HOW THE FRENCH SAVED AMERICA: SOLDIERS, SAILORS, DIPLOMATS, LOUIS XVI, AND THE SUCCESS OF A REVOLUTION

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To be published by St. Martin’s Press in September 2017: HOW THE FRENCH SAVED AMERICA: SOLDIERS, SAILORS, DIPLOMATS, LOUIS XVI, AND THE SUCCESS OF A REVOLUTION.

From the St. Martins Press catalog:

Americans today have a love/hate relationship with France, but in his new book, Tom Shachtman shows that without France, there might not be a United States of America.

To the rebelling colonies, French assistance made the difference between looming defeat and eventual triumph. Even before the Declaration of Independence was issued, King Louis XVI and French foreign minister Vergennes were aiding the rebels. After the Declaration, that assistance broadened to include wages for our troops; guns, cannon, and ammunition; engineering expertise that enabled victories and prevented defeats; diplomatic recognition when no other country would give it; safe havens for privateers; battlefield leadership by veteran officers; and the army and fleet that made possible the Franco-American victory at Yorktown.

Nearly ten percent of those who fought and died for the American cause were French. Those who fought and survived, in addition to the well-known Lafayette and Rochambeau, include François de Fleury, who won a Congressional Medal for valor, Louis Duportail, who founded the Army Corps of Engineers, and Admiral de Grasse, whose sea victory sealed the fate of Yorktown.

Pre-publication review:

“At last a full and compelling accounting of the crucial role that France and the French played in the American Revolutionary War! Tom Shachtman skillfully shatters the myth that Americans secured their independence from Great Britain alone and by themselves. Through meticulous research, he tells the fascinating story of how the American revolutionaries slowly and at times fitfully negotiated their country’s first international alliance, ultimately leading to military victory and the creation of the United States. This book deserves a place on the bookshelf of every American history buff.”

—   Jeswald W. Salacuse, Distinguished Professor and former Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment

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Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment  by Tom Shachtman C-Span’s taping of lecture about this book at the New York Public Library

The book is a Featured Alternate for the History Book Club, Military Book Club, Scientific American Book Club, and Book-of-the-Month Club 2.

Adapted excerpt: George Washington, the First Vaxxer  at The Daily Beast

Praise for Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries

“A fascinating and unique look at the familiar history of the founding of the United States through the hyperfocused lens of scientific advancement.” – Library Journal

“An intriguing survey of science’s influence on the Founders.”   — Booklist

“Makes a strong case for the importance of science and technology in the creation of the United States …. A well-researched, lively entry into the current debate about the role of science in a democracy.” Kirkus Reviews

In this lively history … Shachtman makes an ingenious and convincing case that “science-based thoughts and actions were critical to the nation’s birth and early health—far more so than were religious doctrine or economic considerations.” — Publishers Weekly

“We might hear as children about Ben Franklin with his kite and key in the thunderstorm, but this lively and learned book gives us the grown-up view of the Founders and their fascination with things scientific. Employing a large cast of colonial characters–Franklin, Washington, Jefferson and other famous figures of the era, but also lesser-known thinkers and tinkerers–Tom Shachtman makes a compelling case that the American Revolution became a movement not only for political independence, but for scientific independence as well. Indeed, Shachtman shows us that the two can hardly be considered separable.” –Greg Nobles, Professor of History, Georgia Institute of Technology, and co-author of Whose American Revolution Was It?

“This splendid book tells the eye-opening story of America’s founding generation as first-class scientists. We know how they created the government of the United States. Here we learn much more – and what a story it is!” –Lee Dembart, former science editor and science book reviewer, Los Angeles Times

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