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An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America

Nick Bunker.
Publisher Knopf  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
ISBN 9780307594846
Pages/Publication Date 429/2014
Daedalus Item Code 64799
This item is not available.
(Winner of the 2015 George Washington Prize and Pulitzer Prize finalist) Written from a strikingly fresh perspective, this account of the Boston Tea Party and the origins of the American Revolution from journalist and investment banker Nick Bunker reveals how a fatal brew of politics, personalities, and economics led to a war that few people welcomed but no one could prevent. Though both sides share blame in the escalation of mutual embitterment, notes Bunker, the Tea Party itself arose from flaws in Britain's financial management and an economy reliant on speculation. With the near-collapse of the East India Company, Britain's onerous stop-gap economic policies led to the destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor, an act that Parliament labeled treason. They demanded punitive reprisal, never guessing the resistance they would inspire, just as Americans underestimated Britain's determination not to give way. Bunker sheds new light on the roles of such familiar characters as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Hutchinson, as well as the king's chief minister Lord North and his secretary Lord Dartmouth, an evangelical Christian renowned for his benevolence. In a story filled with painful ironies, Bunker tells us, perhaps the saddest was that Dartmouth, a man who loved peace, had to write the dispatch that sent the British army out to fight.

"A nuanced global analysis of Britain's failure to hold onto its American colonies.... With a sharp eye for economic realities, Bunker persuasively demonstrates why the American Revolution had to happen."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An eye-opening study of the British view of the American Revolution and why they were crazy to fight it.... The failure of British leadership to recognize the warning signs will astonish readers who thought the Revolution was just about tea. A scholarly yet page-turning, superbly written history."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Nearly two and a half centuries after the fact, it would seem all but impossible to shed fresh light and insight into the origins of the American Revolution. And yet, this is precisely what journalist-turned-financial analyst-turned-historian Nick Bunker has accomplished in a majestic new study of the events leading up to shots being fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775."Manchester Journal

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