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Paperback Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes Book

ISBN: 0380715449

ISBN13: 9780380715442

Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes

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Book Overview

The story of this war has usually been told in terms of a conflict between blundering British generals and their rigidly disciplined red-coated troops on the one side and heroic American patriots in... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

With Apologies to the Author...

This reviewer made an erroneous initial assumption about "Redcoats and Rebels": He thought that since RR was authored by a Brit that the final product would be a snide, avuncular, anti-American treatment of the Revolutionary War. Wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth. Author Hibbert is far tougher on his fellow countrymen than on the American colonists. With the author's able retrospect, one could almost state that the British effort was doomed from the start. Among the factors burdening the British Army were the following: >Uncertain military leadership made worse by some truly surprising infighting. >Difficulty raising a sufficient number of troops to fight a foreign war in a large, distant colony > Very poor communication among the commanders (John Burgoyne, William Howe, Henry Clinton) once they encamped in America > The mistaken impression that many American Loyalists would rally under the Union Jack. Relatively few did. > What this reviewer would term concentration on the "good life". General Burgoyne took 30 carts (!) of personal goods on his fateful trek to Saratoga. And during the fateful Winter of 1777-1778, General Howe remained closeted in the comforts of Philadelphia-with his mistress! Not 30 miles away, Washington's men were enduring the cruel season at Valley Forge. Why didn't Howe attack? > The Brits allowed themselves to be trapped in a war of attrition in which they won most battles but were sucked dry. >Lukewarm support for and even opposition to the war effort in Parliament. Author Hibbert lays bare all of these factors squarely for the reader to absorb. The author has little use for the squabbling, halting British leadership; only Charles Cornwallis receives his due. Yet Cornwallis was hung out to dry by his boss, General Clinton, to be trapped on that peninsula on the York River: "Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown". A review of R & R would not be complete without due mention to the MAPS! Most military works treat such as historical stepchildren; here they are quite useful, placed strategically throughout the text. Also, poignant quotes head each chapter. The most remarkable is from American General Nathanael Green: "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again". If the author truly believes, as he seems to, that England lost the War as much as the Americans won it, that is fair enough for this reviewer. R & R is highly rated historical reading for anyone seeking a fresh view on the Revolutionary War.


Redcoats and Rebels by Christopher Hibbert is an outstanding book on the American Revolution. The book is written through the British point of view. One interesting thing about he the book is that Hibbert is not all that glowing in his description of the British generals. Although he is British, Hibbert often speaks of how the men wished they had a leader that would get things done as Washington did. He describes the battles in a clear and interesting way. One part I liked was when he relates the shock that the British had in April of 1775. He tells of how the men were met with fire from the Patriots for the first time."We were fired at from all sides, but mostly from the rear," states one officer. One thing that is often brought up is that all the Patriots were for the longest time was a mob of farmers, and peasants. In a since this is true, yet they were just as skilled in war fair as the British, if not more. The American Revolution has always had a great appeal to me. This book is great for any one who is interested in American history, or one who just enjoys a well written book.

A Fresh Perspective

I liked this book so much I bought it three times over the past few years - one for myself, one for a friend, and a third to replace the first one after it was lost.The book is written from the perspective of a British historian, but it is remarkably balanced - much more so than most American books on the subject. In fact, the primary advantage of the book is that it doesn't fall into the trap of diefying George Washington and the founding fathers, thereby allowing a balanced approach to many issues. It gives considerable time to both the northern campaign in the Hudson Valley(ending in Saratoga and the southern campaign (starting in Charleston and ending in Yorktown), not just focusing on Washington's army and the "Valley Forge" experience.The book shows the parallels between the British experience in American and the American's experience in Vietnam. Like the Americans in Vietnam, the British received most of their intellegence and perspective from the appointed governors or the loyalists who lived in the cities. They persuaded the British government that most Americans were loyal to Britain, but they needed the British Army's protection from the few rebels who terrorized the remainder. "Protect us from the rebels," they argued, "and most Americans would be free to show their support for the Crown". As Cornwallis found in his expeditions from Charleston, once the British departed from the loyalist enclaves in the occupied cities they found the population to be very hostile. The various reasons for that hostility shows that the British war for the "hearts and minds" of Americans was lost before the first shots had been fired at Lexington and Concord, and had little to do with taxes.(1) The British had expected frontiersmen to be grateful for the protection the British army provided from Indian attacks. The opposite was true. British efforts to encourage Indians to attack rebellious settlers backfired on them. The governor of Virginia's proclamation to that effect delivered that conservative colony firmly into the rebel hands, and sent him fleeing to the safety of a British warship. (2) The further inland the British ventured from the coast, the more the British ran into Scottish and Irish immigrants (or their close descendants) who had either been kicked out of their homeland or fled due to their anti-British loyalties. Many of these settlers hated the British and were more than happy to support independence. (3) Finally, economics played a part. Many left Britain to escape its oppresive class system and poverty of the lower classes. They endured bondage as endentured servants to pay for passage, and then hardship as they cleared the forests to build farms, houses, and barns, and defend them against attacks by Indians and outlaws. Yet huge areas of America were subject to the Crown's land grants to British nobility, who argued that the settlers should be paying rent for living on the land. Those settlers were hardly willing to support a regim

A true reversal of perspective

Christopher Hibbert's "Redcoats and Rebels" is a book that would probably not have been published a quarter-century ago: it takes the most sacred of all political events, the American Revolution, and shows it through the eyes of the losing side. By the time this wonderfully readable history is finished, you are not impressed by the British side: they made one dumb mistake after another. But at least now a reader can be aware of precisely why the Americans won, and why George Washington is still to be admired. He lost battle after battle after battle after battle: and yet he won the war. He kept the army together, against all odds, and with the invaluable aid of the French, put together a coup de grace that ended the British political dominion over the newly born United States. This is a book for all lovers of political and military history, and in that, a very old-fashioned book. But anybody wanting to understand the American Revolution, the single most important armed struggle in our history (and I include the Civil War), has to take into account Hibbert's book.
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