The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown (Hardcover)
On October 19, 1781, Great Britain's best army surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. But the future of the 13 former colonies was far from clear. A 13,000 man British army still occupied New York City, and another 13,000 regulars and armed loyalists were scattered from Canada to Savannah, Georgia. Meanwhile, Congress had declined to a mere 24 members, and the national treasury was empty. The American army had not been paid for years and was on the brink of mutiny.
In Europe, America's only ally, France, teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and was soon reeling from a disastrous naval defeat in the Caribbean. A stubborn George III dismissed Yorktown as a minor defeat and refused to yield an acre of "my dominions" in America. In Paris, Ambassador Benjamin Franklin confronted violent hostility to France among his fellow members of the American peace delegation.
In his riveting new book, Thomas Fleming moves elegantly between the key players in this drama and shows that the outcome we take for granted was far from certain. Not without anguish, General Washington resisted the urgings of many officers to seize power and held the angry army together until peace and independence arrived. With fresh research and masterful storytelling, Fleming breathes new life into this tumultuous but little known period in America's history.
“As riveting and suspenseful…it is ultimately inspiring, this is history the way we all wish it could be written.”
“No one understands the Revolutionary Era better. No one brings it to life with such amazing insight and intimacy.”
“A remarkable achievement, brilliant in conception and illuminating in the way in which heroes and villains…walk off the page.”
“[A]n engaging and lively narrative.”
“[A] meaningful story about America’s past that compels readers to rethink their understanding of American identity.”