Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire

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Basic Books, Dec 9, 2008 - History - 800 pages
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In the eighteenth century, Britain became a world superpower through a series of sensational military strikes. Traditionally, the Royal Navy has been seen as Britain's key weapon, but in Three Victories and a Defeat Brendan Simms argues that Britain's true strength lay with the German aristocrats who ruled it at the time. The House of Hanover superbly managed a complex series of European alliances that enabled Britain to keep the continental balance of power in check while dramatically expanding her own empire. These alliances sustained the nation through the War of the Spanish Succession, the War of the Austrian Succession, and the Seven Years' War. But in 1776, Britain lost the American continent by alienating her European allies.

An extraordinary reinterpretation of British and American history, Three Victories and a Defeat is a masterwork by a rising star of the historical profession.

 

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Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire

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Britain's empire and security, according to Simms (European International Relations, Univ. of Cambridge; Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia), were not so much the results of its ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
England in Europe 15581697
9
Britain and the Empire
44
Imperial Restoration 17141715
79
Britains New European Empire 17161717
107
Preventive War in the Mediterranean and the Baltic
135
A Protestant Empire 17211724
159
The Return of Charles V 17251726
183
Transferring the Seat of Empire? 17531756
387
The Imperial Missions of William Pitt 17571759
422
An Island Once Again 17601763
463
Imperial Retrenchments 17631765
501
Imperial Preemptions 17651767
532
Empire Adrift 17681772
555
Fighting for Europe in America 17731777
579
Losing America in Europe 17781779
615

The Resurgence of France 17271732
204
Imperial Retreat 17331736
227
The Colonial Mirage 17371739
247
Imperial Isolation 17401742
274
The Empires Strike Back 17421745
307
The American Empire Restores the Balance in
333
Imperial Preemptions 17481752
355
The Partition of Britain 17801783
636
Conclusion
662
Bibliography
685
Notes
726
Index
783
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Brendan Simms is Reader in International Relations at the Center for International Studies at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Struggle for Mastery in Germany and Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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