THE AMERICAN WAR OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, 1763-1783 by Robert Goldston

THE AMERICAN WAR OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, 1763-1783

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The impact of Goldston's attention-getting title is considerably diluted by his characterization of the Revolution as basically ""a rich man's quarrel and a poor man's fight."" Though he rejects the notion that economic self-interest was the primary motive, Goldston presents independence as basically an ""establishment"" movement and maintains that a climate of indifference, if not hostility, prevailed among the people as a whole--far from being Mao's ""mighty ocean,"" the natural environment in which revolutionary freedom fighters swim, the people largely resisted military service and were reluctant to help the army in their midst. With a nod in the direction of recent studies that challenge that view (see Morgan, p. 1160), Goldston does recognize the Continental Army as a radicalizing force; in his terms, it served as ""the Continental School of Rebellion--and its classes graduated with gratifying rapidity."" It all hangs together as well as can be expected in such a slight, narrative framework. But we'd like to have seen a bibliographic essay or at least some acknowledgment of where Goldston's interpretation fits into the ongoing process of historical analysis. As it is, Goldston replaces a long outworn view with a newer but already fading one, and never cues his readers in on the causes for, or the significance of the shift.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1976
Publisher: Dutton