AMERICAN CRISIS by William Fowler Jr.


George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783
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Contrary to prevailing belief, winning the Battle of Yorktown was not enough to win the War for Independence. Fowler (History/Northeastern Univ.; Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763, 2005, etc.) examines how the young country was held together until the formal cessation of hostilities in 1783.

Debts, revenue raising, military expenditure and pensions, political faction, international intrigue—the author pulls together the threads of this period into a fast-paced presentation of what was necessary to win the peace. Though Cornwallis' troops were imprisoned after his defeat, the Redcoats were not about to leave. Savannah, Charleston, New York City and Penobscot Bay were still under occupation, and George III's troops and mercenaries continued to present a serious threat. Even more so, as Fowler documents, because of the combination of near bankruptcy and factional stalemate which, under the quorum and unanimity rules of the Articles of Confederation, rendered the Continental Congress impotent. The regular army bore the brunt of the political crisis. On one hand, every new indication that peace was at hand made it more difficult to keep the command together against desertion. On the other hand, Congress lacked the revenue to provide the financial resources which would enable Washington and his officers to secure the domestic front. Britain's commander in chief in New York was reporting regularly on the prospects for dissolution of the U.S. Army and the potential to recover his colonial possessions by taking advantage of internal strife. Fowler's narrative builds to a dramatic climax on in March 1783, when Washington and his staff outmaneuvered potential mutiny and revolt and secured unity on the question of pay and pensions. After that, British withdrawal, loyalists and other issues could be dealt with.

Solid history on the war after the war.


Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8027-1706-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2011


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