America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775-1783
By Stanley Weintraub
(Free Press, Hardcover, 9780743226875, 400pp.)
Publication Date: January 4, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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For generations, Americans have been taught to view the Revolutionary War as a heroic tale of resistance, exclusively from the perspective of the Continental army and the Founding Fathers. Now, in Iron Tears, master historian Stanley Weintraub offers the first account that examines the war from three divergent and distinct vantage points: the battlefields; the American leadership under George Washington; and -- most originally -- that of England, embroiled in controversy over the war. Colonial America was England's Vietnam.
Weintraub's multifaceted analysis will forever change and expand our view of the struggle. Although Washington's army, with France's help, won the war, it is equally significant -- both then and now -- that Britain lost it. The British found themselves overwhelmed by the geographic and time constraints that prevented their military from holding on to the eighteen-hundred-mile length of the thirteen colonies, from across three thousand miles of ocean during the cumbersome era of water travel. Many in London realized that American independence was only a matter of time. Yet the British were enveloped in a fantasy world of self-delusion as the war trudged along. The unyielding George III, who ultimately threatened abdication; his lethargic prime minister, Lord North; the First Lord of the Admiralty, the corrupt Earl of Sandwich, better remembered for his paired slices of bread; and the Secretary for America, Lord George Germain, an arrogant ex-general court-martialed for cowardice in an earlier war, formed a quartet that played out of tune. As opposition to and frustration with the failing war gradually increased in parliament, in the press, and in the afflicted mercantile sector, so did pacifist sentiment for and sympathy with their American cousins.
Iron Tears renders an unprecedented account of the fight for American independence through British eyes, while dramatically narrating the battles that were waged across the Atlantic from Lexington to Yorktown and beyond. As the general, whom the British snobbishly and demeaningly referred to as "Mr. Washington," rallied to keep his ragged and overmatched Continentals together and create a nation, "iron tears" fell from redcoat muskets and cannons, as well as from the demoralized eyes of the defeated British.
Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University and the author of notable histories and biographies including 11 Days in December, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, MacArthur's War, Long Day's Journey into War, and A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War. He lives in Newark, Delaware.