July 5, 2011


John Ferling, Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2011) ("This is a book about the evolution of American independence and about the events and decisions that ultimately led Congress, with the backing of most colonists, to set America free of the British Empire. The book's subtitle contains the word 'struggle,' and in fact those who favored severing all ties with Great Britain faced a long, difficult battle before, at last, they succeeded in declaring independence. Eleven years elapsed between Britain's first attempt to tax the colonists and the Declaration of Independence. What we today call the War of Independence, or the Revolutionary War, had gone on for fifteen months before the Continental Congress declared independence. For more than a year the colonists fought, and died, not for American independence, but to be reunited with Great Britain on America's terms." Id. at ix-x. "This is not a history of the American Revolution. While it looks at the Anglo-America crisis from its inception down to the Declaration of Independence, the book largely examines the forty-month period between the Boston Tea Party, in December 1773, and Congress's vote for independence in July 1776. Its objective is to understand the major players on both sides, what drove them, the choices they faced, their successes and failures, and, above all, why the American Congress moved steadily--seemingly inexorably--toward a final break with Great Britain." Id. at xii.).