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1776 by David McCullough
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1776 (edition 2005)

by David McCullough

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The title is a little misleading; I had expected a comprehensive look at that pivotal year, including the political and social movements in America and Great Britain that led to the American Revolution. Rather, the book focuses on Washington's military campaign, also an important and intriguing topic. What strikes me is how, on paper, America should have been subdued quickly. England was better equipped, its military better trained (America didn't even have a navy or a standing army), its leaders generally better strategists, and America was certainly not unified in the desire for independence. George Washington himself warned Congress that he considered himself unequal to the task set before him. He lacked experience, was often indecisive at crucial moments, and was not a brilliant tactician. But he persevered stubbornly, never quitting when events would drive him to despair (which he concealed from his men). He learned from experience, and showed true courage in battle, inspiring his troops as perhaps none other could have. The year 1776 concluded with a string of American successes in battle, and although the war would rage for six and a half more years, marked the first time that the British ceded the Americans more respect than their previous estimate of them as a motley rabble. ( )
  burnit99 | Sep 18, 2014 |
I read this as part of my regular July reading - which is always about the Revolutionary War. Yes, it took me a while to finish. But that's because this is a dense book, packed with details. The research that went into this work is staggering. With all the minutia, it could have easily been a dull, dry book. But McCullough wove the details into a riveting narrative about the first year of the War of Independence. It was as if I was there with them, Washington and Knox and Howe and Greene and Cornwallis. McCullough tells the story of fierce, flawed, amazing men, doing incredible things. A well-written work, worthy of all its accolades. ( )
  empress8411 | Sep 7, 2014 |
McCullough's voice sounds thin and strained, like he has a sore throat or something.
  rakerman | Aug 12, 2014 |
This was my first experience with David McCullough. Being a history major, it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on one of his books, and I must say, I was not disappointed. McCullough tells the story of one of the most important and difficult years in the history of the world, frankly. How a rag-tag bunch of soldiers with little to no experience was able to hang in there with the world's greatest military at that time is nothing short of a miracle.

What makes this book effective is that it only focuses on one year of the American Revolution. Also, McCullough does a decent job of equally representing both the Americans and British. However, one reading this book should know that it mainly focuses on the military aspects of the year 1776. I was expecting a little more insight and information regarding the Continental Congress and the British Parliament, but it is clear that this is a book mainly concerned with the military aspects of the Americans and British. Once can actually make the argument that it can be read as another biography of George Washington, but this also makes sense given his massive role in the American Revolution.

McCullough painstakingly goes through every single major event that occurred in this tumultuous year with great detail. He does a good job of making it a story as opposed to a series of facts one would read in a textbook. I highly recommend this piece of work to any history buff or anyone who enjoys good writing. The conclusion I was able to reach is this: the existence of our country is a miracle given the troubles and turmoil that everyone faced in that important year of 1776. ( )
  rsplenda477 | Apr 22, 2014 |
A narrative of the American Revolution as told from Washington's viewpoint. McCullough points out that the British were not the fools they are commonly portrayed to be; indeed, they out-generaled Washington on Long Island. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (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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Epigraph
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. -General George Washington
Dedication
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
Truman
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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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