Liberty against oppression, right against wrong - a clear message has come down to us about the origins of the American War of Independence, one of the founding events of the modern world. As with so many legends, the truth is somewhat different. In this revealing account, Robert Harvey overturns most of our assumptions about the causes of the war. Both Britain and America were divided over the struggle, America violently so, while in Britain many favoured independence if it would avoid bloodshed. The war itself was vicious and confused, and marked by incompetence and bad faith on both sides. When it was over the Americans pushed out their French allies, while the British, who had encouraged black slaves to revolt, and Indians to attack, abandoned both to their fate. Yet after four years of misrule the Constitutional Convention imposed its own conservative counter-revolution, and out of bloodshed and suffering, cunning, idealism and courage, there emerged the infant nation that was to become the most powerful the world has ever seen. In this extraordinary and intensely readable book Robert Harvey tells the whole extraordinary story of its birth.