Our First Civil War by H.W. Brands: 4****

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One of our leading historians tackles the Revolutionary War in his newest book, and while it is not quite up to the level of his prior works it is a solid work on that period in US history that we all know about (We Won!) but of which little is really known of all the behind the scenes work that went on in the US, with the military, in London and Paris. One of the main issues I had with this book is the title. I had expected a much more detailed look at those people living in America at the time and the contrast between the Revolutionaries and the Loyalists. It never really meets the standard laid out in the title. We do have lots of information on Washington, Franklin, John Adams, as well as the politicians in London and Paris, but as to the average loyalist in America there are very few glimpses of their lives. Yes one or two do shine through but this book is basically about the elites and how things maneuvered during this period. Fascinating book in that regard, with a heavy emphasis on personal correspondence and diaries of these individuals (sometime a tad bit too much verbatim quotations). And we see the highs and lows among the rulers in England, the Congress in Philly, our military leaders and the difficulties that all parties had during his momentous period of World History. Very good book, not his best, but it does shine a light on a topic that Brands has not really delved into in his previous works.

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