Book Review of Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution by Woody Holton

Eventually, one leaves Holton’s book and wonders if he even considers the revolution worth remembering. In his concluding section, “Roads Opened, Roads Closed,” Holton downplays the events he has just spent 500 pages describing. A dozen pages from the end of “Liberty Is Sweet,” a slow reader that I am, I finally realized that its title is ironic. Because the revolution brought only a slight change in the status of women, Indians turned into “the worst victims of the war,” leaving chattels intact, and allowing “war-torn disease” [to devastate] every segment of the population, “Holton concludes in the end,” for the basic generation the American Revolution produced more misery than freedom. “Had Holton called this book” The Sour Fruits of Independence, “he would have found a more accurate title.

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