IN DEFENSE OF THE PUBLIC LIBERTY: Britain, America and the Struggle for Independence by Samuel B. II Griffith

IN DEFENSE OF THE PUBLIC LIBERTY: Britain, America and the Struggle for Independence

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An expansive military-political account of the Revolutionary War by the author of four previous military histories. In pleasantly Victorian style, Griffith locates the Revolution in the titanic Old World struggle between Britain and France and in the personalities who executed the Anglo-American fight. Using abundant primary citations--especially extracts from debates and contemporary judgments of commanders and politicians--the book attributes the British conduct of the war to the leeway allowed arrogant administrators by Lord North, ""a born temporizer and an incurable procrastinator."" Special emphasis is laid on the Redcoats' logistical hardships, understood early in the war by General Gage when he wrote from Boston to London, ""If you think ten thousand men sufficient, send twenty, if one million is thought enough, send two."" Griffith pays tribute to the perseverance of Washington and the critical aid rendered by France, but fails to explain grass-roots American motivation. What the book does show specifically is the accelerated threat of British financial ruin and the landowners' agitation against ever-higher war taxes. Politically broader than Higginbotham's The American War of Independence (1971) and militarily more reflective than Selby's The Road to Yorktown (p. 578), what it shows in general--and it makes a good introduction--is the European context and the play of character within it.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday