Stephen Conway is Professor of History at University College London. He is the author of The War of American Independence, 1775-1783 (1995), The British Isles and the War of American Independence (2000) and War, State and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (2006).
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A Short History of the American Revolutionary War
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Ideologically defined by the colonists' formal Declaration of Independence in 1776, the struggle has taken on something a mythic character, especially in the United States. From the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere's ride to raise the countryside of New England against the march of the Redcoats; from the heroic resistance of the militia Minutemen at the battles of Lexington and Concord to the famous crossing of the Delaware by General George Washington; and from the American travails of Bunker Hill (1775) to the final humiliation of the British at Yorktown (1781), the entire contest is now emblematic of American national identity. Stephen Conway shows that, beyond mythology, this was more than just a local conflict: rather a titanic struggle between France and Britain. The thirteen colonies were merely one frontline of an extended theatre of operations, with each superpower aiming to deliver the knockout blow. This bold new history recognizes the war as the Revolution but situates it on the wider, global canvas of European warfare.
'Conway has told this sprawling story with authority and clarity.'
Ira D. Gruber, Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History, Rice University
'Stephen Conway offers a compelling explanation of why Britain lost America. At the same time, his broader perspective shows that it was a war that the British did not entirely lose, since they won major victories against the Bourbons in 1782 and succeeded in bankrupting France.'
Andrew O'Shaughnessy, Professor of History, University of Virginia and Saunders Director, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello