The untold story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England.
...[a] remarkable history ... Brothers at Arms is one of the most important books on the American Revolution published in this decade. Ferreiro will have you thinking about aspects of the Revolution that you may never have considered before.
[Ferreiro] draws attention to people and events that George Washington and the other eminent founders routinely overshadow. The result is a familiar story told from a new vantage point. Revisionist in the best sense, Mr. Ferreiro’s book deftly locates the war within the rivalrous 18th-century Atlantic world ... Throughout Brothers at Arms, Mr. Ferreiro traces these interventions through the eyes of the foreigners who made American independence a reality, and he tracks the legacy of their actions ... Looking back from the 1820s, where Mr. Ferreiro ends his impressive chronicle—with Lafayette’s valedictory tour in America—it would appear indeed that revenge was a costly indulgence for the monarchies of France and Spain. Britain gained more from losing its American colonies than its imperial rivals did from helping them win independence.
Ferreiro’s narrative is certainly well researched, and well detailed to a fault. He is wont to ramble on throughout: for example, a lengthy section on the planned invasion of Britain by combined French and Spanish forces that never got off the ground. The narrative flow too often is disrupted by exhaustive excursions into backwater battles, to show how distracted Britain was by fighting a multi-front war. On the other hand, such side jaunts probably won’t bother serious history buffs in the least.