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
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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
More About the Author
Amazon Author Rankbeta(What's this?)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Let me begin by saying, quite simply, I enjoyed the book. This book serves as somewhat of an overview of what is perhaps the most critical year of the last millenium. Some may dissagree with that and may make legitimate cases for other years of historical significance, but that is for another discussion.
McCullough recounts the major events of the year and gives good narrative of each event. However, just as the Revolutionary War was somewhat slow to get starting, so too is this book. The accounts are all meticulously accurate in the historical sense and McCullough has certainly succeeded in amassing the information critical to a basic knowledge of what events transpired in bringing forth American independence.
The deeper the reader gets into the book, as with the war itself, the more complex it becomes and I found myself soon rivited to every detail and this one becomes, what many might refer to as a real "page turner". By the time the reader reaches the final pages, the year 1776 is drawing to a close, and sadly, so does the book. Perhaps in this way, McCullough has served to stimulate the interest of readers first learning of the events and will cause them to take their research of America's founding to the next level.
I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to say in reviewing a book, but this one has left me a bit perplexed.Read more ›
Most Americans are familiar with the Christmas Eve crossing of the Delaware River to win the Battle of Trenton and to close out 1776. Mr. McCullough describes the more unfamiliar stories of the American siege of Boston in driving out the British army and the British victory in driving the Revoluntionary army from New York City.
His real strength is as an editor, in choosing which historical stories to include and to exclude, for his 284 page narrative (with 100 additional pages of supporting documentation) could easily have been thrice its current length. In fact, David Hackett Fischer's "Washington Crossing" (2004) and William Dwyer's "The Day Is Ours" (1983) are both over 400+ pages in reciting only the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. The reader should be aware that "1776" is merely an introduction to that year, for the actions of the other Founding Fathers (and Mothers) are barely mentioned.
"1776" is fun to read as the 229th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches. Mr. McCullough makes clear how close the American Revolution came to failing that year. British overconfidence and Washington's determination (for his battlefield experince as a military commander was nil) were the difference. The reader is directed to "Patriots" (1988) by A.J. Langguth for the best overall view of the American Revolution (1761-1783).
David McCullough's 1776 is a terrific investigation into the beginning of the American Revolution. Is it perfect? NO. It does have some missing pieces. But these minor defects are just that...minor. If you look at the complete work, I think you'll find that what 1776 lacks is made up for by McCulloughs ability to deliver the main facts on time and in a way the reader can grasp.
As in John Adams, McCullough again finds the ability to make the main characters jump off the page. Washington, a figure that history has rightfully made larger than life is once again a human man, tortured with doubts and always mindful that disaster is just around the corner. I especially like the treatment that McCullough give King George III.
As a reader, I always like reading a book that moves along. McCullough's narrative does that quite well. In fact, some of the flaws that other reviewers have rightfully pointed out seem to spring from this style of writing.
Well researched and paced for the non-historian, 1776 is a winner. When all is said and done, you'll find that 1776 is worth the time you'll spend reading it.
David McCullogh's book, 1776 stirred my imagination about the tribulations of George Washington at the onset of the American Revolution that began in Boston, spread to New York City, and finally, Trenton. Beset by disloyalty, intrigues, and creating an army from scratch, the author makes you feel the weight of responsibility that was placed on Washington's shoulders. He was a man who had to assuage congress, keep his officers working together in spite of backstabbing, and fight the British.
McCullough provides trivial but interesting information that makes one whistle, "So that's how...." Murray Hill, a telephone exchange and landscape in Manhattan got its name from Mrs. Murray who served Washington and his officers tea as they were being kicked around Manhattan by the Brits. Washington was nearly shot from his horse near what is now 3rd Avenue and 34th Street. Although the bullets missed, today he would have most assuredly been run over by a number of vehicles that wouldn't have.
He describes how Providence saved Washington at Brooklyn Heights when a fog rolled over the East River as the Americans were fleeing to Manhattan.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am amazed we won the war after reading this book. Washington had a lot of patients and our forefathers were some tough SOB`s.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Like almost everything from McCullough it is wonderful. A must read.Published 6 days ago by Richard H. Place
Covered the one year of American history well, it seemed. Gave me a new appreciation for just how hard the times were and difficult the revolution was...no cake walk, for sure.Published 8 days ago by Mr. Mike
With a love for history, I couldn't help but smile and wonder of all the Great War battles I would read In this book. It delivers with stunning accounts from generals to privates. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Luis Ojeda