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1776 by David McCullough
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McCullough. Need I say more? ( )
  Scarchin | Feb 25, 2015 |
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 ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 22, 2015 |
In reading 1776, I as a reader felt as if I was witnessing events as they unfolded. McCullough displays an eye for detail as he writes as if a painter. Even though his work focuses only on a year of the American Revolution, it is a great work that displays the twists & turns of a revolution that no one knew for sure who would win out. The chaos of war is played out here & gives a reader a sense of unease even though we are looking back at this critical period of American history. McCullough continues to amaze & impress his readers with another fine work. ( )
  walterhistory | Feb 7, 2015 |
Reallyh well written; made history interesting. ( )
  cindyb29 | Jan 12, 2015 |
David McCullough is a great writer. He could make repairing a refrigerator sound like the most fascinating and most important event in American History. 1776 is no different. Here he is a storyteller. There is absolutely nothing new or revelatory in this book. Every event he recounts and every source he cites has been well known to historians for decades. His purpose here is not to break new interpretive ground, but to tell the story of the American Revolution during the year 1776 in the most compelling way possible. And as usual he succeeds. The book looks at events between George Washington’s assumption of command over the Continental Army in June 1775 outside of Boston, through to the Battle’s of Trenton and Princeton at the end of 1776. This was a crucial time for the American cause, “the winter of our discontent” as Thomas Paine dramatically termed it, when American hopes were at their bleakest, and McCullough is right on identifying it as such. I do have some issues with the book however.

McCullough is the master of artificially dramatizing certain events or situations, making them seem more important in relation to other events than they really are. This makes for compelling reading and can make subsequent events seem more important in reaction to the highlighted event. A lot of authors do this, and it is of course a staple of fiction writing. It does give a false impression of historical events however. In this case, McCullough takes every instance of doubt expressed by officers and men concerning the state of the Continental Army to give the impression it was on the point of dissolution from the Battle of Brooklyn forward. This serves to make the climactic event in the book, the Battle of Trenton, seem all that more improbable and dramatic. There is no doubt the army was in a desperate state, but had it been as destitute as the impression McCullough gives, they would have dissolved and the Battle of Trenton would not have occurred. It makes for great reading (or listening) however.

1776, like most of his books, are written from an American perspective. McCullough is not unfair in his portrayal of the British, Hessians or Loyalists, often praising them throughout. He also criticizes the George Washington, Nathaniel Greene and others for their numerous mistakes. However, the arc of the story, and the reason he highlights the successes and failures of those involved in the way he does, is purposely done to provide a dramatic and uplifting “American” story at the end. He could have written a book just about the New York campaign, which for the Americans was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end. Rather he chose the entire year so he could use the New York campaign as the setup for the glorious victories at Trenton and Princeton. There is nothing wrong with this; he is not trying to write an objective history of the war. He wanted to provide compelling reading, which he does. And this does serve a worthwhile purpose. If it gets those previously indifferent about history to take an interest in it, well then it did its job. It’s just something to be aware of as your are reading it.

If you are looking for a new or unusual interpretation of the American Revolution, or are looking for an aspect of the war you had not seen before, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a rip roaring yarn about the founding of our country, there is no one who can provide that better than David McCullough!

Note: I listed to the unabridged audio version of this book. Aside from the content a really good narrator is often essential to make these compelling. McCullough has one of the best voices for this ever, and he does narrate this story which really enhances its quality. ( )
  mybucketlistofbooks | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)

In his exhaustively researched and highly accessible new book, "1776," best-selling historian David McCullough (two-time Pulitzer winner for "John Adams" and "Truman") follows the Continental Army through a single, fateful year, one filled with surprise victories, stunning reversals, perilous midnight retreats and pure, grind-it-out perseverance. It's a story filled with drama, and McCullough shows himself once again to be among our nation's great storytellers.
In his new book, ''1776,'' David McCullough brings to bear on this momentous year the narrative gifts he's demonstrated in such absorbing histories as ''The Great Bridge'' and ''The Path Between the Seas.'' As a history of the American Revolution, it is an oddly truncated volume: pivotal developments leading to the revolution like the Stamp Act, which happen to fall outside the perimeters of Mr. McCullough's rigid time frame, are not examined, and subsequent installments of the war (which would continue on after the Trenton-Princeton campaign for another half-dozen harrowing years) are ignored as well.
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Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. -General George Washington
For Rosalee Barnes McCullough
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"On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26, 1775, His Royal Majesty George III, King of England, rode in royal splendor from St. James's Palace to the Palace of Westminster, there to address the opening of Parliament on the increasingly distressing issue of war in America."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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http://lccn.loc.gov/2005042505 . Please distinguish between this original David McCullough work, 1776, and the 2007 abridgment, 1776: The Illustrated Edition. Thank you.
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David MCullough brings this monumental period in American history to life - I can't put this book down! Having grown up in Boston and now living in New York, Mr. McCullough's use of quotes and writings brings me even closer to the places I've called home.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743226720, Paperback)

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
John Adams
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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost -- Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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