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An American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783 Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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“'Huzzah!' for William Fowler. His superb American Crisis brings to life, with great clarity and understanding, one of the least-known, most important chapters in the long struggle for independence, and leaves no doubt of how much, once again, was owed to George Washington for how things turned out.” ―David McCullough, author of John Adams, 1776, and The Greater Journey
“Bill Fowler is the author of many important works of American history, but with American Crisis he has written the book of his long and distinguished career. Chronicling one of the least known portions of the American Revolution―the two years between Yorktown and the actual end of the war―he has created a page-turner full of intrigue, drama, and countless unexpected twists. You will never think of George Washington in quite the same way after reading American Crisis.” ―Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower
“The Revolutionary War did not end with the Allied victory at Yorktown. Two uncertain and perilous years elapsed before the peace treaty that ended the war finally took effect. At last, there is a book that examines these critical war years in detail. William Fowler's magnificent American Crisis treats General Washington's preparations for more war, the woeful American economy, peace negotiations, and the politics of the Continental army. In rich detail and graceful prose, Fowler fleshes out an often forgotten part of the War of Independence, a time that shaped and prepared Washington for the political battles on his horizon.” ―John Ferling, author of Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free and several books on George Washington
About the Author
William M. Fowler, Jr. is a distinguished professor of History at Northeastern University in Boston. Prior to that, for eight years he was director of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is the author of Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783-1815, Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock, and Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan. He lives in Reading, Massachusetts.
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Fowler's book recalls the final two years of the war, between the final battle at Yorktown in October 1781 and Washington's resignation in December 1783, where Washington faced enormous and historically unprecedented challenges in keeping the army together and preserving what had been won in battle. Rather than a mere interregnum, those two years featured crisis after crisis, as the army threatened mutinies, uprisings against congress, the states and the federal government battled bankruptcy, and the British, French, and Spanish continued to jockey for power and threaten the sovereignty of the new nation. Dr. Thomas Fleming previously covered this same period in his book, The Perils of Peace. Dr. Fowler's contribution is a wonderful narrative that is well-researched and yet highly readable for the popular audience.
Dr. Fowler provides the point of view from multiple perspectives, enhancing our understanding of the context. He views that critical period from the perspective of British parliament, American loyalists, patriot soldiers, and legislators.Read more ›
Fowler is a good writer, and is not too breezy with his prose but not dense and plodding like so many academic books. The subject is interesting, and not often told. Fowler's book is far better than Thomas Fleming's book on this subject, published a few years ago. Overall I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it with a reservation.
The book really emphasizes George Washington's perspective in the "dangerous two years after Yorktown." It is not, as the title may imply, a history of the American experiment in the 2 years after Yorktown, because it leaves out an awful lot. Who was the most important figure in America during these 2 years? Not GW, but Robert Morris. The author devotes far too little of his text to Morris's financial shenanigans and attempt to use the army (as did Hamilton) to pressure Congress to adopt his own self-serving financial plots. Thus, we really only get ½ the story of the 2 dangerous years (and arguably, most of the danger was caused by Morris in the first place.) Check the index and see how few pages are devoted to Morris and the attempts of many elites to pervert the end of the Rev War into a financial windfall for themselves. Richard Kohn's work on the subject is far more comprehsive.
We also get too little on the Society of the Cincinnati, and how it was viewed as a threat to democracy and equality. Nevertheless, the book is a good read, worth the time, and does a nice job of looking at Washington's perspective during these 2 years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting read. However a little disjointed transition and clunky when interpreting the jumps between English/Loyalist vs American viewpoints. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Darin Bohm
Read this book for the Historical Society Book Group. It's utterly engrossing and full of clear revolutionary information that is less well known.Published 7 months ago by jebriggs
Good history, left me really wanting some more conclusion based items.Published 8 months ago by Avery Devin De Marr
Learned a lot of new information on Washington and the end of the war.Published 9 months ago by J. Lewis
Surprisingly detailed narrative re the unsettled political environment on
both the American and British home fronts!
THIS BOOK WAS VERY ENLIGHTENING ABOUT THE YEARS AFTER THE SO-CALLED SURRENDER BY THE ENGLISH AT YORKTOWN. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Nicholas Dinnocenzo