[This review originally appeared on www.goodreads.com]
1776 by David McCullough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The title is a bit of a misnomer since it starts in late 1775 and ends in 1777. This can be forgiven, however, since the events of 1776 don't make much sense unless you know the American situation at the end of the previous year, and since the events at the end of 1776 carry over into the subsequent year.
David McCullough focuses primarily on the military aspects of the first full year of the American Revolution in this excellent book. The actual signing of the Declaration of Independence is presented as an aside compared to detailed studies of George Washington, King George III, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and General Howe. Most of the narrative consists of the battles of Dorchester Heights, Long Island, and Trenton, where the young nation of the United States of America met with a mix of minor victories and significant defeats.
McCullough synthesizes hundreds of documents into a brilliant story about one of the most vital years of the American Revolution. Most of the story shows that independence was far from certain in the earliest years of the American Revolution, with the Continental Army suffering from inexperience, treachery, disorganization, and inadequate supplies. At the same time, resourceful and diligent commanders like Washington, Greene, and Knox emerged as potential saviors of the foundering nation.
This book is as entertaining as it is informative. I look forward to reading some of McCullough's other books.
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