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The War for America, 1775-1783 Paperback – February 1, 1993
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In addition to all of the above, the book is extremely well written, a pleasure to read.
This book presents the history of the war from a British point view. Given that it is from a British point of view it covers the war in its entirety from the causes and collision on the green in Lexington, MA to the final shots exchanged in India some eight years later.
The scope of this tome is at the strategic level. This will make it a bit of a surprise for most American readers who are used to the tactical and the operational when it comes this truly global conflict. Global in that the action takes place not just in North America, but also: The East Indies, The West Indies, Central America, The Caribbean, Gibraltar, Minorca, The English Channel, The Atlantic, Africa, and of course India.
In fact the percentage of text which actually covers the operations in North America which most Americans are familiar with is only about 25% of the book. Because it is a strategic overview there is much of the political wrangling which shaped the strategy and limited it as well. This means that readers more familiar with land operations are in for a whole lot of naval history in this book.
The highlights of this book besides its readability given the complexity of the topic are the focus on logistics. As any scholar of war in the American tradition knows logistics trump tactics. This book provides a keen insight into British abilities, failures and accomplishments when trying to fight a global campaign. Of note is the revelation that most British supplies from shovels, bullets, uniforms and even food for the operations in North America were shipped in from the home islands some 3,000 miles away.Read more ›
"The War for America" focuses on British leadership and decision making during the period of the American Revolution. The author, Piers Mackesy, clearly lays out the objectives of his book this way: "first...to examine the making and executing of strategy in one of England's great eighteenth-century wars, and to create a detailed model of the machine at work; the second, to judge a war Ministry in the light of circumstance rather than results."
In my experience, the challenges and dilemmas that emerge from the narrative apply directly to present day large-scale business enterprises: the danger of a fixed and narrow view of a competitor; the struggle of allocating scarce resources based on imperfect information; the damage caused by personal friction and poor communication between key executives; and the paralysis resulting from differences of opinion over the primary strategic objectives.
To begin with, Mackesy makes it clear that the British never really understood "the market" they were competing in. The overwhelming consensus at Whitehall (and Paris) was that the rebel cause was flamed by a tiny, vocal clique and that a silent loyalist majority was just waiting to be led back to the sovereignty of the crown. This assumption was foundational to the initial British strategy of cutting off rebellious New England from the rest of the colonies and then the southern invasion designed to rally what was supposed to be widespread and deep loyalist sentiment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good presentation of the AWI from the British point of view.Published 17 months ago by Michael E Haggett
It became a bit tedious for me as I read this book. The author is much too detailed describing the various ministers, officers, etc. Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by Walter
One of the things you can gain from reading history is a new, different outlook on familiar subjects. Read morePublished on January 27, 2011 by 2N2Make4
Along with Higganbotham's The War of American Independence, Mackesy gets my vote for the best single volume work regarding the Revolutionary War. Read morePublished on March 9, 2009 by Philip Draper
I agree with the other reviewers who praise this book. They have already done a good job summarizing it, so I won't bother. Read morePublished on December 22, 2008 by Roger Berlind
I always wondered how the Americans pulled this off. This book puts the war of rebellion in perspective with what was going on in Europe. Read morePublished on October 28, 2008 by J. Conant
Good perspective from the British view, but not what one might call a page turner by any means....Published on March 4, 2008 by Historian