General Miranda's Wars: Turmoil and Revolt in Spanish America, 1750-1816 by Denis Smith

General Miranda's Wars: Turmoil and Revolt in Spanish America, 1750-1816

byDenis Smith

Kobo ebook | July 9, 2013

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Napoleon called him “a Quixote who was not mad... a man who has a sacred fire in his soul.” President John Adams said his plan to liberate Spanish America was “as visionary as an excursion to the moon in a cart drawn by geese.” For 30 years the Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda plotted to free Spain’s colonies in the New World. Miranda lived a fabled life as an adventurer and mercenary soldier, supported by powerful patrons in England, France, the United States, and Russia. He was paid and protected by William Pitt of Britain and Catherine the Great of Russia, fought for France as a revolutionary general, was tried for treason in France, attempted to invade New Spain in 1806 with two hundred raw recruits, and for a few months in 1812 was the first dictator of an independent Venezuela. Betrayed by his deputy Simón Bolívar, Miranda was taken prisoner and died in a Spanish dungeon as Bolívar renewed his war for independence. In this work of creative nonfiction, award-winning Canadian author Denis Smith tells a compelling story of intrigue and misadventure, posing questions about empire, diplomacy and the quest for freedom which continue to resonate today. "I enjoyed General Miranda's Wars immensely. The perfect book for me at this moment. Of course I knew the British characters and their dilemma over Spain's colonies, particularly after 1808 when Spain became its major ally against Napoleon, but I had no idea of the extent of Miranda's attempted influence and manipulation over such a long time and all his other European adventures. He certainly was one of the great adventurers in an age of them and you tell the story very well. The light fictional device is brilliant in holding together the great number of documents from many sources and the inevitable gaps in them. Being so tied to the evidence, the device would never have occurred to me. I can't imagine that there could be a better evocation of Miranda." --Dr. Neville Thompson, Author of "Canada and the End of the Imperial Dream" Oxford University Press
Title:General Miranda's Wars: Turmoil and Revolt in Spanish America, 1750-1816Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 9, 2013Publisher:Bev EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1927789125

ISBN - 13:9781927789124

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sure Fire Five-Star Read This is a sure-fire five-star read for anyone even mildly interested in Europe and the Americas during the revolutionary era. As one reads it, one sees parallels with the current, post-colonial struggle in the Middle East -- the overthrow of tyrants and the search for justice and proper, representative government. The chief actor, Francisco de Miranda, was a dreamer, a schemer, and a revolutionary leader who met and dealt with all the major political figures of his time -- in Europe and America. A man of great charm and a notable fore-runner of Simon Bolivar. The structure is particularly good: the amusing encounters and at times tense actions are told, in large part, through passages deftly drawn from contemporary documents. This gives this tale an extraordinary sense of immediacy and reality. This is a poignant history that reads like fiction.
Date published: 2013-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An enthralling book This is a compelling account of one of the great adventurers in the age of the American and French revolutions and Napoleon. Francisco de Miranda is overshadowed by his younger fellow Venezualan, Simon Bolivar who succeeded where he failed in liberating that and other South American colonies from Spain. But Miranda's extraordinary life is fascinating in its own right. In his quest for military support for a revolt, he met and tried to influence the major figures of the newly independent United States, Catherine the Great of Russia, the French revolutionaries (in whose army he fought and narrowly escaped execution) and above all the political leaders of Britain, who were sympathetic until 1808 when Spain became a principal ally and base for attacking Napoleon's empire. Throughout these decades Miranda had to live by his wits and cajole a livelihood from governments and others. Denis Smith tells the enthralling story of Miranda and the vast diversity of characters with whom he was involved with a light touch, almost as fiction by recounting it through the eyes of a minor character. It is nevertheless firmly based on deep archival research in a variety of countries presented by a sure guide through the events of a tumultuous half century. It is a book of great pleasure as well as instruction.
Date published: 2013-07-31