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In Revolutionary Summer, the eminent historian Joseph Ellis describes the events surrounding the birth of America during the summer of 1776 (loosely defined as May through October of that year). Ellis's stated aim is to treat the military and political events of the period in tandem, and he skillfully establishes that there were two different sets of goals at stake: George Washington’s Continental Army considered independence an inevitability, while the Continental Congress considered it a last resort. A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winner, Ellis recently retired as the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. Reading Revolutionary Summer is like receiving a distinguished lecture from a man who has dedicated many fruitful decades to breathing life into our understanding of history—he makes Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and others of the era come alive for the reader. —Chris Schluep
A specious coherence marks narratives of 1776 in which the Declaration of Independence inevitably occurs while the Continental army’s doughty defense of New York ensures that independence would become fact. Events are not, however, so tidily told, avers historian Ellis, who restores contingency to his account of the storied summer and fall of 1776. Identifying a central problem of the historical situation—“Was there any realistic chance for the British to win?”—Ellis recounts efforts of moderates within each warring party. On the American side was the rout of anti-independence John Dickinson by the radical John Adams, while Ellis portrays the British side as misunderstanding the colonial rebellion. The commanders George III sent believed in reconciliation with the Americans, and so William Howe conducted the battles of New York cautiously, negotiated futilely with a Ben Franklin serenely sure of American success, and never delivered the decisive blow against George Washington’s army. Even had Howe destroyed the Continental army, Ellis suggests that the British still would have confronted strategic failure against an enemy determined to continue the war. With cogent argument and compact prose, Ellis augurs to attract the history audience. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ellis commands a 100,000-plus print run for his latest installment on the American Revolution, tapping his popularity built on such standards as American Sphinx (1997), Founding Brothers (2000), and First Family (2010). --Gilbert TaylorSee all Editorial Reviews
I have found that Ellis writes about familiar subject matter from a different perspective than have other authors.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
If you are a student of American History, there is lots of information in this book you will not get in the average history book. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Virginia Sexton
An excellent summary of the traumas the founding fathers faced in the first year of the revolution. One gets an accelerant idea of how difficult the task of breaking ties with... Read morePublished 2 months ago by JULIAN D. PRINCE
Ellis writes fluidly and with insight. Interesting obseravtions on the Declaration(no one thought the first paragrphs were importnt, including Jefferson); Wahsington's struggle to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael P. Maslanka
Joseph J. Ellis is one of the better historical authors for the American Revolutionary time period. He has written books on individuals (Washington, Adams, Jefferson) and on other... Read morePublished 2 months ago by CJG
Joseph Ellis tells the familiar story of the early days of the Revolutionary War, but in a manner that explains how we didn't lose the war. Read morePublished 2 months ago by REX M SANDERS
Joseph Ellis is my favorite historical author. His sentences are a joy to read and the book flows like a novel. I would give everyone of his books five stars. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert E. Smith