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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans - women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters.

Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Liberty Is Sweet explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers. “It is all one story,” prizewinning historian Woody Holton writes. 

Holton describes the origins and crucial battles of the Revolution from Lexington and Concord to the British surrender at Yorktown, always focusing on marginalized Americans - enslaved Africans and African Americans, Native Americans, women, and dissenters - and on overlooked factors such as weather, North America’s unique geography, chance, misperception, attempts to manipulate public opinion, and (most of all) disease. Thousands of enslaved Americans exploited the chaos of war to obtain their own freedom, while others were given away as enlistment bounties to whites. Women provided material support for the troops, sewing clothes for soldiers and in some cases taking part in the fighting. Both sides courted native people and mimicked their tactics. 

Liberty Is Sweet gives us our most complete account of the American Revolution, from its origins on the frontiers and in the Atlantic ports to the creation of the Constitution. Offering surprises at every turn - for example, Holton makes a convincing case that Britain never had a chance of winning the war - this majestic history revivifies a story we thought we already knew.

©2021 Abner Linwood Holton. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

Long, long ago, in an honors American History class far far away, I learned just how much of a "whitewash" (pun intended) that one gets in public school history. I had forgotten those lessons until listening to Liberty is Sweet. Many of the new nation's founders were shrewd businessmen or at least attempted to be. Some fed at the trough of English government and American colony. Though in the 18th Century they were not alone. British cabinet ministers and parliamentarians were not above self dealing and conflicts of interest. The book foreshadows the power arrangements between classes of property owners, such as the merchants class, wealthy estate owners, poor farmers and those without any property that will come to pass in the new nation. The U.S. seems to keep doing the same thing over and over and over since its colonial days. As crazy as the current times appear, they are nothing new. A very sobering thought, indeed.

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Interesting Perspectives

I enjoyed hearing a different take on the American Revolution rather than the one we always hear in the standard texts. The history is so much more complex, convoluted and interesting than we are usually taught.

Have to say that repeated mispronunciations by the narrator were very off-putting. When reading a book such as this one would think that words such as Chatham, ensign and Penobscot, as well as many others, would be pronounced correctly.