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The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  269 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The question at the heart of The Cousins' Wars is this: How did Anglo-America evolve over a mere three hundred years from a small Tudor kingdom into a global community with such a hegemonic grip on the world today, while no other European power—Spain, France, Germany, or Russia—did? The answer to this, according to Phillips, lies in a close examination of three internecine Eng ...more
Paperback, 1st paperback edition, 736 pages
Published 1999 by Basic Books (first published December 22nd 1998)
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Lauren Hiebner
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an in-depth analysis of the direct and indirect effects of three wars (English Civil War, 1640s; American Revolution, 1770s; and American Civil War, 1860s) on both Great Britain and the United States. This is not a military analysis but rather a cultural analysis within the context of these three wars. The author ties together the US and GB regarding religion, economics, immigration and migration, and politics. Phillips actually goes beyond these three wars to continue the analysis ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Kevin Phillips takes a very broad view of English and American history, showing how they are intertwined on on the basis of language, religion and region. His premise is that the English Civil War, American Revolution and American Civil War were basically civil wars of the English-speaking peoples, pitting egalitarian low-church Protestantism (with its associate factors of capitalism and trade) against high-church elitism, often aligned with the Crown and aristocracy, hierarchical and privilege- ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If ever a book illustrated cause and effect of historical events, this is it. Phillips contends that the American Revolution and the American Civil War were essentially continuations of the English Civil War of the 17th Century. He backs this up with census data going back to Cromwell's time. He traces the emigration of the various counties of England to the colonies. The Puritan and emerging middle class from the nascent industrial counties settled in New England and the Atlantic colonies. Thes ...more
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book tries to tie together the English Revolution with the American Revolution and then again with the American Civil War.

Far too broad in it's scope without a truly precise theory outside of "Every 100 years or so, the typically civil Anglo-Saxon race takes arms up against itself to bring itself closer to that more perfect freedom it has historically strived for" (paraphrasing).

Americans have such little exposure to the most important event in Anglo-American history
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't retain Phillips's position on how allegiances in the American Civil War are products of the same forces that drove allegiances in the prior cousins' wars. Maybe that's a consequence of more recent history yielding TMI, or maybe allegiances in the Civil War really were more complicated, or maybe he's just wrong and 8th grade history still has the simplest and most accurate interpretation. But I can't recommend highly enough the narrative connecting the English Civil War, the American Revo ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This book is a fine warm up for American Nations by Colin Woodard. Also see Albion's Seed by Hackett. Collectively, these books provide an excellent historical context that helps in understanding the present political currents in he U.S.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I came to this as a family historian concerned about whether the consecration of an Episcopal sisterhood, The Community of St. Mary, in my great great grandfather's NYC church, by Bishop Horatio Potter, in the mid-18th century, was an act of feminine empowerment or or the emergence of an Anglo-Catholic form of "high church" Episcopalianism. Potter's predecessor, Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk, had been cashiered for allegedly fondling a woman, by a court of Bishops in which the "Evangelicals" voted ...more
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a slog! This is a big, dense book. But, if you are a fan of early American History, this is a book not to pass up. I have had this book sitting on my selves for over a decade, buying it when it first came out. I now wish I read it much sooner than this. This is the first book I have read by Phillips, and if they are as all well researched and crafted as this, he is well worth the time and effort to read. The subtitle gives a good insight into the focus of the book. Phillips interweaves reli ...more
Fred R
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got interested because of Heisman's suicide note, which I think borrowed a fair amount from this book. A lot of good history here, although the organization is poor, and Phillips sometimes goes on tangents that should have been cut. His larger thesis seems to me incontrovertible, although his model doesn't really explain why Virginia took New England's side in the Revolutionary war.
Mark Singer
Ambitious attempt to connect the English Civil War, the American Revolution and the American Civil War through the lens of religion and ethnicity. The premise is fascinating but Philips is too dense for his own good.
Stephen Coates
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Phillips writes a long history that encompasses the English Civil War, the American of Independence and the American civil war which were between groups of people who where primarily Protestant of British origin, hence the term cousins. The English Civil War was fought to establish supremacy of the parliament over the monarch, the American of Independence was fought to establish democratic representation for those being taxed and the American of Independence to establish supremacy of the nationa ...more
Sep 01, 2018 added it
Nope, not a fan. If you need to sit with a dictionary by your side to look up a word in every paragraph and have to decipher wordy gratuitous prose, then i think I’ll pass.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I highly recommend this book.

I never knew that there was a Revolutionary unit of Africans that was nearly wiped out. And another unit that was comprised of Natives.
Zimran Ahmed
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Weak. Albinos Seed is better.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After discovering Kevin Phillips by way of his POLITICS OF RICH AND POOR, I read every one of his books eagerly, as they came out. At a point when he seemed to tire of repeatedly spelling out exactly how America is being ruined by reactionaries, he took refuge in the study of history. The result is this remarkable account of the deep roots of our current politics, and the three great internecine conflicts they gave rise to: the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil W ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very involved read, it took me several months to get through it and although extremely interesting I must admit that some of it went over my head since I don't have as good a grasp on American political history as I wish I did.

The overall thesis is refreshing looking at the links between the English civil war and how this conflict leaked out into the revolutionary wars and then the American civil war and influenced both British and American perceptions.

Not one f
Apr 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I had heard Mr. Phillips truculent style with grudging admiration on NPR before I ever read this book. It's one of those perceptive, original theses that startle one. If you'd like to see the English Civil War (or whatever they're callingthat multi-national conflict now) tied to he American Revolution and Civil War, read this.
Ryan Mulderrig
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Broad in scope, and somewhat disjointed at times...with a bit a positive bias towards the titular Anglo-American triumph. But a very interesting book, especially with regards to the ever evolving demographics of America. Hard to believe that many of the current divisions and differences we see today have definitevly clear roots extending backwards into the 16th Century.
Christopher Hinton
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book did more to help me better understand modern US politics than any other history book out there. He clearly lays out the ideological heritage of the US South and North all the way back to England and looks closely at the conflicts that occurred as a result: The English Civil War, the American Revolution and the US Civil War.
Michael Bryan
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great synthesis of 17th through 19th century English and American history. The author lays out the major conflicts on the period as a series of civil ears between social factions in the English speaking world. It's an excellent thesis, well presented, which contextualizes current political conflicts. Strongly recommend it.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding history book. Traces from England to the American revolution and the roots of many involved. Pithy and long - over 600 pages of relatively fine print.

I can recommend it to anyone interested in western history.
Carl Olson
Fascinating study of the continuities between the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War. Relevant to today as we divide into two irreconcilable factions in American politics. I just hope I can retire before the next big one.
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fellow History Geeks
An examination of the parallels between the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War.

Filled with good nuggets of information you would not have guessed out of the corners of history that neither Americans nor the British have tended to focus on.

Worth the read.
a very scholarly analysis of the relations of the puritan civil war in england to our revolution to our civil war. not as good as albion's seed, but similar.
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is a very good read and it certainly explains a lot about English religion, society and politics as well as the French & Indian, Revolutionary & American Civil War.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this, although it did take me forever to get through due to a busy schedule the last couple months of 2008.
Geoffrey Hazelton
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting twist on history. It links the English Civil war w/ Oliver Cromwell w/ the Revolutionary war and the Civil war.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Some interesting points drawing English civil war, US revolution, and US civil war together along religious and social lines, but very tedious at points.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Comprehensively and engagingly traces American and British rulers' and peoples' histories.
Geo Forman
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting look at the comparisons between the English Civil War, the War for Independence and Americas Civil War. Way too much statistical data to make it a good read, more a reference book for a term paper. But, for anyone interested in either war, this brings up some good points.
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