Thursday, February 24, 2011

Liberty's Exiles

What became of the Tories and Loyalists? A new book explores the question.
What became of the Americans who remained devoted to the crown—sometimes called Tories but more accurately described as loyalists—after the triumph of George Washington's Continental Army? It is a relatively neglected subject, now handsomely addressed by Maya Jasanoff in "Liberty's Exiles." Basing her work on far-flung archives, Ms. Jasanoff takes us on a global voyage from North America to Europe, Africa and even India—and back again—as her subjects cross and recross the Atlantic in search of an elusive utopia. The loyalists were a multifarious group, including Virginia grandees, New York tradesmen and former black slaves, many of whom had won their freedom through service in George III's forces. Ms. Jasanoff's ability to blend structural analysis with engrossing accounts of personal experience makes "Liberty's Exiles" a highly readable book as well as an informative one.

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