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And that between occasional crises everything is all right, and it is sufficient for us to be restored to that normal state. They teach us that the supreme act of citizenship is to choose among saviors, by going into a voting booth every four years to choose between two white and well-off Anglo-Saxon males of inoffensive personality and orthodox opinions. The idea of saviors has been built into the entire culture, beyond politics. We have learned to look to stars, leaders, experts in every field, thus surrendering our own strength, demeaning our own ability, obliterating our own selves.

But from time to time, Americans reject that idea and rebel. These rebellions, so far, have been contained. The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a troublesome minority.

It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased. There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, lee-ways, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen, winning tickets in lotteries. There is none that disperses its controls more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media- none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.

One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled. These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country. Against the reality of that desperate, bitter battle for resources made scarce by elite control, I am taking the liberty of uniting those 99 percent as "the people.

To emphasize the commonality of the 99 percent, to declare deep enmity of interest with the 1 percent, is to do exactly what the governments of the United States, and the wealthy elite allied to them-from the Founding Fathers to now-have tried their best to prevent. Madison feared a "majority faction" and hoped the new Constitution would control it.

He and his colleagues began the Preamble to the Constitution with the words "We the people The pretense continued over the generations, helped by all-embracing symbols, physical or verbal: the flag, patriotism, democracy, national interest, national defense, national security. The slogans were dug into the earth of American culture like a circle of covered wagons on the western plain, from inside of which the white, slightly privileged American could shoot to kill the enemy outside- Indians or blacks or foreigners or other whites too wretched to be allowed inside the circle.

The managers of the caravan watched at a safe distance, and when the battle was over and the field strewn with dead on both sides, they would take over the land, and prepare another expedition, for another territory. The scheme never worked perfectly. The Revolution and the Constitution, trying to bring stability by containing the class angers of the colonial period-while enslaving blacks, annihilating or displacing Indians-did not quite succeed, judging by the tenant uprisings, the slave revolts, the abolitionist agitation, the feminist upsurge, the Indian guerrilla warfare of the pre-Civil War years.

After the Civil War, a new coalition of southern and northern elites developed, with southern whites and blacks of the lower classes occupied in racial conflict, native workers and immigrant workers clashing in the North, and the farmers dispersed over a big country, while the system of capitalism consolidated itself in industry and government.

But there came rebellion among industrial workers and a great opposition movement among farmers. At the turn of the century, the violent pacification of blacks and Indians and the use of elections and war to absorb and divert white rebels were not enough, in the conditions of modem industry, to prevent the great upsurge of socialism, the massive labor struggles, before the First World War.

Neither that war nor the partial prosperity of the twenties, nor the apparent destruction of the socialist movement, could prevent, in the situation of economic crisis, another radical awakening, another labor upsurge in the thirties. World War II created a new unity, followed by an apparently successful attempt, in the atmosphere of the cold war, to extinguish the strong radical temper of the war years. But then, surprisingly, came the surge of the sixties, from people thought long subdued or put out of sight-blacks, women, Native Americans, prisoners, soldiers-and a new radicalism, which threatened to spread widely in a population disillusioned by the Vietnam war and the politics of Watergate.

The exile of Nixon, the celebration of the Bicentennial, the presidency of Carter, all aimed at restoration. But restoration to the old order was no solution to the uncertainty, the alienation, which was intensified in the Reagan-Bush years. The election of Clinton in , carrying with it a vague promise of change, did not fulfill the expectations of the hopeful. With such continuing malaise, it is very important for the Establishment-that uneasy club of business executives, generals, and politicos-to maintain the historic pretension of national unity, in which the government represents all the people, and the common enemy is overseas, not at home, where disasters of economics or war are unfortunate errors or tragic accidents, to be corrected by the members of the same club that brought the disasters.

It is important for them also to make sure this artificial unity of highly privileged and slightly privileged is the only unity-that the 99 percent remain split in countless ways, and turn against one another to vent their angers. How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humiliation! How adroit to bus poor black youngsters into poor white neighborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers.

How ingenious to meet the demands of blacks and women for equality by giving them small special benefits, and setting them in competition with everyone else for jobs made scarce by an irrational, wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward a class of criminals bred-by economic inequity-faster than they can be put away, deflecting attention from the huge thefts of national resources carried out within the law by men in executive offices.


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But with all the controls of power and punishment, enticements and concessions, diversions and decoys, operating throughout the history of the country, the Establishment has been unable to keep itself secure from revolt. Every time it looked as if it had succeeded, the very people it thought seduced or subdued, stirred and rose. Blacks, cajoled by Supreme Court decisions and congressional statutes, rebelled.

Women, wooed and ignored, romanticized and mistreated, rebelled. Indians, thought dead, reappeared, defiant. Young people, despite lures of career and comfort, defected. Working people, thought soothed by reforms, regulated by law, kept within bounds by their own unions, went on strike. Government intellectuals, pledged to secrecy, began giving away secrets.

Priests turned from piety to protest. To recall this is to remind people of what the Establishment would like them to forget-the enormous capacity of apparently helpless people to resist, of apparently contented people to demand change. To uncover such history is to find a powerful human impulse to assert one's humanity. It is to hold out, even in times of deep pessimism, the possibility of surprise.

Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It

True, to overestimate class consciousness, to exaggerate rebellion and its successes, would be misleading. It would not account for the fact that the world-not just the United States, but everywhere else-is still in the hands of the elites, that people's movements, although they show an infinite capacity for recurrence, have so far been either defeated or absorbed or perverted, that "socialist" revolutionists have betrayed socialism, that nationalist revolutions have led to new dictatorships. But most histories understate revolt, overemphasize statesmanship, and thus encourage impotency among citizens.

When we look closely at resistance movements, or even at isolated forms of rebellion, we discover that class consciousness, or any other awareness of injustice, has multiple levels. It has many ways of expression, many ways of revealing itself-open, subtle, direct, distorted. In a system of intimidation and control, people do not show how much they know, how deeply they feel, until their practical sense informs them they can do so without being destroyed.

The problems were awesome. Not only were many whites prepared to use brandy and rum to achieve their aims, but they had conflicting interests. Some traders favored regulation of the fur trade, and others did not. Land speculators, however, wanted to move the Indians westward and open more territory for white settlement. Confused, lied to, and cheated of their land and their furs by greedy white traders and land-hungry migrants, the Indians retaliated with atrocities and raids. Some tribes attempted to form coalitions and wage full-scale war. From the devastating Cherokee War of —61 in South Carolina to the assault on the Shawnees in by Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, British officials repeatedly had to use royal troops to put down Indian revolts.

The biggest Indian rebellion of the period occurred in following the British takeover of the former French forts in the West. In just a few weeks Indians from several tribes that had joined together under the leadership of an Ottawa chief named Pontiac surprised and destroyed all but three of the British posts west of the Appalachians. Before they were pushed back by British troops, the angry warriors had penetrated eastward into the backcountry of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia and had killed more than 2, colonists. It is no wonder that many royal authorities in the s concluded that only the presence of regular troops of the British army could maintain peace in the American borderlands of the empire.

See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. About the Author Gordon S. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A History of American Gifted Education. A History of American Gifted Education provides the first comprehensive history of the field of A History of American Gifted Education provides the first comprehensive history of the field of gifted education, which is essential to recognizing its contribution to the overall American educational landscape.

The text relies heavily on primary documents and artifacts as View Product. The history of the American rebellion against England, written by one of America's preeminent eighteenth-century The history of the American rebellion against England, written by one of America's preeminent eighteenth-century historians, differs from many views of the Revolution. It is not colored by excessive worship of the Founding Fathers but, instead, permeated by sympathy for A Short History of the American Revolution. The first one-volume survey of the American Revolution that is both objective and comprehensive, this The first one-volume survey of the American Revolution that is both objective and comprehensive, this outstanding narrative history traces the growth of a conflict that inexorably set the American colonies on the road to independence.

Offering a spirited chronicle of Active History: American Revolution. Bring your class back in time with the war in which America won its independence. This teacher-friendly resource provides students with meaningful learning experiences through five engaging and easy-to-implement simulations that appeal to a variety of learning modalities and promote American History 1. Prepare for your history exams or learn more about key events in American history with Detailing the discovery and settlement of the New World up through the Civil War and Reconstruction, A timeline that includes the most important points in American History from through Good for any student of any age or for any history buff.

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Preview — Whirlwind by John Ferling. Amid a great collection of scholarship and narrative history on the Revolutionary War and the American struggle for independence, there is a gaping hole; one that John Ferling's latest book, Whirlwind , will fill. Books chronicling the Revolution have largely ranged from multivolume tomes that appeal to scholars and the most serious general readers to microhistories that ne Amid a great collection of scholarship and narrative history on the Revolutionary War and the American struggle for independence, there is a gaping hole; one that John Ferling's latest book, Whirlwind , will fill.

Books chronicling the Revolution have largely ranged from multivolume tomes that appeal to scholars and the most serious general readers to microhistories that necessarily gloss over swaths of Independence-era history with only cursory treatment. Written in Ferling's engaging and narrative-driven style that made books like Independence and The Ascent of George Washington critical and commercial successes, Whirlwind is a fast-paced and scrupulously told one-volume history of this epochal time.

Balancing social and political concerns of the period and perspectives of the average American revolutionary with a careful examination of the war itself, Ferling has crafted the ideal book for armchair military history buffs, a book about the causes of the American Revolution, the war that won it, and the meaning of the Revolution overall.

Combining careful scholarship, arresting detail, and illustrative storytelling, Whirlwind is a unique and compelling addition to any collection of books on the American Revolution. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title.

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Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Whirlwind , please sign up. How does this book compare to the author's previous one-volume history of the American Revolution, "Almost a Miracle"? See 1 question about Whirlwind…. Lists with This Book.

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. And what a whirlwind it was! I've often thought it miraculous that the Americans were able to achieve victory in this war, and go on to forge a powerful nation. At what heavy a cost did this victory come about!

Ferling's book is a comprehensive and unflinching look at how it all played out, a detailed account of the harrowing conflict that brought about the United States of America, from the earliest stirrings of discontent to its eventual end after long, difficult years of fighting, and its cul And what a whirlwind it was! Ferling's book is a comprehensive and unflinching look at how it all played out, a detailed account of the harrowing conflict that brought about the United States of America, from the earliest stirrings of discontent to its eventual end after long, difficult years of fighting, and its culmination in the Treaty of Paris of another miracle in itself!

I especially liked learning not only about goings on in America leading up to the fighting and during the war, but about events in Great Britain, in France, on the American frontier, and other locales; how the enslaved and native Americans were affected; and as a Southerner, how especially difficult the war in the South was to win I'm frankly surprised that Georgia and the Carolinas are not still British.

Above all, I can finally understand just how extraordinarily difficult this war was on those living through it in North America during that time -- the horrible conditions soldiers endured; how families were torn apart patriots vs loyalists ; how deeply it changed people in all walks of life as the war went on; how Americans from different classes and walks of life defined "freedom," and the different things they expected from "independence" should the war be won It was a horrifically deadly war, resulting in a shockingly high death toll yet to be surpassed in our country's wars.

Many terrible mistakes were made by those in command on all sides, and yet somehow the American patriots were able to claim their hard-won victory. In the end, although I previously felt I had a decent grasp of the events of the war before I read this book, I learned so very much more, and more than ever can appreciate the miracle which led to the beginning of our country as an independent and unique nation.

I highly recommend this book to those looking for an in-depth, gut-wrenching look at the events of the Revolutionary War. Dec 31, Brevin rated it it was amazing. This incredible book has lots of details and information, and perfectly sets a tone for this turbulent time period. May 29, Geo Forman rated it it was amazing. An appropriate measure of politics, personalities, societies and the battlefield. The author has an exemplary style of writing Best one volume history of America's fight for independence that I've read.

Feb 21, Casey Wheeler rated it really liked it Shelves: history , revolutionary-war , net-galley. I requested this book as I am an avid of United States history including several on the Revolutionary War. I have read several books by John Ferling.


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This is a well written and researched book that is an enjoyable read as many of the other books written by this author. While there is not much new in this book to a comprehensive reader of the Revolutionary War, it is presented in a logical, straight forward style. It covers the events leading up to the War starting with the conclusion of the French and Indian War and ends with the establishment of the United States of America. This book will be particularly enlightening to those who have not read much about the Revolutionary War or the main players in the events surrounding it.

It will also resonate with those who have extensively read about the time period due to its exhaustive research and Ferling's easy to read style. Sep 07, Ross rated it really liked it. This is a must read for all with an interest in the Revolutionary War. I have read many histories of the war, and this book provided material I had not seen before. Most of the histories I have read provided just a few lines describing the Stamp Act and the Boston Tea Party as the root causes of the war.

This book provides some pages, the first half of the book, describing in detail the background from both the British and the Colonists side of the British actions that transformed the Colonist This is a must read for all with an interest in the Revolutionary War. This book provides some pages, the first half of the book, describing in detail the background from both the British and the Colonists side of the British actions that transformed the Colonists from loyal subjects to rebellion.

The book details the British as, by today's standards, a totally corrupt society and government. A society in which birth was everything. As a result of their blundering stupidity they triggered the revolution and created the modern world of the West in which merit trumps birth most of the time. The second half of the book is a nice coverage of the war itself which is very engaging as well. Jan 01, Bill F. I've enjoyed two other John Ferling works: Adams vs.

Ferling, a retired history professor from the University of West Georgia, has compiled a masterful study of the Revolutionary War. There are two main themes to the book. The first is that the colonial unrest from was not on I've enjoyed two other John Ferling works: Adams vs. The first is that the colonial unrest from was not one, uninterrupted natural progression leading to a 'declaration' of independence. The second theme is to that there was nothing preordained about an American victory in the war. While most wars seem easier to predict with the hindsight of knowing who won, the Revolutionary War has been particularly susceptible to that temptation.

Because the Revolutionary War became so tied to the story of our birth as a nation we - subconsciously perhaps - simply treat it as a given that "we " were going to win. Ferling places the blame for the war solely on Great Britain. He argues that - from the very beginning of the American protests against the Stamp Act in straight through the entreaties of redress sought by the Continental Congress ten years later - Britain's leaders never even attempted to reconsider how they governed the colonies - a refusal that Ferling aptly calls "a fatal intransigence". Britain gambled that they could keep everything the way it was by "bludgeoning" the colonists in what they felt would be a short and easy war.

Ferling maps out the pre-war history and how we got to Lexington and Concord. The colonial anger over the Stamp Act in is often cited as the beginning of the move for independence. Ferling argues, though, that in there was no movement for independence. First, the colonies were not united and political leaders in one colony were largely unaware of the leaders in other colonies.

Second, in there were no citizen militias. Finally, there was still a war-weariness among colonists after the Seven Years' War, which had concluded only two years earlier. Even after the Boston Massacre in , Ferling argues that anti-British feeling had actually settled down.. Indeed, Sam Adams was doing all he could to find an issue that would reignite popular resistance. One such effort was the very public and solemn anniversary remembrance of the Boston Massacre that Adams orchestrated every March 5th from Adams - perhaps more than any other revolutionary - realized the need to connect the city of Boston's popular revolutionary leadership with residents of the backcountry communities in New England, to create a sustained insurgency.

To do so, Adams created a critical organization, the Boston Committee of Correspondence, in British effrontery would now quickly be communicated from Boston throughout New England. Continual bungling by the British toward the colonists - and the firing of shots at Lexington and Concord - quickened the desire for independence. As Ferling writes, "nothing reshaped [colonial] thinking so profoundly, and so quickly, as the War" itself. Ferling's opinion of George Washington as a general is favorable, He praises Washington's strategy of keeping the army alive to fight another day - called the Fabian strategy.

The theory was that, so long as there was an army, then there was a revolution. That theory was put to the test, as for almost four years - from - Washington's troops fought no battles whatsoever. Considering the high mortality rates during the war [more on that in a moment] it makes one wonder just how high those numbers might have risen had there been battles during those four years.

Troops died during those years from disease, certainly; but the carnage that didn't occur from four years of battle that never happened is immeasurable. One of the most interesting aspects of Ferling's work is his study of the British government's strategy and policymakers - an angle often overlooked by American historians studying the war.

That gave birth to a new strategy: Britain abandoned the idea of conquering New England and the mid Atlantic. True, if the strategy was successful it could still result in an American nation. But that new nation would have been made up of only nine states and would have been surrounded by Britain to the north Canada south, and west. While initially the British strategy worked, and they retook Georgia and South Carolina and made significant inroads into Virginia, the British army made several missteps.

Ferling cites as a key error a decision made by Sir Henry Clinton in South Carolina: after taking Charleston in , he kept the inhabitants under military rule instead of restoring a central civil government. The dread of military law alienated a considerable portion of a population that had Tory leanings and might have remained loyal to England had civil law been returned. Britain's southern strategy was costly. Between those five, Cornwallis lost 3, men - about half of his total force. This led to Horace Walpole's famous quote, "Lord Cornwallis has conquered By the summer of , Washington was determined that he would make his stand by retaking New York City.

Others argued that fighting Cornwallis in the south was the best strategy to end the war. It all hinged upon the French fleet led by Francois Joseph comte de Grasse - where would he and his troops land? If in the north, then Washington would use these reinforcements to try to retake New York City. If de Grasse and his desperately needed troops landed closer to the south, then Washington would agree to a southern campaign. When de Grasse and his fleet arrived at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay on August 14, , the decision was made to head south.

Once Washington knew where de Grasse had landed, he created a complicated and effective illusion for the British troops around New York City, making them think that he was coming to retake the city. In the meantime, Washington's troops began heading to Virginia and a showdown with Cornwallis. The Battle at Yorktown began October 9, The war - for all intents and purposes - was over.

In looking back at the numbers, Ferling says that more than , men served in the Continental army; thousands more served in the navy and in state militias. Most historians believe about 30, in the army died - a percentage roughly equal to the toll of regulars killed in the Civil War; but nearly ten times greater than in World War II. It's important to note, though, that nearly a third of those deaths were non-battle related and came from disease.

Historian Elizabeth Fenn has estimated that another , noncombatants died just from small pox alone. On the other side, 10, British and 7, Germans died in the war, as did about.

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Taken as a whole, over 50, who served Great Britain around the world died, as did more than 20, Frenchmen. Adding in Spanish dead takes the death toll close to , - and that doesn't include civilians, where accurate tallies have proven impossible to get. Ferling concludes that the American Revolution - as outlined above in the tallies of dead - was truly a world war. There were many factors that influenced the conduct of the war. But, at it's very heart, the genesis was the idea that Americans would not allow themselves to be governed by a distant government; and that distant government simply refused to change how it governed.

The ideas led to the war, but the war took those ideas to places where few if anyone could have seen when they first bubbled up in with the Stamp Act.