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The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History The Journal of the American Revolution 2016 Book of the Year Award The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History The Journal of the American Revolution 2016 Book of the Year Award The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England. In this groundbreaking, revisionist history, Larrie Ferreiro shows that at the time the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord the colonists had little chance, if any, of militarily defeating the British. The nascent American nation had no navy, little in the way of artillery, and a militia bereft even of gunpowder. In his detailed accounts Ferreiro shows that without the extensive military and financial support of the French and Spanish, the American cause would never have succeeded. France and Spain provided close to the equivalent of $400 billion and 90 percent of all guns used by the Americans, and they sent soldiers and sailors by the thousands to fight and die alongside the Americans. Ferreiro adds to the historical records the names of French and Spanish diplomats, merchants, soldiers, and sailors whose contribution is at last given recognition. Instead of viewing the American Revolution in isolation, Brothers at Arms reveals its global implications.


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The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History The Journal of the American Revolution 2016 Book of the Year Award The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History The Journal of the American Revolution 2016 Book of the Year Award The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England. In this groundbreaking, revisionist history, Larrie Ferreiro shows that at the time the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord the colonists had little chance, if any, of militarily defeating the British. The nascent American nation had no navy, little in the way of artillery, and a militia bereft even of gunpowder. In his detailed accounts Ferreiro shows that without the extensive military and financial support of the French and Spanish, the American cause would never have succeeded. France and Spain provided close to the equivalent of $400 billion and 90 percent of all guns used by the Americans, and they sent soldiers and sailors by the thousands to fight and die alongside the Americans. Ferreiro adds to the historical records the names of French and Spanish diplomats, merchants, soldiers, and sailors whose contribution is at last given recognition. Instead of viewing the American Revolution in isolation, Brothers at Arms reveals its global implications.

30 review for Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    Pros: This extensive history rewrites the War for American Independence as a corrective for the creation myth Americans have always been taught about how we won our independence from Britain. As such, it's a wonderful source. Cons: The details... the tangential details and names and offices and places are completely overwhelming. This is a history, but not told in the form of a readable narrative. Unless you're a Revolutionary War buff or scholar, you will feel bludgeoned by the amount of detail Pros: This extensive history rewrites the War for American Independence as a corrective for the creation myth Americans have always been taught about how we won our independence from Britain. As such, it's a wonderful source. Cons: The details... the tangential details and names and offices and places are completely overwhelming. This is a history, but not told in the form of a readable narrative. Unless you're a Revolutionary War buff or scholar, you will feel bludgeoned by the amount of detail that mounts up throughout the book, but that doesn't add to what could have been a compelling narrative.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    If you're a scholar of the American Revolution, or the 18th century in general, nothing about this is as "untold!" or "groundbreaking!" as the blurbs would have you believe--Ferreiro is laying out, in a detailed and popularly entertaining way, the global view of American independence and its role in the grand strategies of the European great powers. That this meant the French and Spanish assisted us is not a signal of their love of liberty, but of their revanchist goals and conservation of their If you're a scholar of the American Revolution, or the 18th century in general, nothing about this is as "untold!" or "groundbreaking!" as the blurbs would have you believe--Ferreiro is laying out, in a detailed and popularly entertaining way, the global view of American independence and its role in the grand strategies of the European great powers. That this meant the French and Spanish assisted us is not a signal of their love of liberty, but of their revanchist goals and conservation of their colonial authority, despite the personal impression made on men like Lafayette. The details are vivid--George Washington's Royal Gift donkeys, Caribbean hurricane damage, the British navy's coppering program (4.5 billion $ in today's currency) and Neil deGrasse Tyson's descent from the Comte de Grasse's French Revolution refugee family.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    A compelling and fascinating work. Ferreiro covers the war’s diplomacy, the military efforts of France and Spain, and their impact on the war. He also examines how the international situation affected the views of colonial leaders, American merchants, European governments and military officers, and, of course, the course of the war. He shows how foreign affairs influenced the course of the Revolution; the Declaration of Independence, for example, was the first to have been shared with a global a A compelling and fascinating work. Ferreiro covers the war’s diplomacy, the military efforts of France and Spain, and their impact on the war. He also examines how the international situation affected the views of colonial leaders, American merchants, European governments and military officers, and, of course, the course of the war. He shows how foreign affairs influenced the course of the Revolution; the Declaration of Independence, for example, was the first to have been shared with a global audience via an announcement; it was mostly aimed at foreign audiences, rather than at George III. Ferreiro ably explains the rise of the British empire, its colonial and mercantilist policies, and the decline of France and Spain, who, in turn saw natural advantages in making war on Britain as its military was occupied in North America. Ferreiro also describes how foreign aid at first came in a trickle, then expanded dramatically once American victory became a real possibility. He emphasizes that “instead of the myth of heroic self-sufficiency, the real story is that the American nation was born as the centerpiece of an international coalition, which together worked to defeat a common adversary.” Ferreiro covers in detail the contributions made by European funds, weapons, volunteers, troops and training. He contrasts the Americans’ close ties with the French with their more distant relationship with Spain, and emphasizes how much the Americans needed the French and how much the French needed the Spanish. He also describes the bankrupting of the French state, how innovations and veterans from the Revolutionary War impacted the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, and how postwar Americans managed to craft a mythology of the Revolution that emphasized their own destiny and exceptionalism and ignored the role of the Bourbon powers. Oddly, however, there is little coverage of the Dutch republic, and the narrative can adopt a bit of a rambling tone at times. Still, a careful, well-written and well-researched work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    More years ago than I care to admit, I took an AP high school course in American history. Having read "Brothers at Arms" I now understand that the American Revolution was a much more complicated story than the one I thought I knew. To truly understand just how lucky we Americans were to gain our independence, one must look to the international politics of England, Spain and France as well as to hard fought battles not only in places like Saratoga and Yorktown, but also in the Caribbean, Gibralte More years ago than I care to admit, I took an AP high school course in American history. Having read "Brothers at Arms" I now understand that the American Revolution was a much more complicated story than the one I thought I knew. To truly understand just how lucky we Americans were to gain our independence, one must look to the international politics of England, Spain and France as well as to hard fought battles not only in places like Saratoga and Yorktown, but also in the Caribbean, Gibralter, the English Channel and even India. If you have always believed that a poorly trained, ragtag group of colonists who lacked weapons, gunpowder, and even a change of clothes, could have singlehandedly taken on England and won without very substantial help, this book will certainly change your mind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Saunders

    Ferreiro's Brothers at Arms recasts the American Revolution as a world war rather than a mere fight for independence. And with British, French and Spanish troops clashing everywhere from the Americans and the Caribbean to Gibraltar, Africa and India, it's hard to avoid that conclusion. Ferreiro spends much time on the diplomatic side of the conflict, showing how the French were eager to avenge their loss in the Seven Years War, using the Revolution as an excuse; how the Spanish, embroiled in ter Ferreiro's Brothers at Arms recasts the American Revolution as a world war rather than a mere fight for independence. And with British, French and Spanish troops clashing everywhere from the Americans and the Caribbean to Gibraltar, Africa and India, it's hard to avoid that conclusion. Ferreiro spends much time on the diplomatic side of the conflict, showing how the French were eager to avenge their loss in the Seven Years War, using the Revolution as an excuse; how the Spanish, embroiled in territorial disputes with Britain in North America and Portugal in Brazil and elsewhere, used the conflict to solidify their colonial holdings; the Dutch government condoning arms sales to the colonists and later engaging the British in a naval war. All these subjects provide a decidedly different perspective on the war; there's much less emphasis on American idealism than their needing to prove to Europe that their cause was politically viable, and that support would benefit them in some way. Of course, as France in particular soon found out, there would be unforeseen consequences for their less-than-altruistic intervention.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jose Maria

    I've just read the Spanish version of the book published by Desperta Ferro Ediciones. In general, the book is interesting if you want to know the impact of France and Spain in the War of Independence of the United States. The author gives in some chapters too much information that does not help to follow the story and also jumps from one topic to another without finishing the previous one. Another point to improve is the quality of the maps and, surely, the small number of them. In any case, a u I've just read the Spanish version of the book published by Desperta Ferro Ediciones. In general, the book is interesting if you want to know the impact of France and Spain in the War of Independence of the United States. The author gives in some chapters too much information that does not help to follow the story and also jumps from one topic to another without finishing the previous one. Another point to improve is the quality of the maps and, surely, the small number of them. In any case, a useful reading in my case to know the participation of Spain in this war

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gunter Nitsch

    When Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, many people believe that the American militia forces, meaning farmers and craftsmen armed with muskets, had managed almost single handedly to expel the British. However, according to Mr. Ferreiro, the Declaration of Independence was not written for the American people but as a cry from the colonists for help to the French and the Spanish governments! And help came. The French government provided financial aid, g When Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, many people believe that the American militia forces, meaning farmers and craftsmen armed with muskets, had managed almost single handedly to expel the British. However, according to Mr. Ferreiro, the Declaration of Independence was not written for the American people but as a cry from the colonists for help to the French and the Spanish governments! And help came. The French government provided financial aid, ground troops and its navy; the Spanish provided its navy; Dutch merchants sold the Americans desperately needed arms and gun powder. Without this help America would have remained a British colony in all likelihood for many decades. As Ferreiro points out, while the American Revolution was being fought, there was also a simultaneous struggle among the British, French, Dutch and Spanish forces in the Caribbean, on the East Coast of South America, in Central America, in the Southern part of North America and even as far away as India. All in all, Brothers at Arms is an eye opener and a fascinating book, a must read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Enlightening view of European participation in the American Revolution The United States was unlikely to have ever won its independence without the military and financial help from France and Spain. Ferreiro writes about a lot of interesting characters that you probably need a scorecard to keep track of. There is a lot to learn from this book and it's probably best for people wanting a deep dive into the American Revolution, which was just a small skirmish compared to the wars going on around it Enlightening view of European participation in the American Revolution The United States was unlikely to have ever won its independence without the military and financial help from France and Spain. Ferreiro writes about a lot of interesting characters that you probably need a scorecard to keep track of. There is a lot to learn from this book and it's probably best for people wanting a deep dive into the American Revolution, which was just a small skirmish compared to the wars going on around it

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Intriguing retelling of the Revolutionary War from a broader perspective. Americans like to think we won our independence on our own, but without French and Spanish guns, supplies, and soldiers, we would have stood no chance. This book details how foreign diplomats, merchants, generals, and sailors kept the flames of liberty burning long enough to beat back the British.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mshelton50

    Larrie Ferreiro's Brothers at Arms is a brilliant book. As its subtitle, "American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It," makes clear, the work is designed to set the American Revolution in its proper context, i.e., as one part of a global struggle between the Bourbon powers and Great Britain. Long before the Thirteen Colonies began to feel discontent with the Mother Country, the French government understood that the two were on a collision course, and that the eventual revo Larrie Ferreiro's Brothers at Arms is a brilliant book. As its subtitle, "American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It," makes clear, the work is designed to set the American Revolution in its proper context, i.e., as one part of a global struggle between the Bourbon powers and Great Britain. Long before the Thirteen Colonies began to feel discontent with the Mother Country, the French government understood that the two were on a collision course, and that the eventual revolt would be France's opportunity to avenge its humiliation at the end of the Seven Years' War (1756-63). In a struggle that ranged from the North American mainland to the Caribbean islands, Europe, Africa and the Indian subcontinent, France and Spain (and eventually the Dutch Republic) fought Britain. The army that won the October 1781 Battle of Yorktown was two-thirds French; it was the French navy that won the Battle of the (Chesapeake) Capes the preceding month, sealing off Cornwallis's hope of rescue; and it was the Spanish victory at Pensacola in the spring of 1781 that gave the French navy the liberty to put its entire fleet at the mouth of the Chesapeake. The Continental Army used French Charleville muskets, and French cannon, and wore uniforms that were made in France. It was French and Spanish specie that paid American soldiers, and kept the American economy afloat during a time of hyper-inflation. In addition to the usual figures of Franklin, Washington, and Lafayette, the book is full of a fascinating cast of characters, among them (1) Montezuma's ninth-generation descendant, Jeronimo Giron y Moctezuma, who fought with the Spanish at Pensacola, (2) the French naval commander the Comte de Grasse, who stood 6' 4" tall, and thus could call the 6' 2" George Washington "my dear little general," (3) Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana who organized and led the siege of Pensacola (for whom Galveston, TX is named), and (4) Horatio Nelson, who in April 1780 was a young naval lieutenant fighting the Spanish in Nicaragua before dysentery forced him out of the action. In addition to being thoroughly well researched, the book is very well written, and it was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in American history, 18th century European history, or the history of naval warfare.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    When I was in high school (a long time ago), the American Revolution was taught as a series of rebellious acts by outraged patriots who defeated the dominant power of the world. Much is made of Washington crossing the Delaware, the winter at Valley Forge, and major battles. What isn't emphasized is the role of France and Spain in support of the American war effort. The extent to which most of us are taught about the support America received from France and Spain is often limited to Lafayette. Th When I was in high school (a long time ago), the American Revolution was taught as a series of rebellious acts by outraged patriots who defeated the dominant power of the world. Much is made of Washington crossing the Delaware, the winter at Valley Forge, and major battles. What isn't emphasized is the role of France and Spain in support of the American war effort. The extent to which most of us are taught about the support America received from France and Spain is often limited to Lafayette. This aspect of the Revolutionary War may be downplayed today because our relationship with Great Britain morphed in something "special", while that with France is more "love-hate" and Spain is no longer a major world power. Regardless of the reason, this book presents that part of the story, which is very significant. Without France and Spain, the outcome of the war would likely have been quite different. The book is very deeply researched and detailed. It focuses both on the French and Spanish leaders who supported the Americans, their motivations, and how they went about it. From a tactical point of view, there are sizable portions devoted to naval warfare. The book is extensive and there are lots of names and titles. Sometimes, it is hard to keep track of all the players and recall their influence. I wouldn't want to take a test on this book. Still, it is enlightening in many ways.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen Floyd

    I was on a Revolutionary War binge for much of this fall, and this was the last book I read before I binged myself out. At least for the time being. Most Americans today, and since the cult of the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution emerged in the early 1800's, do not know the extent to which our winning that Revolution depended on the money, arms, sailors, and soldiers from France and Spain, and to a lesser extent from the Netherlands and other countries. A few famous names make it into I was on a Revolutionary War binge for much of this fall, and this was the last book I read before I binged myself out. At least for the time being. Most Americans today, and since the cult of the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution emerged in the early 1800's, do not know the extent to which our winning that Revolution depended on the money, arms, sailors, and soldiers from France and Spain, and to a lesser extent from the Netherlands and other countries. A few famous names make it into our high school and college history books - Lafayette, von Steuben, Kosciusko, de Kalb, Rochambeau, de Grasse, Pulaski - but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of volunteers came from Europe to fight in our war of independence, and with them came uniforms, arms, money, expertise, knowledge and discipline we didn't have. The navies of Spain and France fought the British Navy in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, keeping the British fleet divided and unable to make a concerted attack on the Colonies. Without this aid we could not have won. Meticulously researched and well written, though I sometimes had trouble remembering who was who given the number of individuals involved. How many members of the Galvez family were involved? At least four, I think. It was their family that Galveston, Texas, was named after, by the way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bap

    The author makes a strong case that the Revolution could not have been won without the intervention of the French and the Spanish who were both eager for revenge and ready to settle scores from the defeat suffered by the British victory in the Seven Year war which had left Britain the preeminent power in Europe. The AMERICANS NEEDED ABOVE ALL ELSE GUNPOWDER, arms, and even uniforms and shoes. This was illustrated by the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Americans held their own but ran out of powder and The author makes a strong case that the Revolution could not have been won without the intervention of the French and the Spanish who were both eager for revenge and ready to settle scores from the defeat suffered by the British victory in the Seven Year war which had left Britain the preeminent power in Europe. The AMERICANS NEEDED ABOVE ALL ELSE GUNPOWDER, arms, and even uniforms and shoes. This was illustrated by the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Americans held their own but ran out of powder and had to disperse. To make things worse, the Americans needed loans or grants because they could not pay to equip their armies. And the colonists lacked a navy which meant that the British were mobile and could bring the fight to anywhere on the coast and could evacuate any army that could make it to a port. This changed when the French together with the Spanish fielded a fleet which for a brief period was able to achieve dominance over the British. Washington seized his chance and proceeded to Virginia to secure the surrender of Cornwallis. Even then, half the troops were French on the allied side at Yorktown. This book definitely made me thing differently about the Revolution. Brian

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rivka Sinowitz

    This book's topic is somewhat of a niche topic. The author writes vividly, with a lot of facts and colorful anecdotes. Here is why I read this book: One hears often about the warning in George Washington's farewell address against foreign entanglements. This book's premise is that without the aid of France and Spain, America could not have won independence from England. From before America won independence, its very existence was inexorably intertwined with foreign powers. Today there are argumen This book's topic is somewhat of a niche topic. The author writes vividly, with a lot of facts and colorful anecdotes. Here is why I read this book: One hears often about the warning in George Washington's farewell address against foreign entanglements. This book's premise is that without the aid of France and Spain, America could not have won independence from England. From before America won independence, its very existence was inexorably intertwined with foreign powers. Today there are arguments from one side of America First- that only citizens on its own land mass deserve consideration, and from the other- of American detractors who feel that America deserves no role in foreign affairs, who nostalgically allude to a glorious past of isolationism. Such a past does not exist. If with the transportation and technology of the late 1700's, this reality was impossible, how would it work in the 21st century? This book also has fascinating tidbits, like the introduction of the jigsaw puzzle, and the origin of the dollar sign.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    The best history book I've read in a while! A revisionist style history without falling into the usual trap of screaming "your idea of history is stupid and I'm right!" It's always been interesting to me how the Revolutionary War could have been considered a world war (as could have the previous several wars), but I never realized how great the contributions were that France and Spain made from the get-go. The amount of money is mind-boggling. The other aspect that I found interesting was the su The best history book I've read in a while! A revisionist style history without falling into the usual trap of screaming "your idea of history is stupid and I'm right!" It's always been interesting to me how the Revolutionary War could have been considered a world war (as could have the previous several wars), but I never realized how great the contributions were that France and Spain made from the get-go. The amount of money is mind-boggling. The other aspect that I found interesting was the success of Spain and France. They are always seen as bumbling military powers (other than Napoleon), but actually acquitted themselves well in this war, with Spain capturing Mobile and Pensacola from the British. One of the few British naval defeats allowed the victory at Yorktown. And the book claims that the French admiral who won, the Comte de Grasse, is an ancestor of Neil deGrasse Tyson, which is pretty cool :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    This is a very big book and about half the book deals with France's help to the American war of Independence. This part of the book is 4 stars. The other half of the book deals with France's simultaneous war with Britain which was not of much interest to me. The huge revelation to me that the book details is that the Revolution was not won by the U.S., it was actually won by France. At the battle of Yorktown 2/3's of the troops were French. The British general sent out to surrender tried to surre This is a very big book and about half the book deals with France's help to the American war of Independence. This part of the book is 4 stars. The other half of the book deals with France's simultaneous war with Britain which was not of much interest to me. The huge revelation to me that the book details is that the Revolution was not won by the U.S., it was actually won by France. At the battle of Yorktown 2/3's of the troops were French. The British general sent out to surrender tried to surrender to the French General. None of the many books I ever read before on the war and the British surrender ever mentioned this fact. Of great interest to me is the book's assertion that the Continental Congress voted and signed the Declaration of Independence for the main purpose to request the help from France they needed to win the war. I am quite skeptical of this assertion and hope to research the issue in the future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Bracciante

    This historic account details how both France and Spain supported the American colonists in their quest for independence from England by providing them with armaments they needed prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence; the role that European volunteers played in fighting alongside and in leading American soldiers; France's eventual Alliance with America; and the how Spain's war against England in the Caribbean and elsewhere helped the American cause. The reasons for doing so we' This historic account details how both France and Spain supported the American colonists in their quest for independence from England by providing them with armaments they needed prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence; the role that European volunteers played in fighting alongside and in leading American soldiers; France's eventual Alliance with America; and the how Spain's war against England in the Caribbean and elsewhere helped the American cause. The reasons for doing so we're more to defeat England than to help the Americans win and before the war ended it had become a global conflict with fighting in India, Central America, South America and Europe. In addition to the French and Spanish the Dutch Republics and the Kingdoms of India had joined the fighting against England.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    It's not that this isn't a great book, it's just really hard to get through if you're not into naval battles and general 18th century naval history. As France and Spain's primary contributions to the American war were money, supplies, and men on ships, however, it's hard to avoid the navy. If you have a niche interest in specifically the French and Spanish contributions to the American War of Independence, (and the European powers' game of musical chairs in the West Indies in that specific decad It's not that this isn't a great book, it's just really hard to get through if you're not into naval battles and general 18th century naval history. As France and Spain's primary contributions to the American war were money, supplies, and men on ships, however, it's hard to avoid the navy. If you have a niche interest in specifically the French and Spanish contributions to the American War of Independence, (and the European powers' game of musical chairs in the West Indies in that specific decade), this is an excellent resource. Just keep in mind, there are a LOT of naval minutiae, and a LOT of hard-to-pronounce French nobles running around. Kudos to the author for making it possible to keep Jean Pierre Jacques Antoine Étienne Fulbert Sébastien Charle Gérard Claude Louis, comte de Whateverthehell and his fellow Frenchmen apart.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This is an important book for those who study the history of the American Revolution. Ferreiro comes to the national creation story from a wider historical vantage point, placing the Revolution, its battles and politics within the wide context of world affairs of the late 18th century. We see how the convulsion from which our nation arose was but one fire in a conflagration engulfing the major powers of the world, particularly Britain, France and Spain from India to the West Indies and North Ame This is an important book for those who study the history of the American Revolution. Ferreiro comes to the national creation story from a wider historical vantage point, placing the Revolution, its battles and politics within the wide context of world affairs of the late 18th century. We see how the convulsion from which our nation arose was but one fire in a conflagration engulfing the major powers of the world, particularly Britain, France and Spain from India to the West Indies and North America. Ferreiro makes a persuasive case that it was France's and Spain's determination to knock Great Britain off its geopolitical perch that led to their military alliance with the United States, which proved essential to the new nation's war effort and, ultimately, victory at Yorktown.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book focuses on the contributions non-Americans made to the success of the American revolution, especially the nations of France and Spain. It also detailed the larger global conflict of which American independence was only a part. I have always been appreciative of the help our fledgling nation received from abroad during our struggle for independence and this book chronicles much of this assistance. This book is for hard-core history buffs with love of the American revolution. It reads like This book focuses on the contributions non-Americans made to the success of the American revolution, especially the nations of France and Spain. It also detailed the larger global conflict of which American independence was only a part. I have always been appreciative of the help our fledgling nation received from abroad during our struggle for independence and this book chronicles much of this assistance. This book is for hard-core history buffs with love of the American revolution. It reads like a history book and its goal is to educate rather than entertain.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jc

    The American Revolution from a different angle: how it would not have happened without the French (and the Spanish). Astonishing as it is the first time I read that the French intervention, with money, people and arms, was more than helpful, it made it happen. Surprising also that it came from a very weak French king, Louis the XVI th. Unfortunately, like all books written by historians, there is so much minutia that at times it is very boring.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christen Mamenko

    I learned a lot. Its amazing what they leave out of history books. I'd love for our history teacher to give it a read! This was a bit out of my comfort zone since I normally read fiction. I struggled in places keeping names and timelines straight, but overall enjoyed it enough to think it would be great summer reading for AP History. I learned a lot. Its amazing what they leave out of history books. I'd love for our history teacher to give it a read! This was a bit out of my comfort zone since I normally read fiction. I struggled in places keeping names and timelines straight, but overall enjoyed it enough to think it would be great summer reading for AP History.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gerry Connolly

    recalls the pivotal roles of France and Spain in helping the Americans win their independence in Brothers at Arms. French financing and French and Spanish naval forces and troops were essential in the final victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown. The French drained their treasury in the process leading to King Louis’ own downfall subsequently. Cogent and convincingly documented history.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Very engaging read for a history book. Paints a clear picture of how the Revolutionary War fit into, was part of, and greatly benefited from the larger geopolitics of the 18th century. I read it on the Kindle.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Reid Malinbaum

    Brothers at Arms From here on out, there is no Freedom Fries, just French Fries. An easy, but, in-depth read. More information on the common soldiers & the average civilians of the era would have been a nice addition to the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dpalange44

    I easily get bogged down by names and dates. This book is packed with names, dates, and locations. Well researched. Densely packed with information. But dry. Dry like the desert.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fasano-McCarron

    Dense as rice pudding, yet after a few spoonfuls, I couldn't put the bowl down. Dense as rice pudding, yet after a few spoonfuls, I couldn't put the bowl down.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    The important military role of Spain and France in the American Revolution.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    Here's another one that I read for a New Books Network interview with the author, but my enthusiasm is all genuine. I loved readying this book and I learned a ton from it. Basically, Ferreiro draws on decades of research in archives and on battlefields across the US and Europe to detail the smuggling, espionage, gun running, and politicking that wrested the United States from British control. It's a fantastic corrective to the kinds of generalist history that I imagine most of us got in high sch Here's another one that I read for a New Books Network interview with the author, but my enthusiasm is all genuine. I loved readying this book and I learned a ton from it. Basically, Ferreiro draws on decades of research in archives and on battlefields across the US and Europe to detail the smuggling, espionage, gun running, and politicking that wrested the United States from British control. It's a fantastic corrective to the kinds of generalist history that I imagine most of us got in high school, so on a conceptual level I'm happy recommending this to anyone who wants to revisit the American revolution from a new angle (if Hamilton has renewed your curiosity, this is a fantastic place to start!). I don't imagine specialists will find it particularly shocking or groundbreaking, but this might be a useful source for the stable if the archival research is new. Dr. Ferreiro advances the argument that for the governments of France and Spain, defeating the British in the American colonies was as much about achieving their own interests in the sphere of European power as it was about heeding the call to advance the ideals of liberty and justice across the Atlantic, and that the relationships that developed between France, Spain, and the new United States did more to shape American institutions and ways of life that we often acknowledge. It's packed with really great anecdotes and stories that I hadn't heard before, and it's all written in a really engaging and interesting voice. Overall, I'd say this is a really helpful revision of the national myth that the American colonies rose up and threw off imperial oversight solely by the unity found in the strength of their convictions. It's a somewhat globalist return to the 1760s and 70s that weaves together military, economic, diplomatic, and social history with fascinating stories of the European soldiers, sailors, merchants, and ministers who conspired and collaborated to give the north American colonies a fighting chance.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved how this book helped put our American Revolution in the context of the greater world conflicts going on at the time; the French and Spanish alliance against Britain, and the way we set the stage for the age of revolutions in France and South/Central America. Five stars for that, but it was very dry. Very dry, I don't think I'd have made through the first half if I hadn't been so interested in the subject. Three stars for that. Because I love the period, love Cornwell's "Sharpe's..." nov I loved how this book helped put our American Revolution in the context of the greater world conflicts going on at the time; the French and Spanish alliance against Britain, and the way we set the stage for the age of revolutions in France and South/Central America. Five stars for that, but it was very dry. Very dry, I don't think I'd have made through the first half if I hadn't been so interested in the subject. Three stars for that. Because I love the period, love Cornwell's "Sharpe's..." novels and this adds to my experience of them, because when I went to France the French were so proud to mention their role in the victory at Yorktown, I'll split the difference 4 stars.

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