An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America
About the Book
A new British account of the Boston Tea Party and the origins of the American Revolution, showing how a lethal blend of politics, personalities and economics led to a war that few people welcomed but nobody could prevent.
In this powerful and even-handed narrative, Nick Bunker tells the story of three years of deepening anger that led to the outbreak of America's war for independence on Lexington Green in 1775. It was a tragedy of errors, in which both sides shared responsibility for a conflict that cost the lives of at least 20,000 Britons and a still larger number of Americans.
At the heart of the book lies the Boston Tea Party. By the 1770s, Great Britain had become a nation addicted to financial speculation, led by an élite beset by internal rivalry and baffled by a changing world. When the East India Company came close to collapse, they patched together a rescue plan whose disastrous outcome was the destruction of the tea.
With their lawyers calling the Tea Party treason, the British opted for harsh reprisals without foreseeing the resistance they would meet. For their part, the colonists underestimated Britain's determination not to give way. By August 1774, the descent into bloodshed had become irreversible. Using primary sources from both sides of the Atlantic, Bunker sheds new light on the Tea Party's origins and the process of mutual embitterment by which Britain and America pushed each other into war.