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Redcoats and Rebels

The War for America 1770-1781

written by Christopher Hibbert

The Folio Society | ISBN 677995321452



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‘The die is cast. The colonies must either submit or triumph ...’

The story of the American revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, is often celebrated as the triumph of heroic American patriots over tyrannical imperialists. Yet, as this gripping and detailed account reveals, it hardly seemed like that to those who lived through it. Many English radicals supported the American cause, while many Americans wanted to remain under British rule. Others kept changing sides, quite happy, as one captain reported, to 'swallow the Oaths of Allegiance to the King and Congress alternately with as much ease as your Lordship does poached Eggs'.

Christopher Hibbert has been described as 'perhaps the most gifted popular historian we have' (Times Educational Supplement). Here, drawing largely on British and loyalist sources, many of them hitherto unused by historians, he has created a powerful new narrative of the war that raged the length of the continent. Leading figures like John Adams, Lord North, Thomas Paine and William Pitt are sharply characterised and the politics and personalities of George III's court come to life as we learn not only how George Washington and his colonists won the war, but also how the British lost it. Battles, marches and the horrible realities of warfare are vividly realised: recruitment posters encouraged unemployed young men to 'nick in and enlist', so they might be 'admired by the fair' and 'get switched to a buxom widow'. Yet it was they who bore the brunt of the 'cruel, accursed' war, and it is from their perspective, and in their own words, that Hibbert tells his historic story.

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