“One of the best books of 2009”
—The Washington Post
“Like it or not, the American Revolution is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when you thought no author could possibly say more on the subject, along comes a book that proves you wrong.
Oftener than not, these books repackage the lives of founding fathers or present the dramatic wartime career of some forgotten white chap relegated to the sidelines by Adams, Jefferson, and Washington. Joel Richard Paul, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, aims higher and achieves something new in Unlikely Allies. …
… Unlikely Allies possesses the menacing atmospherics of an Allen Furst novel, and the intellectual verve for which Furst’s spy thrillers are justly admired. And Paul’s blessedly short chapters and razor-sharp prose make the book an ideal read for a distracted century. That is no small achievement, especially for an author who must balance, as Paul does so brilliantly, character development and historical analysis.
…Paul’s three intertwined lives tell us much about the power of personality, the complexity of human emotions, and as he put it best, “the accidental path of history.”
“…wildly entertaining history … “Unlikely Allies” is a nonfiction account, but it reads like a Monty Python movie… The wonder is, our great country came out of such undignified scheming.”
“The American Revolution was more than Minutemen and declarations. “Unlikely Allies” tells the jaw-dropping story of three remarkable but flawed players in our nation’s founding.
… this is solid, groundbreaking history, well researched and with a narrative arc that guides you through the labyrinths of Louis XV’s court, colonial insurrections and British intransigence.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Paul’s fast-paced, engaging narrative fills a gap in the historiography of the American Revolution and is essential reading for students of revolutionary diplomacy as well as general devotees of the age.”
“A rip-roaring account of the American Revolution, told from a fresh, and undeniably offbeat, perspective.”
“A tantalizing review of early American foreign policy.”
“Here comes rebel Joel Richard Paul, a professor of international and constitutional law, wieldingUnlikely Allies, a shadier version of the forging of the French-American alliance without which the United States might not exist.”
“Paul gleefully unfurl his story like a suspense thriller, dropping hints, angling cliffhangers,…Unlikely Allies is quick and fun, offering up a fresh take on a period which needs a little shaking up.”
—Sacramento Book Review, Mar 10, 2010
“Unlikely Allies is an astonishing look at the sometimes seedy side of our country’s founding-a side in which a good man doing an impossible job would be painted with the brush of “traitor,” losing his fortune, his family, his sacred honor and at last his life in service to the land he loved. Paul tells the story with the skill of a novelist, crafting a compelling tale with engaging characters, intriguing twists and a surprise ending, without having to make anything up. Now that is history!”
“An engaging and entertaining account of three of the most colorful characters involved in the American Revolution. It is hard to believe that their story is true, but it is.”
—Gordon Wood, Pulitzer Prize winner, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, and Professor Emeritus, Brown University.
“Ever tire of worshipful accounts of the Founding Fathers’ wisdom and fortitude? Then try this wonderful book about how an American businessman and two Frenchmen, a dramatist and a cross-dressing spy, came to their aid. A rollicking romp as well as a serious history, it reminds us of the role of duplicity, hypocrisy and corruption, and of human frailty and chance, in safeguarding the American Revolution.”
—William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize winner, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, and Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Amherst College
“Unlikely Allies is an amazing story compellingly told. I kept turning the pages in eagerness to find out what would happen next. Conspiracies abounded, and hardly anyone was what he or she seemed. If the eighteenth century in Europe was an era of Enlightenment, it was also an Age of Deception. Yet, thanks to Joel Paul’s sympathetic portrayal, Silas Deane emerges as an unsung hero of the American Revolution.”
—Robert Gross, Bancroft Prize winner, The Minutemen and their World and James L. and Shirley A. Draper Professor of Early American History, University of Connecticut
“Rollicking and surprising, this is history as it really happened—as it was made by all-too-human actors. Unlikely Allies is a lively read and an important counterpoint to Founder hagiography.”
—Evan Thomas, bestselling author, Sea of Thunder: Four Naval Commanders and the Last Sea War, and Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek.