The Cause: by Joseph Ellis

It was time for a good old history book, US history for a change of pace.  I have some other history books stashed, but this one appealed to me at the moment.   

The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783
By Joseph Ellis
2021 / 
Read by Graham Winton 11h 37m
Rating – 9 / US history 

Joseph Ellis has been studying and writing Early American history for decades – since some time before his first book was published in 1973. I’ve read two or three and there are several others which sound quite interesting.  

The Cause concerns the actual breaking away of the American Colonies, “united colonies” at this point in their cause.  According to Ellis a complete break was obvious and it was inevitable the newly declared United States would win.  England was exhausting herself with wars and money problems while the Colonies had found a new source of strength in grievance about the various act  George III was imposing since the 7 Years War.  

When they finally got to fighting, the Colonies lost a few battles and then started winning. The actual war went from April, 1774 to October of 1781.  It didn’t have to go on that long or cost that many lives. King but George III was broke due to many wars and he wasn’t going to be embarrassed by the pitiful little colonies over there in America.  They would fight on, and what could have ended in 1777 after Burgoyne lost at Saratoga dragged with battle after battle until October, 1781 and Cornwallis was defeated at Yorktown. 

 And the book keeps going too. Long after Yorktown with the various players and the forces pressing on the Indians and the slaves and the leaders of the various states (now). The debt is huge but the land west of the Alleghenies is huge, too, Washington is a true hero. the issues are how to treat Vets because they’re not getting paid, how to deal with reparations, and much more.

There are lots and lots of little things revealed in this book which I didn’t have a clue about. And a really nice part of each chapter is that Ellis includes a section called  “Profile” at the end.  It focuses on one person about whom it is unlikely many readers have heard.  This isn’t a book for folks who don’t know anything about the American War of Independence but you don’t need to be a history major for it. Just a kind of middling history buff maybe.  

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