Vermont Press Releases

Phoenix Books presents ‘Unshackling America’ with author Willard Sterne Randall

News Release — Phoenix Books
Oct. 11, 2017

Kristen Eaton
Phoenix Books
802.872.7111 (p)
802.872.7112 (f)
[email protected]

Burlington, Vermont – October 11, 2017: On Thursday, November 2nd at 7pm, Phoenix Books Burlington will host Willard Sterne Randall for a fresh retelling of the Revolution that counteracts the American mythology of a swift, straightforward victory over England.

Unshackling America challenges the persistent fallacy that Americans fought two separate wars of independence. Willard Sterne Randall documents an unremitting fifty-year-long struggle for economic independence from Britain overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. Throughout this perilous period, the struggle was all about free trade.

Neither Jefferson nor any other Founding Father could divine that the Revolutionary Period of 1763 to 1783 had concluded only one part, the first phase of their ordeal. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War halted overt combat but had achieved only partial political autonomy from Britain. By not guaranteeing American economic independence and agency, Britain continued to deny American sovereignty.

Randall details the fifty years and persistent attempts by the British to control American trade waters, but he also shows how, despite the outrageous restrictions, the United States asserted the doctrine of neutral rights and developed the world’s second largest merchant fleet as it absorbed the French Caribbean trade. American ships carrying trade increased five-fold between 1790 and 1800, its tonnage nearly doubling again between 1800 and 1812, ultimately making the United States the world’s largest independent maritime power.

Willard Sterne Randall is a journalist and author of six biographies of Founding Fathers. He is a Distinguished Scholar in History and Professor Emeritus at Champlain College. He lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife, Nancy Nahra, with whom he has co-authored four volumes of history.

Ticket proceeds will be donated to Vermont Foodbank. Tickets are $3 per person, and include a coupon for $5 off the featured book. Coupons expire at closing the evening of the event. Seating is limited.

Phoenix Books Burlington is located at 191 Bank Street in Burlington, Vermont. Copies of Unshackling America will be available for attendees to purchase and have signed. For more information, please call 802-448-3350 or visit

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