From School Library Journal
The stories of the United States and Great Britain are inexorably linked beyond the Colonial ties and shared language, a connection and relationship that form the basis of this original book by Burk (history, Univ. Coll. London). While there are numerous books about specific links between the countries (see, for instance, Christopher Hitchens's Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship), Burk's study is vast and complex, assessing the total relationship. She ably addresses the political and diplomatic ties but really shines when discussing the cultural influences between the two countries; a fascinating chapter called "Nineteenth Century Travelers' Tales" explores the writings of British and American voyagers, including Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. The book is well researched—Burk used many archives on both sides of the Atlantic—and, though its heft may be intimidating, it is well written, with a strong narrative that reads like that of a shorter work. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/08.]—Mike Miller, Austin P.L., TX
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Because of the bonds of language and the common heritage of representative government, the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Great Britain may seem natural, inevitable, and even eternal. This ambitious, comprehensive, and engrossing examination of that relationship over four centuries illustrates convincingly that this alliance is of recent vintage and that it has also been characterized by tension, divergent interests, and occasional warfare. Burk is a native Californian who lives in and teaches history at University College in London, and she strives effectively to explain the connections as perceived from both sides of the Atlantic. Burk illustrates how the loyalty that colonists felt to the Crown frayed as the commercial interests of colonists and the Mother Country differed. In the nineteenth century, British and American politicians and ordinary citizens were rivals in the fur trade and opponents in the War of 1812. Even in the last century, the alliance tempered in war has seen its share of ups and downs. A superbly researched and well-written account that will be of great interest to both scholars and general readers. --Jay Freeman
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