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On October 19, 1781, Great Britain's best army surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. But the future of the 13 former colonies was far from clear. A 13,000 man British army still occupied New York City, and another 13,000 regulars and armed loyalists were scattered from Canada to Savannah, Georgia. Meanwhile, Congress had declined to a mere 24 members, and the national treasury was empty. The American army had not been paid for years and was on the brink of mutiny.
In Europe, America's only ally, France, teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and was soon reeling from a disastrous naval defeat in the Caribbean. A stubborn George III dismissed Yorktown as a minor defeat and refused to yield an acre of "my dominions" in America. In Paris, Ambassador Benjamin Franklin confronted violent hostility to France among his fellow members of the American peace delegation.
In his riveting new book, Thomas Fleming moves elegantly between the key players in this drama and shows that the outcome we take for granted was far from certain. Not without anguish, General Washington resisted the urgings of many officers to seize power and held the angry army together until peace and independence arrived. With fresh research and masterful storytelling, Fleming breathes new life into this tumultuous but little known period in America's history.
Thomas Fleming is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently, The Perils of Peace. He has been the president of the Society of American Historians and of PEN American Center. Mr. Fleming is a frequent guest on C-SPAN, PBS, A&E, and the History Channel. He lives in New York City.
“As riveting and suspenseful…it is ultimately inspiring, this is history the way we all wish it could be written.”
-Richard N. Smith, author of Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation and Scholar in Residence, George Mason University
“No one understands the Revolutionary Era better. No one brings it to life with such amazing insight and intimacy.”
-John C. McManus, author of The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II
“A remarkable achievement, brilliant in conception and illuminating in the way in which heroes and villains…walk off the page.”
-Charles Bracelen Flood, author of Rise, and Fight Again, winner of the American Revolution Round Table AwardCharles Bracelen Flood, author of Rise, and Fight Again, winner of the American Revolution Round Table AwardCharles Bracelen Flood, aut
“[A]n engaging and lively narrative.”
-Tom McGuire, author of Battle of Paoli and The Philadelphia CampaignTom McGuire, author of Battle of Paoli and The Philadelphia CampaignTom McGuire, author of Battle of Paoli and The Philadelphia CampaignTom McGuire, author of Battle of Paoli and Th
“[A] meaningful story about America’s past that compels readers to rethink their understanding of American identity.”
-Michael P. Federici, professor of Political Science, Mercyhurst College