The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire

  • by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy
  • Narrated by Gildart Jackson
  • 21 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing audiobook makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of 10 prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O'Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory.
In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George III, Prime Minister Lord North, military leaders including General Burgoyne, the Earl of Sandwich, and others who, for the most part, led ably and even brilliantly. Victories were frequent, and in fact the British conquered every American city at some stage of the Revolutionary War. Yet roiling political complexities at home, combined with the fervency of the fighting Americans, proved fatal to the British war effort. The audiobook concludes with a penetrating assessment of the years after Yorktown, when the British achieved victories against the French and Spanish, thereby keeping intact what remained of the British Empire.

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What the Critics Say

"[An] engaging study . . . based on an extensive reading of the vast literature and of many original sources." (Brendan Simms, The Wall Street Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pay Attention or You're a Goner

I first became aware of, and interested in, this book after hearing a podcast of Mr O'Shaughnessy speak to the Virginia Historical Society, which was quite good. I hurried to purchase the book which, at 21 hours in length AND featuring George Washington in a starring role, was right down my alley.

I admit that I was riveted, or should I say, could have been riveted, by the story, had it been in a different format. The author chose to write it in acts, for lack of a better description. So we were always back and forth with 4 and and 2 and..., which was very distracting. We were talking about North and then Germaine and then suddenly, we were back at North. I was constantly saying, "wait... what?" I got lost very quickly and unless you pay close attention, so will you.

That nik-pickery aside, who knew? Fascinating. The loss of America was completely unexpected and as an American, I am again amazed at the incredible victory which laid the bounty of America at our feet.

Excellent.
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- Nancy

It didn't lose me

What did you love best about The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire?

Excellent story that was well researched, performed, and organized.


What did you like best about this story?

Always interesting or entertaining.


Which character – as performed by Gildart Jackson – was your favorite?

Most of them come off as sympathetic, though Lord North was especially so. When taunted by an opposition member with North's habit of sleeping in the House, “Even now, in the midst of these perils, the noble lord is asleep,” North replied, “I wish to God I were,”.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Moved to know as a longtime American History buff there is still plenty to learn.


Any additional comments?

Probably one of the best audiobooks I have ever read.

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- Matt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-13-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio