Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2005
From the publisher:
America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.
In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It 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 King’s men, 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.
I have read two other books by David McCullough and enjoyed them both. John Adams and The Great Bridge (about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge) were both chunksters full of detail and description yet extremely readable. That’s why when this book was released I bought a copy right away. Then it sat on my shelf until now. It’s not nearly as big as those other two books but for some reason I kept putting off reading it.
I’m so glad I finally read it. Ever since Hamilton took over pop culture and after listening to Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States it was a good time to continue my reading about the American Revolution. I learned a lot while reading this. While George Washington is a major figure in the book, it’s not about him. McCullough also includes the British and soldiers from all classes.
The focus is on three major battles (the siege of Boston, New York, and Trenton. There were both victories and losses for both sides during this year. Mistakes were made and luck seemed to randomly favor each side at different times. Unfortunately for Washington the losses seemed to coincide with the end of his army’s enlistments so not only did he have to take on the British he had to do everything he could to even keep his army from going home.
McCullough includes stories of the well-known people but he also has stories and letters from some of the common soldiers.
I enjoyed this one and have put my copy on The Hubster’s reading stack.