Magazine article Foreign Affairs

How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI, and the Success of a Revolution

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI, and the Success of a Revolution

Article excerpt

How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI, and the Success of a Revolution BY TOM SHACHTMAN. St. Martin's Press, 2017, 368 pp.

American high school history courses briefly mention that French intervention helped seal the success of the American Revolution, yet the emphasis in U.S. civic discourse always remains firmly fixed on the courage and resolve of the Founding Fathers. Shachtman wants to give France its due. He demonstrates the depth of the French commitment by tracing the complex negotiations behind the Franco-American alliance. The rebellious American colonists first needed to overcome their deep mistrust of the French, whom they had fought a generation before in the French and Indian War. Then the rebels sent a team to Paris headed by Benjamin Franklin, who needed years to convince France to make its scarce resources available. …

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