Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers Hardcover – May 8, 2007
|New from||Used from|
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
No, there's a larger problem here: repetition. Two pages after Barone tells us that the fortress of Phillipsburg "spans the Rhine," he repeats the same phrase. Historians he's quoted from are re-identified. Two or three times we hear that Holland was a whirlwind of printing presses and pamphlets which were a chief propaganda tool. The ways in which James tried to pack Parliament are explained more than once in too-similar language, and I could list other examples of unnecessary repetition in a book that's under 250 pages of primary text. They're all annoying.
Almost as annoying is the lack of maps, the quality of what's there, and their placement. Why is the map charting the progress of William's army in England tucked in after an appendix and almost 100 pages after it's necessary? It's not even mentioned in the Table of Contents. Why is there no full map of England with its various counties, since they're so frequently brought up? Not even an Anglophile like myself knows where they all are. Why is the map of The United Provinces so sketchy, so that major towns mentioned in the text don't appear on it? Why is there no map of Europe in that period, so that when mention is made of various principalities and duchies you can see where they are? Had I not just read Jessica Mitford's Frederick of Prussia, I wouldn't know where many of the German states referred to in Barone's text are located. These are not trivial omissions in a book about the movement of armies and the threats to sundry territories.
To give a few examples:
* On page 6, the author is discussing the populations of various areas at the time of the Glorious Revolution. He writes: "Britain's North American colonies had about 250,000." But then, at the end of the same long and confusing paragraph, he writes, "...Spain's Latin American colonies had approximately 10 million, while the English North American colonies had only 280,000." I kept looking for the signal phrase that would indicate that the numbers 250,000 and 280,000 are meant to refer to different things, but I can't find it.
* On page 24, the author writes that "John Evelyn heard the sermon at the king's chapel...." I don't believe that Evelyn had previously been introduced in the book, and there is no explanation of who he is. He is mentioned at least one other time, again with no clue as to who he is, on page 27. But then, on page 49, the author introduces a quotation from Evelyn's diary with this phrase: "As John Evelyn, a Kent landowner who seems to have known everyone in London, noted in his diary...." Wouldn't it be better to give us that short explanation of who Evelyn was the first time he's mentioned?
* On page 97, the author introduces "one of the most remarkable characters of the period, Robert Spencer, the Earl of Sutherland." However, later in the paragraph, he refers to him not as Sutherland, but as Sunderland.Read more ›
The book's strength is its analysis of the geopolitical context that surrounded William's decision to invade and James II's action and inaction. Besides the well known religious issue, a Catholic king vs. a protestant nobility and population, other pressures included William being fourth in line to the throne, with his wife being the second, and his desire to get England onto his side against France. At the same time France's military actions in central Europe and even Ottoman actions in Eastern Europe created the conditions that allowed William to act when he did.
The book's weakness is in its analysis of what it purports to do; argue that the "revolution" inspired America's founding fathers. After nine chapters of traditional narrative history Barone leaves this argument to the very end and offers little support. First his argument is based on an assumption that Catholicism was bad for England and Protestantism was good. This assumption is critical because many of his arguments in favor of the "revolution" rely on what happened in England after the invasion vs. what MIGHT have occurred had James remained king. The problem with comparing the facts of reality to the supposition of what never occurred, but might have, is that it can never be proven or tested.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Michael Barone’s examination of the English Revolution of 1688-1989, “Our First Revolution,” came highly recommended to me but turned out to be a major disappointment and let... Read morePublished on February 15, 2014 by Hansen Alexander
Ok, to me this is clearly "pop" history - the kind of fun history buff book you buy at the airport . . (I got it at a darn good price so maybe I shouldn't go negative but . . . Read morePublished on January 16, 2012 by JC Davenport
I simply could not make it through this book, and I inevitably hate myself for giving up on any book. Read morePublished on June 10, 2011 by VA Duck
This is an amazing story! Without the Glorious Revolution the United States and the world would be vastly different today. Read morePublished on September 27, 2010 by Chawks
Our First Revolution, by Michael Barone, is the story of the Revolution of 1688 in Britain in which James II was forced from the throne and replaced by the joint monarchs William... Read morePublished on June 16, 2010 by Leonard J. Wilson
Michael Barone is a very smart man, and his name as author convinced me to read this book. Great story, but poorly told. Read morePublished on April 12, 2010 by Roger Snowden
You may be familiar with Michael Barone due to his appearances on Fox News on primary and general election nights in which he dispenses great insights resulting from his... Read morePublished on April 11, 2010 by Eric Mayforth
This work is about the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 that brought William and Mary to power in England and deposed James II. Read morePublished on December 5, 2009 by David M. Dougherty