Praise for "The Men Who Lost America"

Prestigious Book Awards:

  • Winner, New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize
  • Winner, Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award
  • Finalist, 2014 George Washington Book Prize
  • Finalist, Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History
  • Winner, Cincinnati History Prize
  • Winner, 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival Award in Regional Literature

Reviews

“Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy has written a remarkable book about an important but curiously underappreciated subject: the British side of the American Revolution. With meticulous scholarship and an eloquent writing style, O'Shaughnessy gives us a fresh and compelling view of a critical aspect of the struggle that changed the world. This is a great book.” —Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

 “Much of [the book’s] value lies in the sheer volume of engaging material it brings together and in the originality of its organization and approach to a much studied question, namely why Britain lost the War of the American Revolution. . . . A treasure‑trove of information on the British operation of the ar.”—Richard Johnson, University of Washington 

“Scrupulously researched and superbly written, these humanizing portraits of conventional cardboard figures from American history offer, like all great history, lessons for today: military might does not guarantee political success; do not try to govern that which you do not own; and resist empire's temptations.” —Gary Hart, United States Senator (Ret.)

“Deeply researched, carefully argued, and clearly written, The Men Who Lost America cuts through the thick crust of romantic myths to cast the American Revolution in a refreshing new light. Blessed with an impartial, open mind, Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy reveals the talents as well as the human foibles of a rich cast of intriguing characters including America's last king. In the end, O’Shaughnessy gives the American revolutionaries exactly what their story has so long needed: worthy adversaries who fought hard and well.” —Alan Taylor, author of The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies

“Beautifully written and deeply researched, The Men Who Lost America is a great achievement. It will provide any interested reader with a delightfully user‑friendly way of understanding how and why the British lost the revolutionary war.” —Pauline Maier, author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787‑1788

“Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy brings the human experience of the Revolutionary era to life in these graceful sketches of ten British political and military leaders. To see the period from the perspective of the able, earnest men who struggled to hold the British Empire together is to understand the origins of the United States in ways that Americans have seldom tried to imagine them. It’s about time we did, and there’s no better place to start than with this book.”—Fred Anderson, University of Colorado, Boulder    

"In all the histories of the British Empire and American independence there is no book quite like this. With crisp, sensitive analysis, and in compelling detail, Andrew O'Shaughnessy explains how the British--from King George III to the men who fought for him--handled the greatest imperial crisis of their time. The Men Who Lost America changes our view of one of the most critical events in modern world history. A must-read for military history and biography lovers alike."—Maya Jasanoff, Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World

"In a really splendid work of revisionist history, Andrew O’Shaughnessy turns everything you ever thought you knew about why the British lost the Revolutionary War on its head. With meticulous research, close arguing and a fine written style, he has singlehandedly rescued the reputation of British statesmen, administrators, generals and their sovereign, while simultaneously explaining why George III really lost the colonies."—Andrew Roberts, author of Eminent Churchillians

"In this wonderfully balanced account O'Shaughnessy restores the reputation of the British officers sent to America to defeat a revolution. Often portrayed as incompetent losers, he shows that in fact these men fought courageously in what turned out to be an impossible mission. This is a sobering story for those who still exaggerate the ease with which a professional army can crush a distant insurgency."—T.H. Breen, author of "American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People

"Anyone interested in the American Revolution and its war should read Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s new book. In a series of skilfully crafted biographical studies, he paints a revealing picture of the British politicians, generals, and admirals who lost America, but held on to much of the rest of their world-wide empire, despite their having, from 1778, to fight against first France, then Spain, and finally the Dutch as well as the American rebels."—Stephen Conway, Professor of History, UCL, and author of The British Isles and the War of Independence

“Andrew O'Shaughnessy is a genuinely British-American scholar, and he brings just the right intelligence to solve a problem that American scholars have never taken that seriously, and British scholars have generally avoided. What did the British really think they were doing, when they put negotiations aside and tried to preserve their North American empire by force? O'Shaughnessy answers this question with a set of deft portraits of the leaders who made British policy. The result is a deeply sympathetic, perhaps almost tragic portrait of a group of leaders who struggled to keep the empire whole, but whose decisions were repeatedly undermined by conditions and misunderstandings they never mastered. This is the book that serious historians have long lacked, and its publication is a major contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution."—Jack Rakove, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

"Enormously enjoyable."—Sir Michael Howard OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA, Emeritus Regius Professor of History, Oxford University, and author of Captain Professor: A Life in War and Peace

“Andrew O'Shaughnessy's pen portraits of the leaders in Britain's war for America are the historical equivalent of Reynolds or Gainsborough's work. Deeply researched and carefully executed, they give new insight into the pre-eminent figures of the age." Mark Urban, broadcaster, diplomatic editor of BBC 2 Newsnight and author of Fusiliers: Eight Years with the Redcoats in America

“What was it like to be one of the ten Britons posterity has blamed for losing America? Andrew O'Shaughnessy brings to life the famous men who fronted the British war effort during the American War of Independence in this page-turning account of the worst defeat in the history of the British empire. The stories of their heroism and commitment, both on the battlefield and off, told in separate but interlinking chapters, gets past the stereotype of an imperial government intent on suppressing its colonies and offers instead a long-overdue mature account of a war Britain almost won."—Julie Flavell, author of When London Was Capital of America'

"A highly-effective account of the role of leadership at a key moment in world history."—Jeremy Black, author of Britain in the Eighteenth Century

The British politicians and commanders who led the American War are often painted as blimps, bunglers or barbarians. Andrew O'Shaughnessy's richly detailed, deeply researched book brings them back to life as eminently capable men fighting an ultimately unwinnable conflict. His sympathetic pen-portraits not only give these great Britons their due--they make the colonists' achievement in defeating them all the more impressive."—David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Harvard University

“The Men who Lost America - George III and the leading politicians, generals and admirals who served him - have had a very bad press in much of the historiography on the American War of Independence. Because the war was lost, their failings have been highlighted to the exclusion of their undoubted merits. At last, Andrew O'Shaughnessy has done justice to their abilities and efforts, while not neglecting their weaknesses and mistakes. We cannot appreciate the huge effort Britain made to win the war nor the immense sacrifices made by the American colonists if we do nothing but denigrate the abilities of these men who tried so hard to keep America within the British Empire."—Harry T. Dickinson, University of Edinburgh

Title: The Men Who Lost America, British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire 
Author: Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy

Price: $37.50 * ISBN: 978‑0‑300‑19107‑3 Cloth * eBook ISBN: 978‑0‑300‑19524‑8
Pages: 496 * 33 color illus. + 7 maps
Available now!

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