Liberty's Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire

Maya Jasanoff

Liberty's Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire

On a November day in 1783, the last British troops pulled out of New York City, bringing British rule in the United States to an end. It was the greatest British imperial defeat in generations. None felt the loss more immediately than the hundreds of thousands of Americans who had remained loyal to Britain. What would happen to them in the new United States? Would they and their families be safe? Facing grave doubts, some sixty thousand loyalists decided to leave their homes and become refugees, to rebuild their shattered lives elsewhere in the British Empire. They sailed for Britain, for Canada, for Jamaica and the Bahamas; some ventured as far as Sierra Leone and India. Wherever they went, the voyage out of America was a fresh beginning and it carried them into a dynamic if uncertain new world. Liberty’s Exiles tells the story of this extraordinary global diaspora — the most wide-ranging refugee crisis Britain had ever faced. 4.5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Liberty's Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre History
Format Hardback
Pages 416
RRP £30.00
Date of Publication February 2011
ISBN 978-0007180080
Publisher HarperPress
 

On a November day in 1783, the last British troops pulled out of New York City, bringing British rule in the United States to an end. It was the greatest British imperial defeat in generations. None felt the loss more immediately than the hundreds of thousands of Americans who had remained loyal to Britain. What would happen to them in the new United States? Would they and their families be safe? Facing grave doubts, some sixty thousand loyalists decided to leave their homes and become refugees, to rebuild their shattered lives elsewhere in the British Empire. They sailed for Britain, for Canada, for Jamaica and the Bahamas; some ventured as far as Sierra Leone and India. Wherever they went, the voyage out of America was a fresh beginning and it carried them into a dynamic if uncertain new world. Liberty’s Exiles tells the story of this extraordinary global diaspora — the most wide-ranging refugee crisis Britain had ever faced.

Reviews

The Spectator

John Preston

It’s true that she uses the verb ‘opine’ quite a lot, which makes anyone deserving of a light flogging in my book, and her sniffy reference to Wilberforce’s paternalistic antislavery campaign seems a bit harsh. But in every other respect, this is an enormously impressive piece of work, fluent, incisive and full of vim. Not only has Maya Jasanoff found a previously unexplored and fascinating subject, her treatment of it may well prove to be definitive.

19/02/2011

Read Full Review


The Times

Amanda Foreman

One may quibble with Jasanoff’s overoptimistic portrayal of Anglo-American relations after 1812. But Liberty’s Exiles is not only a masterful historical study, it is also a jolly good read.

12/02/2011

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Linda Colley

[A] vivid, superbly researched and highly intelligent book ... Exploring imperial and global history through the lens of particular families and individuals in motion is becoming a well-established methodology, and Jasanoff employs it with terrific panache. But close attention to the highly mobile should never obscure the power and prejudices of those very many people in the past who remained still and entrenched.

19/02/2011

Read Full Review


The New York Review of Books

Gordon S Wood

Spirited and engaging … Jasanofff … demonstrates that, despite a multitude of mistakes, the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from North America over a mere matter of months was extraordinarily well handled and a tribute to the efficiency and humanity of the British officials, especially Guy Carleton, the commander in chief of the British forces in North America.

01/03/2011

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Dominic Sandbrook

[A] fine, measured work … fascinating, well written and deftly balanced

30/01/2011

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore