Larrie Ferreiro, "Brothers at Arms: Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It" (Knopf, 2016)


Was the War for American Independence really about American independence? It depends on who you ask. In his new book, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (Knopf, 2016), Larrie Ferreiro draws on decades of new research in archives and on battlefields across the US and Europe to detail the smuggling, espionage, gun running, and politicking that wrested the United States from British control. A revision of the national myth that the American colonies rose up and threw off imperial oversight solely by the unity found in the strength of their convictions, this globalist return to the 1760s and 70s weaves together military, economic, diplomatic, and social history with fascinating stories of the European soldiers, sailors, merchants, and ministers who conspired and collaborated to give the north American colonies a fighting chance. In Brothers at Arms, and in this interview, Dr. Ferreiro advances the argument that for the governments of France and Spain, defeating the British in the American colonies was as much about achieving their own interests in the sphere of European power as it was about heeding the call to advance the ideals of liberty and justice across the Atlantic, and that the relationships that developed between France, Spain, and the new United States did more to shape American institutions and ways of life that we often acknowledge.
Carl Nellis is an academic editor and writing instructor working north of Boston, where he researches contemporary American community formation around appropriations of medieval European culture. You can learn more about Carls work at

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