Serendipity, Gender Bending, and the American Revolution: Who Knew?
I'm an amateur history buff, and was intrigued by a review I read of this book. Joel Paul tells (and tells it well) the story of how three unlikely figures (one of which has a very unlikely figure) ultimately ensured that the Colonies won the Revolution. It's one of those stories where you keep thinking, "this can't be true" - but apparently it is. It's an excellent counter narrative to the idea that history proceeds linearly with clear heroes and villains; instead, in Joel Paul's recounting, history is pretty random, and the heroes are sometimes quite accidental. The book reads like a good novel, too. Highly Recommended.
Excellent Historical Book, Reads Like a Spy Thriller
I thoroughly enjoyed Joel Paul's "UnlikelyAllies". While historical and factual, it nonetheless reads like a spy novel with intrigue, backstabbing, chicanery and cross-dressing to boot. The simplistic version of the French support for the AmericanRevolution that I learned in school is richly augmented and to some degree turned on its head in this book. Three previously unknown - or at least unappreciated - individuals are shown to be true heroes of the American Revolution. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history or just likes a terrificly well-written book filled with suspense and a suitable number of twists and turns in the story.
This book tells a little known but fascinating account of the early years of American diplomacy. The author convincingly recreates suspenseful and detailed scenes that have never been brought to light.
If you like thrillers or unique accounts of history, you will enjoy UnlikelyAllies.
History is always so much more than a textbook can ever convey!
The author weaves a wonderful --but meticulously researched-- story of the most unlikely characters who were involved in procuring the all important French aid to the AmericanRevolution.
Silas Deane occasionally gets a mention in US history textbooks, and students who read Davidson and Lytle's After the Fact, his death is the subject of a day's scrutiny. But Joel Richard Paul has made a compelling case not only for Deane's innocence of charges of double-dealing and treason, but argues that his role was essental in the diplomatic intrigues with France that were critical to the emergence of the US as victors in the American Revolution. And in addition to Deane, who knew of the contribution of the playwright and watchmaker Beaumarchais? And then there is a whole collection of scheming characters, such as Arthur Lee, the Chevalier Eon, Edward Bankroft.....
This is a fun book, but it's grounded in solid research and it succeeeds in conveying much fascinating 18th century social history in the emerging US, in France, and in London,
I was intrigued by the reviews of Professor Paul's book and immediately picked up a copy. I love American history and could not put UnlikelyAllies down. Paul introduces us to fascinating and pivotal characters that had, in the past, played minor roles in the public's perception of the events surrounding the American Revolution. Here, we are introduced to Beaumarchais, d'Eon and the quiet Connecticut citizen Silas Deane. The trio turn out to have profound influence and at least one of them is an extremely colorful character!
This is a must-read. Don't miss Unlikely Allies. I wonder what this wonderful and engaging writer has up his sleeve next!