Seguimos viendo libros que despierten el interés, no por ello coincidiendo en todo cuanto se diga.
Don´t know much about history: Everything you need to know about american history but never learned, de Kenneth Davis. En su página el autor presenta de esta manera al libro:
Who really discovered America? What was “the shot heard ‘round the world”? Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: Did he or didn’t he?Para quien de guste los paralelismos, copio uno del libro:
From the arrival of Columbus through the bizarre election of 2000 and beyond, Davis carries readers on a rollicking ride through more than 500 years of American history. In this updated edition of the classic anti-textbook, he debunks, recounts, and serves up the real story behind the myths and fallacies of American history.
How did the colonies win the war?
Does this sound familiar? The world’s most powerful nation is caught up in a war against a small guerrilla army. This superpower must resupply its troops from thousands of miles away, a costly endeavor, and support for the war at home is tentative, dividing the nation’s people and leadership. The rebels also receive financial and military support from the superpower’s chief military and political antagonist. As the war drags on and casualties mount, generals are disgraced and the rebels gain momentum, even in defeat.
The United States in Vietnam? It could be. But it is also the story of the British loss of the American colonies. There are numerous parallels Say You Want a Revolution 101 between the two conflicts. For the United States, substitute England under George III, the dominant world power of the day, but caught up in a draining colonial conflict that stretches its resources. For the Vietcong, substitute the colonial army under Washington, a ragtag collection if ever there was one, who used such unheard-of tactics as disguising themselves in British uniforms and attacking from the rear. British generals, accustomed to precisely drawn battle formations, were completely taken aback, just as American commanders schooled in the tank warfare of World War II were unprepared for the jungles of Vietnam. For foreign support, substitute England’s chief European adversary, France (as well as Spain and the Netherlands) for the Soviet (and Red Chinese) supplying of the Vietcong.
There can be no question that without France’s armies, money, and supplies (as much as 90 percent of the American gunpowder used in the war came from France), the American forces could not have won. Why did the French do it? Certainly King Louis XVI and his charming wife, Marie Antoinette, had no particular sympathy for antimonarchist, democratic rabble. Their motive, actually the strategy of a pro-American minister, the Comte de Vergennes, was simple: to bloody England’s nose in any way they could and perhaps even win back some of the territory lost after the Seven Years War. Had the monarchy and aristocracy of France known that their own subjects would be greatly inspired by the American Revolution a few years later, the French royalty might have thought the matter over a bit longer. An American loss might have saved their necks. C’est la vie!
Equally important to America’s victory was the consistent bungling of the British high command, which treated the war as an intolerable inconvenience. At any number of points in the fighting, particularly in the early years, before France was fully committed, aggressive generalship from various British commanders might have turned the tide. If Washington’s army had been destroyed after Long Island or Germantown . . . If Congress had been captured and shipped off to England for trial— and most likely the noose . . . And what if England had “won”? Could it possibly have maintained sovereignty over a large, prosperous, diverse, and expanding America, a vast territory far richer in resources than England? It is unlikely.
Independence was a historical inevitability, in one form or another. It was simply an idea whose time had come, and America was not alone, as the revolutions that followed in Europe would prove. The British had to weigh the costs of maintaining their dominance against its returns. They would have seen, as America did in Vietnam, and as the Soviets did more recently in Afghanistan, that the costs of such wars of colonial domination are usually more than a nation is willing or able to bear. It’s a pity that America’s military and political leaders never learned a lesson from our own past, a fact that speaks volumes about the arrogance of power.
What did America win?
The Peace of Paris, negotiated for the United States by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, was formally signed on February 3, 1783. At the same time, England signed treaties with America’s allies, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The most important thing the treaty did was to recognize the independence of the United States of America. Beyond that, it marked the boundaries of the new nation. The United States now meant everything from the Atlantic west to the Mississippi River, save New Orleans and the Floridas. This area was ceded by England back to Spain as part of New Spain, the massive empire that now stretched from South America north, well into coastal California, and including much of the American southwest, east to the Florida peninsula. The northern border was set at the Great Lakes and along the provincial frontiers of Quebec and Nova Scotia. During the eight years of the American Revolution, there had been more than 1,300 land and sea battles. American losses have been calculated conservatively at 25,324. Of these, only 6,284 were killed in action. More than 10,000 died of diseases such as smallpox and dysentery, and another 8,500 died while captives of the British. The victory also left America with a considerable foreign debt. In a report to Congress several years later, Alexander Hamilton would place this debt at $11,710,379 (in addition to domestic and state debts totaling more than $65 million). This enormous debt was just one of the problems that would threaten the new nation in its first years of independence. Behaving like thirteen independent countries, the states churned out worthless paper money. New York began to place taxes on every farmer’s boat that crossed the Hudson River from New Jersey.
Must Read: Liberty!: The American Revolution by Thomas Fleming; Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution by A. J. Langguth; The Creation of America: Through Revolution to Empire by Francis Jennings for a very different view of the Revolution as the work of a privileged elite, dreaming of empire.