It is an era that redefined history. As the 1790s began, a fragile America teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, and France plunged into revolution. But in contrast to the way conventional histories tell it, none of these remarkable events occurred in isolation.
Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization. A sweeping, magisterial drama featuring the richest cast of characters ever to walk upon the world stage, including Washington, Jefferson, Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great, The Great Upheaval is a gripping, epic portrait of this tumultuous decade that will forever transform the way we see America's beginnings and our world
"Congress does not trust me. I cannot continue thus," George Washington confided to Congressman Francis Dana of Massachusetts on his first visit to Valley Forge. Though Congressman Dana assured the general that a majority in Congress still had faith in him, he was nonetheless stunned by Washington's apparent defeatism. George Washington's threat to resign during the fateful winter at Valley Forge is just one of the many revelations awaiting the reader in Thomas Fleming's startling new book. Prize-winning author of Liberty The American Revolution and 1776: Year of Illusions, Thomas Fleming has returned to the American Revolution, demolishing long-accepted fictions of Valley Forge and cutting through layers of myth to reveal a hitherto unknown side of George Washington.
The defining moments of the Revolutionary War did not occur on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table, claims Fleming, but at Valley Forge. Fleming transports his readers to December 1777. While the British army lives in luxury in conquered Philadelphia, Washington's troops huddle in the barracks of Valley Forge, fending off starvation and disease even as threats of mutiny swirl through the regiments. Though his army stands on the edge of collapse, Washington must wage a secondary war, this one against the slander of his reputation as a general and a patriot. Readers watch as Washington strategizes not only against the British army, but against the ambitions of General Horatio Gates, the victor in the battle of Saratoga. Gates has attracted a coterie of ambitious generals who are devising ways to humiliate and embarrass Washington into resignation.
Using diaries and letters, Fleming creates an unforgettable portrait of an embattled Washington. Far from the long-suffering stoic of historical myth, Washington responds to attacks from Gates and his allies with the dexterity of a master politician. He parries the thrusts of his covert enemies and, when necessary, strikes back with ferocity and guile. While many histories portray Washington as a man who transcended politics, Fleming's Washington is an exceedingly complex man, a man whose political maneuvering allowed him to retain his command, even as he simultaneously struggled to prevent the Continental Army from dissolving into mutiny at Valley Forge.
Written with his customary flair and eye for human detail and drama, Thomas Fleming's gripping narrative develops with the authority of a major historian and the skills of a master storyteller. Washington's Secret War is not only a revisionist view of the American ordeal at Valley Forge--it calls for a new assessment of the man too often simplified into an unreal American legend. This is narrative history at its best and most vital.
This definitive biography of the revolutionary era villain overturns every myth and image we have of him
The narrative of America's founding is filled with godlike geniuses?Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson?versus the villainous Aaron Burr. Generations have been told Burr was a betrayer?of Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. All untrue. He did not turn on Hamilton; rather, the politically aggressive Hamilton was preoccupied with Burr and subverted Burr's career at every turn for more than a decade through outright lies and slanderous letters.
In "Fallen Founder," Nancy Isenberg portrays the founders as they all really were and proves that Burr was no less a patriot and no less a principled thinker than those who debased him. He was an inspired politician who promoted decency at a moment when factionalism and ugly party politics were coalescing. He was a genuine hero of the Revolution, as much an Enlightenment figure as Jefferson, and a feminist generations ahead of his time. A brilliant orator and lawyer, he was New York's attorney general, a senator, and vice president. Denounced as a man of extreme tastes, he in fact pursued a moderate course, and his political assassination was accomplished by rivals who feared his power and who promoted the notion of his sexual perversions.
"Fallen Founder" is an antidote to the worshipful biographies far too prevalent in the histories of the revolutionary era. Burr's story returns us to reality: to the cunning politicians our nation's founders really were and to a world of political maneuvering, cutthroat politicking, and media slander that is stunningly modern.
When the Continental Congress decided to declare independence from the British empire in 1776, ten percent of the population of their fledgling country were from Ireland. By 1790, close to 500,000 Irish citizens had immigrated to America. They were was very active in the American Revolution, both on the battlefields and off, and yet their stories are not well known. The important contributions of the Irish on military, political, and economic levels have been long overlooked and ignored by generations of historians. However, new evidence has revealed that Washington's Continental Army consisted of a far larger percentage of Irish soldiers than previously thought--between 40 and 50 percent--who fought during some of the most important battles of the American Revolution.Romanticized versions of this historical period tend to focus on the upper class figures that had the biggest roles in America's struggle for liberty. But these adaptations neglect the impact of European and Irish ideals as well as citizens on the formation of the revolution. Irish contributors such as John Barry, the colonies' foremost naval officer; Henry Knox, an artillery officer and future Secretary of War; Richard Montgomery, America's first war hero and martyr; and Charles Thomson, a radical organizer and Secretary to the Continental Congress were all instrumental in carrying out the vision for a free country. Without their timely and disproportionate assistance, America almost certainly would have lost the desperate fight for its existence. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Before there could be a revolution, there was a rebellion; before patriots, there were insurgents. Challenging and displacing decades of received wisdom, T. H. Breen's strikingly original book explains how ordinary Americans--most of them members of farm families living in small communities--were drawn into a successful insurgency against imperial authority.
A few celebrated figures in the Continental Congress do not make for a revolution. It requires tens of thousands of ordinary men and women willing to sacrifice, kill, and be killed. Breen not only gives the history of these ordinary Americans but, drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen documents, restores their primacy to American independence. Mobilizing two years before the Declaration of Independence, American insurgents in all thirteen colonies concluded that resistance to British oppression required organized violence against the state. They channeled popular rage through elected committees of safety and observation, which before 1776 were the heart of American resistance. American Insurgents, American Patriots is the stunning account of the insurgency that led to the nation's founding.
Though he was a hero of the Revolutionary War, a prominent New York politician, and vice president of the United States, Aaron Burr is today best remembered as the villain who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
But as H. W. Brands demonstrates in this fascinating portrait of one of the most compelling politicians in American history, Burr was also a man before his time--a proponent of equality between the sexes well over a century before women were able to vote in the US. Through Burr's extensive, witty correspondence with his daughter Theodosia, Brands traces the arc of a scandalous political career and the early years of American politics. The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr not only dramatizes through their words his eventful life, it also tells a touching story of a father's love for his exceptional daughter, which endured through public shame, bankruptcy, and exile, and outlasted even Theodosia's tragic disappearance at sea.A Paperback Original
"Exceptionally rich perspective on one of the most accomplished, complex, and unpredictable Americans of his own time or any other." --The Washington Post Book World
From the most respected chronicler of the early days of the Republic--and winner of both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes--comes a landmark work that rescues Benjamin Franklin from a mythology that has blinded generations of Americans to the man he really was and makes sense of aspects of his life and career that would have otherwise remained mysterious. In place of the genial polymath, self-improver, and quintessential American, Gordon S. Wood reveals a figure much more ambiguous and complex--and much more interesting. Charting the passage of Franklin's life and reputation from relative popular indifference (his death, while the occasion for mass mourning in France, was widely ignored in America) to posthumous glory, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin sheds invaluable light on the emergence of our country's idea of itself.
Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a best-selling author, the country's first postmaster general, a printer, a bon vivant, a diplomat, a ladies' man, and a moralist - and the most prominent celebrity of the 18th century.