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1776 by David McCullough

1776 (edition 2005)

by David McCullough

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Tremendous read! I think when we think about 1776, George Washington, and the Revolutionary War in general (when we think about it at all), we don't consider the hardships endured, the fact that most of the Continental Army was made up of farmers, shop keepers, and even young boys who knew nothing of soldiering. We also probably tend to forget the overwhelming odds against us. The British has the world's best military force. In "1776" David McCullough makes all the abundantly clear in this excellently written book.

The only reason I dinged the book 1/2 a point is because of geographical issues. I'm pretty bad at geography in general, but because so much happens in the Boston, and especially New York/New Jersey area, I found it difficult to space locations out in my head. There were maps of the New York and New Jersey areas, but they were from the era, which made it a bit difficult to follow. Also, what appears to be important locations seemed to be right in the crease of the book, making it near impossible to read. I wish it included more simple maps to provide those who don't know the New York area a better understanding of troop movements and locations. But this is a relatively minor problem. The text of the book is of course far more important and excellently written. ( )
  Jarratt | Feb 7, 2016 |
I'm surprised I haven't read anything by McCullough until now. 1776 was full of detailed stories about the figures involved in the Continental Army, and demonstrates the importance of all the little things you don't typically hear about in general stories of military conflict. I listened to this on audio, and it was great to hear this read by the author himself. It was like carrying around a Ken Burns documentary I could slip into any time I wanted. ( )
  EllsbethB | Jan 30, 2016 |
Each time I read a McCullough work I leave with a different impression of his writing; all his work is not equally impressive for me. 1776 is impressive, entertaining, informative and (for a historical work) very well referenced. The referencing alone takes several forms and makes up one-half the Kindle ebook. The writing is so good that I was actually surprised when the narrative stopped and the referencing began. This was despite the fact that the presentation was chronological (1776, OK?) so as the story continued in a day by day manner and I had already reached Christmas day, 1776; I should have anticipated a conclusion.

This is not a period of time I focus on, so there was a lot of new information for me. The early and long standing indecisiveness of Washington was new; the idea that he had huge self-doubts as to his own inability to manage such an undisciplined and poorly resourced military force was not surprising. It was logical. It was not clear to me that participants on both sides of the conflict considered many of his decisions to be ill advised to the degree that McCullough claims at several points. Those claims and my doubts make the references valuable.

The character sketches provide the entertainment in the midst of serious historical stuff. Primary Washington rival General Lee seems to have changed sides a few times, British to American to British after final British capture. For a British supremely egocentric official to have risen so high in the American command structure surprised me. Descriptions of the officers and men of the Hessian mercenaries were complete (and new) for me.

This is not a book about George Washington, but of necessity h is a central character. As this well written and balanced book relates the loyalty and doubts of his closest advisors, such as General Greene, it lives up to the very appropriate title.
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1 vote ajarn7086 | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book discusses the hardship of the troops during the american revolution. The troops would have been down and defeated after being out manned and out maneuvered by the British a few times. But a great Christmas attack really changed the war and thus our country. ( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
This book discusses the hardship of the troops during the american revolution. The troops would have been down and defeated after being out manned and out maneuvered by the British a few times. But a great Christmas attack really changed the war and thus our country. ( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 189 (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.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David McCulloughprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Da Silva, HowardActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniels, WilliamActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howard, KenActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Madden, DonaldActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. -General George Washington
For Rosalee Barnes McCullough
First words
"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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:36 -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 8 descriptions

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