Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter
Alan Taylor’s latest work is an extraordinarily comprehensive history of the political and social turmoil that engulfed America in the late 18th century and how it impacted every segment of the population.
His unvarnished account takes the bark off the story of America’s struggle for independence, informed by a focus on the often brutal reality that accompanied the war – particularly for Loyalists, Native Americans, and African Americans.
Taylor debunks the traditional notions of our revolutionary enterprise as an idealistic and heroic venture, but his emphasis on its bloody and cruel aspects obscures the fact that America’s revolution was less violent and more democratic than many others.
While Taylor’s work is deeply informed and thought-provoking, it arguably under-appreciates the heroic nature of a struggle for political and economic self-determination that has been a source of global inspiration for more than two centuries.