The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival After Yorktown by Thomas D. Fleming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What an interesting filler to the American history I learned in school! It always seemed that we went from the signing of the Declaration to the signing of the Constitution relatively easily, but in truth there was much more going on. In this book, covering the time between the victory at Yorktown through Washington's stepping down as Commander-in-Chief, we get a really in-depth look at just how chaotic that time was.
Based on films like "1776" and "The Adams Chronicles" I didn't know that John Adams and Ben Franklin were anything other than friends, but apparently they really disliked each other. As they both try to negotiate a peace treaty, recognition of the new country and secure loans (at first with Franklin based in France, Adams in Holland and then together in France) their back-biting didn't help our cause. Neither did the strong loyalist population still in the former colonies, or the fact that the British still held three major cities and didn't want to give them up. The lack of funds to pay the army was also a major problem. And then there was the issue of Gibraltar...
Given how little time teachers have to spend on our history if they're going to cover 200-300+ years, it's not surprising that all this has been neglected. I'm glad some of the missing has been filled in for me!