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Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  366 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The story of this war has usually been told in terms of a conflict between blundering British generals and their rigidly disciplined red-coated troops on the one side and heroic American patriots in their homespun shirts and coonskin caps on the other. In this fresh, compelling narrative, Christopher Hibbert portrays the realities of a war that raged the length of an entir ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published April 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 942)
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Aug 19, 2015 Libby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
I always thought that history depended on who was telling the story at the end of the day. Turns out I was right on. Imagine yourself as a citizen of London, anxious to hear the latest news from The Colonies. It won't be immediate, you know that. The swiftest passage of the Atlantic is four or five weeks, and a more usual time is two months. By the time you receive your news, it is already at least six weeks out of date. So imagine the frustration of His Majesty's Government, trying to make poli ...more
Themes: war, American Revolution, liberty, politics, biography, geography
Setting: the new United States of America, 1770s-1780s, Canada, and England

So we've all heard the story about how the patriots wanted freedom from the oppression of that evil King George and how they rose up, demanded their rights, and made the world safe for democracy, right? Not surprisingly, the story is not quite that simple, and this book presents the whole war from the British point of view. We get a good look at what
Sean Chick
Mar 02, 2014 Sean Chick rated it really liked it
In some ways I am being too kind. Hibbert makes some errors in his mastery of facts. The Americans barely make an appearance in the narrative although when they do it is oddly detailed. His powers of analysis are limited and his conjecture at the book's end is interesting but not developed. Yet he does a good job of showing the command paralysis and errors that led to Britain's defeat. His judgement of character is shrewd, for he sees the good and bad in each man. I think he is too kind to Cornw ...more
Oct 16, 2013 Ton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel this book is both good and pleasant to read. I know something of the subject, but I'm certainly no authority, so I was occasionally surprised by turns of events. This account views the American War from the British perspective, which is what the title on goodreads says, but oddly my copy does not. Anyway, the book gives a picture of British divisions, lack of governmental focus (hampered by the distance, the multitude of concerns facing it and chronic shortage of resources and troops) and ...more
Dustin Schroer
Jan 24, 2013 Dustin Schroer rated it liked it
Shelves: history, revisionist
The most annoying thing i can say about the author is that he tends to describe everything the Americans did militarily as being foreseen by the British Generals. He also wades over a number of American victories with barely a mention. Granted some of these "victories" can be overall viewed as insignificant or militarily unimportant. An example i can give is early in the war with the siege of Boston. While in the grand scheme of the war it was a small victory for the Americans, the author skims ...more
Dec 24, 2010 Mikey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
not being the life-long scholar of the revolution that some of the reviewers are, i really enjoyed the book. I found it to be rather informative on the "tory" side of the war. I am a product of the 50's and we were given a whitewashed account of this period(which i still prefer to the "hang your head in shame" teachings in todays super liberal education system). I would never have thought there was as widespread support of the Crown as there apparantly was, or that our Military was as inept as i ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Shad rated it it was ok
It is good to see a British perspective, and by good I mean funny.
Raving Redcoat
Jan 23, 2016 Raving Redcoat rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. Most books on the American War of Independence focus on the "Patriot" forces. This one looks at it (big shock) through His Majesty's forces, and shows not how the Rebels won... but how the Crown forces lost.
Nicki Markus
Dec 29, 2015 Nicki Markus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Redcoats and Rebels is a wonderful overview text to the American Revolution, looking at both sides of the fight. Covering the full course of the conflict, there is no time to look in-depth at battles and events (the André-Arnold episode is covered in just a few pages for example); however, other texts do that, and this one does a good job presenting the bigger picture. Scholarly yet accessible, this is a read that should please both serious students and the more general reader. Highly recommende ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Jimmacc rated it it was amazing
truly eye opening. Well written and engaging.
Aug 21, 2015 Ladiibbug marked it as to-read
avail. @ libr.

Rec: G/R Libby
Jesús Rodriguez
Aug 17, 2013 Jesús Rodriguez rated it really liked it
Great reading and a different perspective on the Revolution War!!! At times you kind of felt for the soldiers who were fighting the war; at times you became angry and agitated at the conduct of the soldiers-some of them seem no better than the "gang bangers" we have in the hood!!! With all the mistake-the English and The Americans-it was a miracle that it took seven years to complete; an even more of a miracle that the Americans won!!!! Thank god for the short sight and the overconfidence the En ...more
Robert Mcfarland
Mar 27, 2015 Robert Mcfarland rated it it was ok
it wasnt hard to read but wasnt easy to read. very mixed storyline, few good informations.
Jane Walker
I wanted to read this after doing my own original research on two men, Joseph Harrison and his son Richard Acklom Harrison, who were Collectors of Customs in Boston when the trouble started. (See However, I learnt nothing about pre-war America, and Hibbert's account of events leading up to the war is brief and sketchy. Didn't finish it, but may at a later date.
Mar 17, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An award-winning British historian gives depth to the history of the American Revolution by sharing events in Britain involving the King, Parliament and ordinary citizens. His description of the "Boston Tea Party" was amazing. Over 35,000 lbs of tea were dumped in the bay. The tea was so thick, the tea on top was dry and being grabbed by locals to take home. A very interesting history.
A frustrating read. It is supposed to offer a particular British perspective on the war but it doesn't really tell us more than we would find in any other good history of the Revolution. If you've not read about the Revolution before this would be a good intro...but not much more than that.

Hibbert is a popular expect that level of intelligence...but not more.

Walt O'Hara
Oct 16, 2012 Walt O'Hara rated it really liked it
Very well written in a dry and acerbic literary style. Redcoats and Rebels purports to be the Revolutionary War through the eyes of the British. It's hard to tell this story without telling both stories and Hibbert does a very workmanlike job of doing so. Not sure what I learned new here but I certainly enjoyed reading it, I like Hibbert's style and his research cannot be faulted.
Jul 19, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
The perspective from the British side was different from any other history I've encountered about the American Revolution. The parlimentary debates were fascinating, from a political perspective. I had an awareness that the revolutionary efforts in the colonies had their supporters in the UK, but I hadn't realized the extent, or the vibrancy of the debates surrounding the issues.
Aug 10, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
Not a bad book. I think it was good in showing that the British were not as strong in the US as portrayed in other books and popular venues. The British were constantly sending troops to other colonies. Also, support for the war was divided in England. However, the book itself was mostly duplicative to other books about the American Revolution.
Nov 09, 2007 Brad rated it it was ok
A decent book on the history of the American Revolution from the perspective of the British. Only one problem, the author talks more about the American perspective than the British! I think he forgot what the title of his book was. It is still an ok book. If you want something on the American Revolution, there is better stuff out there.
Jul 30, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, history-war, own
This book is quite well written and easy to read. It provides a revealing look into the personalities and character of of each of the generals and the Ministers who directed the war. It is an excellent high level view of the war from the British perspective, and provides much needed clarification of the real reasons why Britain lost.
Apr 11, 2012 Antony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clear,concise and well written history taking the reader through events from the British perspective and with an insight to the character of the people involved. Eye witness accounts, maps and pictures all add to the telling. I learnt much about a period in history I previously knew little about.
Rick Wong
Feb 10, 2008 Rick Wong rated it really liked it
Nice view from the British side, since all we get is our side. Sometimes we forget about the other side, and how they feel about war and going home; and that is basically the same as the colonial side.
Nov 29, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
I finally finished this book. It was a close call, but we won when George Washington hit Alexander Hamilton with a Hail Mary on the final play at Yorktown. Final score: Patriots 45, Red Coats 42.
Jan 01, 2009 fred rated it it was amazing
Great stuff! Its interesting to hear the oposite view of the events of the American revolution. I love the brits and hate reading about how brutal the war was, but that is the nature of war.
Estelle Champlain
Aug 30, 2013 Estelle Champlain rated it liked it
Good if you are looking for a strictly military history of the Revolutionary War. If you want social and political details see Gordon Wood's Radicalism of the American Revolution.
Meg Winkler
Oct 29, 2010 Meg Winkler rated it it was amazing
Great, GREAT book. Read it for a different perspective on the American Revolution...the BRITISH perspective. Very easy to read, for the historian and novice alike. Loved it!
Joseph Howard
Jul 12, 2008 Joseph Howard rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historians
A little hard to read. Supposed to be the Revolution from the British's eyes, but mostly seems to echo already known facts. But, still enough tid-bits to keep my attention.
Jul 28, 2010 Pbwritr marked it as to-read
Another very interesting book, about the Revolutionary War from the British perspective. I couldn't get far, though, as I had to return it to the library.
Jan 31, 2013 Steve rated it liked it
not all that different than any other history of the revolution. I expected something more and got something less.
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Christopher Hibbert, MC, FRSL, FRGS (5 March 1924 - 21 December 2008) was an English writer, historian and biographer. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.

Described by Professor Sir John Plumb as "a writer of the highest ability and in the N
More about Christopher Hibbert...

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