Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Book Review: An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America by Nick Bunker
The book started off well. It's very readable, unlike the last boring history book I read. But it includes WAY too much detail, and because it is so long and so stuffed full of info, occasionally the author has to give us a recap, which is necessary, but it repetitive, and could have been prevented with more discernment in what to include.
It's a fascinating idea for an American: we know why America went to war with Britain in 1775, but why did Britain? It never occurred to me before to think of that side of things. I figured it was just because we started a fight and so they fought back. But of course there's a lot more to it than that, and a lot more to what started the war. It could have been prevented more than once. A big part of the problem of course, given the era, was the slowness of communication across the Atlantic. And another big part was that almost no one in the English Parliament really saw the American point of view, so there was a serious reluctance to change the legislation that Americans felt were unfair and unreasonable. Of course we know about "no taxation without representation" and the Boston Tea Party, but I never really understood what was going on there. England had imposed a steep tax on tea in the colonies, which the colonies resented, and then they had a huge overstock of tea, which they forced on the Americans. That's not something I learned in history class!
So the information was interesting, but there was entirely too much of it which bogged down the story and also the truly important information was lost among minor details, and extensive editing would have made for a big improvement.
I checked this book out of the library.