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Judged as a stubborn reactionary, inefficient and maladroit in the administration of his high office, inflexible and vindictive of temper, Lord George Germain alienated generals and shouldered the blame for Britain's humiliation at Saratoga. Secretary of State for the American Department from 1775 to 1782, Germain was a dedicated foe of the American cause.

In this vigorous and sharply written book Gerald Saxon Brown presents the first detailed study of the political and military policies of Germain. Convicted of military disobedience in 1760, Germain regained political favor after the coronation of George III. From his seat in the House of Commons, he joined ranks with those who opposed the repeal of the Stamp Act and a liberal attitude toward the colonies.

Brown traces the background of these political affairs and then closely examines the sequence of events from the battles of Lexington and Concord to the meeting between Howe and the French fleet in 1778. He discusses the causes of Carleton's delay at Lake Champlain, the results of the delay, the plans for the campaign of 1777, Howe's move to Pennsylvania, and Burgoyne's move south toward Albany.

The research for The American Secretary is based on the largely unpublished Germain papers housed in the William L. Clements Library in Ann Arbor. This new material enriches our understanding of one of the least sympathetic yet most important figures in the drama of the American Revolution.