The loss of America was an unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders were to blame.
But Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy argues in his book The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire that British troops were led ably and even brilliantly. The effort was undone by political complexities at home and the fervency of their American opponents.
O’Shaughnessy is Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. Among his books are An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean and The Old World, New World: America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson.