Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution
by: Random House
Product rating: 3.8 with 10 reviews
A rising-star historian offers a significant new global perspective on the Revolutionary War with the story of the conflict as seen through the eyes of the outsiders of colonial society
Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America’s marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost,
she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
While citizens of the thirteen rebelling colonies came to blows with the British Empire over tariffs and parliamentary representation, the situation on the rest of the continent was even more fraught. In the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish forces clashed with Britain’s strained army to carve up the Gulf Coast, as both sides competed for allegiances with the powerful Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations who inhabited the region. Meanwhile, African American slaves had little control over their own lives, but some individuals found opportunities to expand their freedoms during the war. Independence Lost
reveals that individual motives counted as much as the ideals of liberty and freedom the Founders espoused: Independence had a personal as well as national meaning, and the choices made by people living outside the colonies were of critical importance to the war’s outcome. DuVal introduces us to the Mobile slave Petit Jean, who organized militias to fight the British at sea; the Chickasaw diplomat Payamataha, who worked to keep his people out of war; New Orleans merchant Oliver Pollock and his wife, Margaret O’Brien Pollock, who risked their own wealth to organize funds and garner Spanish support for the American Revolution; the half-Scottish-Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, who fought to protect indigenous interests from European imperial encroachment; the Cajun refugee Amand Broussard, who spent a lifetime in conflict with the British; and Scottish loyalists James and Isabella Bruce, whose work on behalf of the British Empire placed them in grave danger. Their lives illuminate the fateful events that took place along the Gulf of Mexico and, in the process, changed the history of North America itself.
Adding new depth and moral complexity, Kathleen DuVal reinvigorates the story of the American Revolution. Independence Lost
is a bold work that fully establishes the reputation of a historian who is already regarded as one of her generation’s best.
Praise for Independence Lost
“[An] astonishing story . . . Paint yourself a mental picture of the American War of Independence. If all you see are British redcoats battling minutemen and Continentals, Kathleen DuVal’s Independence Lost will knock your socks off.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Declaring that the American Revolution was fought in the name of empire almost seems blasphemous. However, DuVal excellently details how the event was actually a war for empire along the Gulf Coast of the United States. . . . Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“With deep research and lively writing, Kathleen DuVal musters a compelling cast to recover the dramatic story of the American Revolution in borderlands uneasily shared by rival empires, enslaved people, and defiant natives.”—Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Internal Enemy
“Gripping, rife with pathos, double-dealing, and intrigue.”—Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Encounters at the Heart of the World