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The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies 1760-1785 Paperback – September 9, 1996

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Retelling the saga of the American Revolution from the viewpoint of Mother England, Cook ingeniously portrays the 13 colonies' breakaway as a succession of inexorable blunders and collective missteps in London that led to an unnecessary, unwinnable war. Former political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Herald Tribune, Cook lays the lion's share of blame at the feet of autocratic King George III, who prodded his government into war-provoking acts, refusing all suggestions of compromise. Cook's vivid, wonderfully readable narrative sheds new light on the origins of the American Revolution and is peopled with memorable characters: Anglophile diplomat/scientist Benjamin Franklin, testifying before the House of Commons in London against the oppressive Stamp Act in 1766; Isaac Barre, fierce, rough-talking, one-eyed British colonel, sympathetic to the American cause, who warned Parliament that a revolution could be brewing; amiable, indecisive British prime minister Lord North, totally unfit to wage war, who repeatedly tendered his resignation in vain; parliamentarian William Pitt, who dared to question the king's wisdom in fiery oratory. Cook provocatively concludes that with a more conciliatory policy, England might well have reached an accommodation that would have kept the American colonies in the British Empire.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

Delineating the political culture of corruption and bribery that pervaded London and disgusted Americans like Benjamin Franklin, Cook convincingly concludes that the war was lost as much in London as on the colonial battlefields. Illuminating new perspective on an old topic.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Paperback Ed edition (September 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871136619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871136619
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An enjoyable, eminently readable narrative of the American Revolution. Cook concentrates on the political aspects of the revolution, particularly on the British side of the pond. He gives Ben Franklin the starring role on the American side. Despite concentrating strongly on the "high politics" of the era, Cook never bogs down in the details, and the result will be of wide interest to armchair historians and the general public alike. This book should be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in the Revolution, Ben Franklin, or the the state of the late eighteenth century British Empire.
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Format: Paperback
I discovered this book thanks to Amazon's personalized recommendations, and I am very grateful. This is simply a wonderful book. It opens up a side of the Revolutionary War that is rarely taught or discussed, and therefore provides a depth of understanding that is extremely valuable; and somehow, the author has made this a thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing read. I literally did not want to put it down. Reading the actual text of Ben Franklin's testimony to the House of Commons was very compelling, particularly in the context the author created. Although I must admit I am a big history fan, I believe that anyone with even a mild interest would be very happy that they read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable history. It's difficult to find a history about the British attitudes towards the American Revolution and what was going on in England & Parliament during the years 1770 to 1800, but this fit the bill. It's such a huge topic, though, it needs more books written about it.
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Format: Paperback
If you've ever wondered how the British could have been so continually and incredibly stupid as to lose their American colonies, this book will answer your questions! It provides a view of the Revolution not often encountered by Americans. Your view of the American Revolution is not complete without this view. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Cook's book is an accomplishment in historical prose. Primarily taken from diaries and other primary sources, it relates the tensions in Britain after the 1760's. The author deftly deliniates the intricacies of politics, economics, power, and the behind the scenes attempts at peace that wove themselves at Parliament and the Court of George III. The writing flows and Cook makes his points clearly. Enjoyable for the armchair enthusiast as well as the scholar. A must for the shelf of any historian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the absolute best books of history I have ever read. Reads more like a thriller than non-fiction. If you have always wanted to know just how the English managed to lose this country you will find the answers here. I will find everything else Don Cook wrote and get it as well!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a history of our Revolution that few of us is aware of, the POV of the English. A truly fascinating read and confirmation that our Revolution could have been avoided had there been more reasonable at the helm on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides a thoughtful and informative look at the human aspects of the British failures that enabled the success of the American Independence. Unlike many histories that focus on dry, technical discussions of political and military aspects of the American Revolution, this book discusses the personalities and character traits, ambitions, personal animosities, political rivalries, and political miscalculations of King George III and key British civilian and military leaders that resulted in the failure of the British to prevent American independence.

Drawing on a broad range of documentary and historical sources, the author presents a highly readable, lively, and fascinating study of how King George III, British civilian leaders, and British military leaders: (1) often allowed their personal ambitions, personal animosities, political rivalries, and class prejudices to cloud their judgment; (2) failed to recognize or understand the nature and intensity of American colonial resistance to increasing British regulation and taxation; (3) rejected advice and recommendations that were reasonably calculated to reduce tensions with the American colonies, and adopted policies and practices that aggravated those tensions; (4) ignored significant warning signs that their decisions, policies, and actions were often ineffective and counterproductive; (5) indulged in wishful thinking about the ability of the British military to successfully defeat the American military forces despite the serious manpower and logistical problems involved; and (6) unrealistically sought to end the Revolutionary War on terms favorable to Great Britain despite repeated British failures.
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