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Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war. The redcoat retreat from Boston, for example, was particularly humiliating for the British, while the minor American victory at Trenton was magnified despite its limited strategic importance.
Some of the strongest passages in 1776 are the revealing and well-rounded portraits of the Georges on both sides of the Atlantic. King George III, so often portrayed as a bumbling, arrogant fool, is given a more thoughtful treatment by McCullough, who shows that the king considered the colonists to be petulant subjects without legitimate grievances--an attitude that led him to underestimate the will and capabilities of the Americans. At times he seems shocked that war was even necessary. The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. Perhaps more than any other man, he realized how fortunate they were to merely survive the year, and he willingly lays the responsibility for their good fortune in the hands of God rather than his own. Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian. --Shawn Carkonen
The Other 1776
With his riveting, enlightening accounts of subjects from Johnstown Flood to John Adams, David McCullough has become the historian that Americans look to most to tell us our own story. In his Amazon.com interview, McCullough explains why he turned in his new book from the political battles of the Revolution to the battles on the ground, and he marvels at some of his favorite young citizen soldiers who fought alongside the remarkable General Washington.
The Essential David McCullough
Mornings on Horseback
The Path Between the Seas
The Great Bridge
The Johnstown Flood
More Reading on the Revolution
The Great Improvisation by Stacy Schiff
Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer
His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
Washington's General by Terry Golway
Iron Tears by Stanley Weintraub
Victory at Yorktown by Richard M. Ketchum
| AUTHOR: || David McCullough |
| CATEGORY: || Book |
| MANUFACTURER: || Simon & Schuster |
| ISBN: || 0743226712 |
| TYPE: || 1775-1783, Revolution, History, History - General History, History - U.S., History: American, History: World, Revolution, 1775-1783, United States, United States - Revolutionary War, History / General |
| MEDIA: || Hardcover |
| # OF MEDIA: || 1 |
Customer Review of 1776
Character and Values Count
David McCullough is a historian, a writer, and an American patriot. In the aftermath of the Islamic terrorists attack against the United States on September 11, 2001, experts from all walks of life pondered the attack and how best to defend the nation. Some others bashed America and the liberty it stands for. McCullough indicated "we can't function in a society if we don't know who we are and where we come from".
>This book fills one of the gaps in historical knowledge about the rift between the American colonies and Britain, the genesis of the United States as a nation, and the events that transpired during a very critical time from late 1775 through early 1777. To a great extent the book narrates the story of George Washington throughout 1776 after he accepted the commission to lead the Continental army from Congress on June 16, 1776.
>Independence was not a forgone conclusion; in fact the hostilities around Boston were underway prior to the declaration of independence in July 1776. The independence of the United States could have been aborted or at least seriously delayed. The independence movement met with some initial success as the Continental Army led by George Washington managed to have the British troops and loyalists abandon Boston. However, the peril to independence was real as the Continental Army suffered several defeats in and around New York City area in 1776. From the last week of August to the last week of December, the year 1776 had been as dark a time as those devoted to the American cause had ever known-indeed, as dark a time as any in the history of the country. Perhaps the zeitgeist was captured best by Thomas Paine pamphlet, The American Crisis, published December 23, 1776 stating that "These are the times that try men's souls", however he also declared that "By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue".
>Washington was not a brilliant strategist or tactician, not a gifted orator, not an intellectual. At several crucial moments he had shown indecisiveness. He had made serious mistakes in judgment. But experience had been his teacher from boyhood, and in this his greatest test, he learned from experience. Above all, Washington never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up. Washington's words that "perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages" still ring true in our day and age as they did in 1776.
>This book provides a valuable lesson for our times on the importance of character, steadfastness and persistence in the facing adversaries, setbacks, misfortunes of war, hard times, and even doubts by close friends. I highly recommend it to both parents and teachers to help the younger generation have a better appreciation of who we are and where we came from.
For all Audiences
I have never considered myself a fan of historical works but this book suprised me by how interesting and edifying it was. A good selection for anyone.
I Felt I was There
WOW. Mr. Mc Cullough put me right there in place and time. Even though I am a history buff, he provided many new insights into what really happened that fateful year of 1776. I wish that history were taught using such books as 1776 as mandatory reading because it would make history seem alive for the student and not just some exercise in memorizing dates and names for a final exam.
>Again, my hat is off to Mr. McCullough for providing such extraordinary insight into the early years of America.
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