Nash (history, U. of California at Los Angeles) explains that the majority of colonists were outside the relatively respectable milieu of the founding fathers, and many came to America or stayed because it afforded room for their decidedly radical views. Revolutionary ferment began decades before a shot was fired, and in fact the Revolution was a civil war as well as a war of independence. He traces the influences of proponents of various ways of thought, including feminism, abolition, and forms of democracy debated in the streets more than in the salons. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
The history of the American Revolution that most of us have absorbed is but "a fable," writes UCLA historian Nash. In this insightful, challenging "antidote to historical amnesia," Nash (Race and Revolution) deftly illustrates that while the Revolution has been implanted in our collective memory as the idealized "Glorious Cause," in reality it was more a chaotic and bloody civil war, replete with fragile alliances, a multitude of fronts and clashing cultures. He especially succeeds in detailing the crucial role and often overlooked plight of Native Americans, adding the obscure names of men such as Cornplanter, Dragging Canoe and Mohawk chief Joseph Brant, who allied the Iroquois nation with the British, to the pantheon of the Revolution's players. By 1789 Washington was forced to commit a third of his army to destroying the Iroquois, explicitly ordering that their villages "not be merely overrun but destroyed." Of course, Native Americans who remained neutral or fought alongside the Americans fared no better later at the hands of settlers. Tightly though densely written, this expertly researched tome shakes the "stainless steel" history of the American Revolution to its core. (June 27) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.