in this part of history, though, it's very definitely worth it.

    4. This book takes the viewpoint of the British political and military leaders who were the prime decision-makers during the American Revolution. It profiles the following 10 prominent characters who had varying degrees of influence during the course of the war. 1. King George III2. Lord North, Prime Minister from 1770-17823. George Germain, Secretary of State for America in Lord North's Cabinet4. General William Howe, Commander-in-Chief at the beginning of the war thru 17785. Lord Admiral Richard [...]

    5. This book is a detailed account of British elites clashing with each other over matters of policy, precedence and place on promotion schedules and political matters unrelated to the war with the American colonies related through a series of liked biographies of four political leaders, three generals, two admirals and one king. They did lose America but not for the reasons many of us have come to believe. British and their German allies/mercenaries were generally brave, resourceful soldiers led b [...]

    6. First and foremost, I think this book is an important one.As an American, I can easily attest to just how biased lessons on the American Revolution are at all levels of schooling, except perhaps under the very best college professors. On one hand, this makes complete sense; the winners write history, and of course the victorious Americans want to play up their success. No one ever denies that the British were immensely powerful (and not only in terms of their military strength and prowess) and s [...]

    7. The Men Who Lost America is a rare history of the American Revolution, one which follows not the revolutionaries, but their opponents: the British leadership of the late 18th century. Although largely till a military history, it offers a greater survey of the war than most, covering the European battles for power in the Caribbean and South America.I requested this volume primarily to learn about British politics at the time of the revolution, since for all the rage fixed on George III, Great Bri [...]

    8. This book is a masterpiece of analytical historical writing. Anyone seeking a good understanding of the American Revolution should read it. The book enilghtened me to the fact that the English, far from being a tyrannical force seeking to crush under heel the rights of man in America, where in fact quite legitimately seeking to put down what they regarded as a criminal rebellion.The popular notion of Washington, Jefferson and the Continental Congress as the standard bearers of liberty rising in [...]

    9. Quite understandably, every nation needs its own origin myth, and the country of my birth is no exception. George Washington wintering at Valley Forge, the traitorous Benedict Arnold, and the larger than life "founding fathers" all are all bits and pieces that make up our war of independence from the tyrannical and fiendish British Empire. Except, like every story, this one has two sides. The Men Who Lost America is a book that attempts to shed light on that "other side." Split up into chapters [...]

    10. This book has an interesting and I think a needed theme, the lives of the men who 'Lost America'. Coming from an American background and education, the names Gentleman Johnny, and Charles 'bag a fox' Cornwallis often mean a serious of generals who were either unable to win the war or gentlemen soldiers who had no business being on the battlefield. As the author points out, the British politicians were anything but incompetents but actually quite accomplished in most cases. The series of short bi [...]

    11. The Men Who Lost America is a fairly 'stodgy' read in a way, with a combination of small font size and dense prose making it slow going, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. O'Shaughnessy paints compelling portraits of the key players on the British side during the Revolution, considering the reasons behind their choices and suggesting that circumstances and incorrect intelligence, rather than plain incompetence, led to their ultimate defeat. Prior knowledge of the major events of the Revolution is [...]

    12. O'Shaughnessy undermines American Revolution myths of British incompetence with a group biography of the very talented, professional and effective commanders who waged a war in America that was fatally undercut by unreachable goals (as I say in class--if you thought collecting taxes was difficult *before*), vast geography and political divisions in Britain. The author is one of my favorites going back to Empire Divided, so this is a delightful confirmation of my own conclusions.

    13. One of the greatest problems in the writing of history, whether by scholars or by amateurs, is to start from the end and then look back to find out why it happened like that. History-makers don't have that option available to them. A better understanding of 'why did this happen' is reached by working forward rather than working back, because blind alleys that at the time looked promising make more sense. O'Shaugnessy's book falls just short of the coveted five-star ranking because he doesn't qui [...]

    14. I enjoy reading histories and especially histories of our Revolution. Most of these histories are written from the perspective of the Americans as this war is not viewed as particularly noteworthy to the British. Therefore, it is rare to find a history that deals with the the British views and problems they endured during this conpflict. This book is one of those rare volumes that examines the British side and it does this by giving the reader a brief biography of the 9 primary British character [...]

    15. Interesting to read this history from the British perspective. They were overextended against multiple opponents. British forces were configured as an army of conquest when they needed an army of occupation. And never failed to overestimate the support they would get from the locals. Does any of this sound familar?

    16. Readable and informative. Suffers from some copyeditting sloppiness, such as confusing the War of the Spanish Succession with the War of the Austrian Succession or getting the dates of events wrong by twelve months (placing them in 1777 instead of 1776, etc.).Here we have nine biographies of the ten men (the Howe brothers get a joint biography) who were chiefly in charge of conceiving and implementing British strategy in the American Revolutionary War. Sometimes the portraits drawn are surprisin [...]

    17. In our youth we Americans learn little about the main British figures and factors of the revolutionary era. Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy is here to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with a sturdy book comprising 10 biographical essays, leading with a superb sketch of George III. The connective tissue holding the short biographies together is the author's contextual analysis of the war's strategy and tactics, victories and defeats, missed opportunities, mistakes, contingencies, domestic politics, [...]

    18. A book that is really a collection of short biographies on all the major players on the British side of the American Revolution; Generals Howe, Clinton, Burgoyne, Cornwallis, Admiral Rodney, and the Politicians Prime Minister Lord North, Minister for America Lord George Germain and 1st Lord of the Admiralty the Earl of Sandwich. Interestingly is seems to be sin that cost these men success, Generals Howe and Clinton the two overall commanders of the war where more concerned with their mistresses [...]

    19. When I started reading the book, I expected to know who had the most faults behind the defeat of British Empire in America. However, it turns out that the British were fighting the war that they could not win. From the imposition of Stamp Act to the surrender of Yorktown, every actors from George III to Earl Sandwich had their own troubles. The insistence of using coercive methods to pound the revolutionaries to submission, the false believe in the large number of loyalists’ support, the overe [...]

    20. A well researched, engaging history of the American revolution from the British perspective. Sometimes O'Shaughnessy seems to be arguing against the thesis that "all British generals were complete buffoons 100% of the time," which is, frankly, pretty easy to disprove.But the book is full of so many fascinating details and illuminating quotes that the weakness of its argument is easily forgiven. Did you know Sir Henry Clinton referred to himself as a "shy bitch" in his journal? Or that Lord North [...]

    21. I never understood the American Revolution, but this book looking at it from the British side explains a lot about the world at that time, what the Brits did to get the Americans riled up and why it was nearly impossible to stop the revolution once it had started. This war divided Britain the way Vietnam divided the United States two centuries later. Also, the British tendency to elevate the wrong people came into play; the leaders who best understood what it would take to defeat the American Re [...]

    22. Fantastic study on the British role in the American Revolution. Tremendous leadership and human factor insights. I learned more about the Revolution than I ever knew. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that studies leadership, human behavior, organizational behavior, military history, and American/British history.

    23. This is an excellently written biography on these men -- their triumphs, struggles, and weakness. O'Shaughnessy does a very good job of pointing out Great Britain's economic and global challenges that contributed to the failure of victory in America. For anyone who is truly interested in the American Revolution from all points of views, this is a must read!

    24. I would never read a bio on any of these individuals but 10 mini bios was a great idea. Eye opening for someone who has always been exposed to the American Revolution from the US perspective.

    25. "The men who lost America were also the men who saved Canada, India, Gibraltar, and the British Caribbean."

    26. ‘These are the times that try men’s souls.’ 'Your failure is, I am persuaded, as certain as fate. America is above your reachher independence neither rests upon your consent, nor can it be prevented by your arms. In short, you spend your substance in vain, and impoverish yourself without hope.' Thomas Paine, "To the People of England," 1774In this scholarly but very accessible book, O'Shaughnessy takes the view that Britain's loss was not inevitable, and that in most cases the commanders [...]

    27. Overall, this is an interesting book which seeks to examine the American Revolution from the British side. The personalities of the British leaders, political and military, are engagingly drawn, and the sense of the contingency of history is well argued. O'Shaughnessy is arguing that the leadership of Britain was more effective than they are given credit for, and that they could have won, if things had gone just a bit differently. At the same time, he's arguing that they were up against greater [...]

    28. "The Men Who Lost America" is a look at the British generals, admirals, ministers, and king that had major roles in the American Revolution. Each individual is considered in their own chapter. I addition to biographical elements, each chapter considers the question how that British leader contributed to the losing effort in the war.O'Shaughnessy is pretty fair on all the main characters, acknowledging both good and bad decisions on their parts. The author does not seek to put the blame on any on [...]

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