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Paperback The First Salute : A View of the American Revolution Book

ISBN: 0345336674

ISBN13: 9780345336675

The First Salute : A View of the American Revolution

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Barbara W. Tuchman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the classic The Guns of August, turns her sights homeward with this brilliant, insightful narrative of the Revolutionary War. In The First Salute, one of America's consummate historians crafts a rigorously original view of the American Revolution. Barbara W. Tuchman places the Revolution in the context of the centuries-long conflicts between England and both France and Holland, demonstrating...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

European view of the Revolution

Barbara Tuchman subtitles this well-written book as "A View of the American Revolution," which seems applicable enough. It is the view from the European side, at least at first. Although it seems to revolve around the issue of the Revolutionary War, the book spends a great deal of time on Eurocentric issues of the centuries building up to the main event; so much so that the Revolution almost seems subsumed by an entirely different, and not unpleasant, topic of Dutch independence from Catholic Spain. If Dutch civil government doesn't seem directly pertinent to the original idea, at least it is made to seem interesting. Fortunately, the author is actually moving forward with such seeming digressions in her own arcane fashion. The book builds much along the lines of the Revolutionary War itself: a bit of glory to start with, then a slowdown with key triumphs to keep the reader involved, growing increasingly political, and then emerging from all the murk to a glorious, desperate triumph. The final chapter, giving us the battle of Yorktown, seems to leap from the page, and all of the seemingly disparate stokes of earlier chapters show just how each event came into place at precisely the right moment in precisely the right way for great men to launch a nation from. Somehow, Yorktown seems miraculous and innevitable at the same time. If a history book can be said to have a surprising and shattering ending, this book does it. I learned more about British, French, Dutch, and even Russian involvement in the birth of the USA than I even knew existed. Although I brought some basic knowledge to the table, this book painted the arch of the war in a way I never completely understood, and I will never view the early history of my country in the same way. An erudite, entertaining, and educational novel.

Finally, the Real Revolutionary War

I'd like to say that Barbara Tuchman saved her best for last, and in many respects, she did. However there will be many out there who will not appreciate the slow build-up of The First Salute. Like a sailing schooner waiting for a breeze before finally being able to move, Ms. Tuchman's account of the American Revolution mirrors her main subjects - the French fleet, and that of the Englisman Sir George Brydges Rodney. More than once were they all stuck somewhere in their ships waiting (seemingly forever) for a wind so they could get underway. I felt like this book was waiting to get "under sail" too, mainly at the beginning. But I think you will find that not only is the wait worth it, but once you finish the book, you will realize just how brilliant the author really was in chosing this method to effectively drive home her points by clever use of point of view - Despite what Disney would have us belive, the Americans didn't rally to fighting or winning this war. Congress was as slow, and often made as little sense then as it seems to do from time to time now - Washington was a miracle worker for somehow keeping an army on the field at all. The American Revolution was won by French and Dutch money, and mainly the French military (yes it was fought by many brave Americans too, but there was too much apathy, too much self-interest, and there were too few in number to ever WIN it). Through the story of Rodney, the reader is given a unique perspective from which to witness the incredible mismanagement of the war by the British, insight into those self-destructive practices and entrenched egos that characterized monarchy, and just how close this war was to being lost and how easily it could have turned out differently. Tuchman also does not miss the chance to remind everyone just how far we still have to go to live up to those principles for which the war was supposedly fought - The end of her Epilogue will knock your socks off. All in all, another treasure from Barbara Tuchman.

Made me curious

This book gave my an insight in the dutch involvement in the american revolution. After reading it I picked up other books on the american and the dutch revolutions, how they compare and how they differ and how the dutch revolution influenced the dutch reaction to the american revoltion. On top of that I found it a pleasant book to read.

Not Tuchman's best, but still an excellent book

Barabra Tuchman's last book is not her best (cannot be compared to the Guns of August or The March of Folly) but it definitely has the Tuchman magic touch and unique historic sense of seeing and conveying the portrayed events in the scope of long term historical affect on mankind.

Good, necessary historical view of American Revolution

I thoroughly enjoyed this work because it presented a needed view of the American Revolution and how the international context supported our victory. It provides lessons in how the pre-eminent power of an age can be humbled by a coalition of forces, determination, and coincidence. It shows just how fragile the fabric of our revolution's success actually was. This was, however, not up to Ms. Tuchman's usual standard of excellence, but that is still good enough, because the history is good in all but one respect: she depreciates A.T. Mahan while using and espousing his arguments and presentations. By coincidence I had just read Mahan's Influence of Seapower on History before reading The First Salute. It was apparent that in her research Ms. Tuchman also had read Mahan. She incorporated his arguments and yet criticized them out of context. A small flaw in toto, but significant to students of history, especially to those with more than a passing interst in seapower. I would not have noticed this discrepancy had I not just read the other work first. Ms. Tuchman's work is a valuable addition to the body of work on the American Revolution and seapower. It is a "must" read for both sets of lessons: those of history and objectivity in an author. Jay Brown, St. Petersburg, FL
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