Crisis of Empire
Britain and America in the Eighteenth CenturyBook - 2008
Britain and the USA have helped define much of world history in recent centuries, and the relationship between the two is crucial to this history. This book focuses on a key period in their relationship that moulded the character of the British Empire, the USA and the way the two have interacted since. The rise and crises of empires will always fascinate the observer because in their fate we see much of human history. Certainly the struggle for empire in the 18th Century was key to the fate of North America.
British victory followed by the American Revolution helped to define the modern world. The European nations of Britain, France and Spain were eager for predominance and the trappings of trade, land and prestige. Within North America, there were the local agents of these powers and their subjects, who in turn held their own interests and views; whilst the Native Americans were more than simply the passive victims of European expansion.
This fascinating and complex story is told by Black with narrative drive and scholarly acumen.
The relationship between Britain and America is still a complex one. Is it defined by the American Revolution or by the years of settlement, trade and facing common enemies? Black (history, University of Exeter) looks at the tangled history of Britain and its colony from the perspective of events in the rest of Europe particularly France. He also punctures the American belief that the only rationale for the revolution, or "civil war" was the desire for universal liberty. The fate of Native and African Americans, as was debated at the time, does not support this. However, the main thrust of the book is that the reasons for the break with England were not the ones of the rallying cries, but more subtle and, sometimes, less honorable. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)