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The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (Oxford History of the United States) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Middlekauff
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first book to appear in the illustrious Oxford History of the United States, this critically acclaimed volume--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--offers an unsurpassed history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the American republic.
Beginning with the French and Indian War and continuing to the election of George Washington as first president, Robert Middlekauff offers a panoramic history of the conflict between England and America, highlighting the drama and anguish of the colonial struggle for independence. Combining the political and the personal, he provides a compelling account of the key events that precipitated the war, from the Stamp Act to the Tea Act, tracing the gradual gathering of American resistance that culminated in the Boston Tea Party and "the shot heard 'round the world." The heart of the book features a vivid description of the eight-year-long war, with gripping accounts of battles and campaigns, ranging from Bunker Hill and Washington's crossing of the Delaware to the brilliant victory at Hannah's Cowpens and the final triumph at Yorktown, paying particular attention to what made men fight in these bloody encounters. The book concludes with an insightful look at the making of the Constitution in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 and the struggle over ratification. Through it all, Middlekauff gives the reader a vivid sense of how the colonists saw these events and the importance they gave to them. Common soldiers and great generals, Sons of Liberty and African slaves, town committee-men and representatives in congress--all receive their due. And there are particularly insightful portraits of such figures as Sam and John Adams, James Otis, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and many others.
This new edition has been revised and expanded, with fresh coverage of topics such as mob reactions to British measures before the War, military medicine, women's role in the Revolution, American Indians, the different kinds of war fought by the Americans and the British, and the ratification of the Constitution. The book also has a new epilogue and an updated bibliography.
The cause for which the colonists fought, liberty and independence, was glorious indeed. Here is an equally glorious narrative of an event that changed the world, capturing the profound and passionate struggle to found a free nation.
The Oxford History of the United States
The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. The Atlantic Monthly has praised it as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book." Conceived under the general editorship of C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter, and now under the editorship of David M. Kennedy, this renowned series blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative.

Editorial Reviews


"This is narrative history at its best, written in a conversational and engaging style.... A major revision and expansion of a popular history of the American Revolutionary period."--Library Journal

"A tour de force. Middlekauff has the admirable ability to capture historical truths in vivid images and memorable phrases.... Middlekauff's empathy enhances this massive book's cumulative power. The cause was glorious; the book is too."--Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post Book World

"The reader in search of a wide-ranging overview of the Revolution would be better off turning to any number of earlier books (from Trevelyan's classic 'American Revolution' to more recent works like 'The Glorious Cause' by Robert Middlekauff)."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times, in a review of 1776

Acclaim for the First Edition:
"One of the best one-volume accounts of the Revolutionary war."--The New York Times

"A striking success. Middlekauff is both elegant and eloquent. Whether he is describing the making of British policy, or sketching the character of Washington or Pitt, or explaining why Daniel Morgan positioned the American troops at Hannah's Cowpens so retreat would be impossible, he does in a few paragraphs or pages what others might struggle through a chapter to get right."--The New Republic

"A first-class narrative history. There is probably no history of the Revolution that better combines a full account of the military course of the war with consideration of all the other forces shaping the era." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Middlekauff's energy and clarity often make us read as eagerly as if we did not know how this struggle will come out."--The New Yorker

"Writing with a grace and clarity that recall Samuel Eliot Morison, Middlekauff gives us classic entry into the critical period of American history." --The Los Angeles Times

"His narrative account goes along at a fast pace. He moves with agility from profound political and philosophical disputes of the period to the scenes of battle and the problems of military strategy. A welcome addition to the history of the Revolution." --The Washington Post Book World

"First-rate narrative history--one can hardly imagine a better one-volume introduction to the period. Graced with plentiful illustrations, gracefully written and long enough (at nearly 700 pages) to afford ample attention to detail, this book is highly recommended to the general reader." --Newsday

About the Author

Robert Middlekauff is Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. The winner of a Bancroft Prize for The Mathers, he was Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University and also served as Director of the Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3980 KB
  • Print Length: 745 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 019531588X
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Rev Exp edition (January 5, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEI8FC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,981 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but could have been better March 26, 2007
After hearing the Schoolhouse Rock favorite, "The Shot Heard Round the World" about 500 times on a trip recently (I have young kids), I just had to get a good book on the American Revolution. I chose this book, the first in the Oxford History of America Series, "The Glorious Cause" by Robert Middlekauff from several at my local bookstore (don't worry Amazon, I buy a lot of books from you, too). I chose it in large part because the publisher was Oxford, who generally puts out great books and series. Overall, the book did not disappoint, but it was not quite as good as the dust jacket led me to believe.

First, the good: the language and flow is excellent. In the sense of just sitting back and reading - it's a good one. The vocabulary level is pretty high, but you won't need to reach for the dictionary often. The book seems incredibly-well researched. It was clear that Middlekauff is VERY well read on this subject and period, and the footnoting is well-done. I really like being able to follow up on the sources he used and he is generous and thorough in sharing them. Also, he spends a lot of time on the events leading up to the war. Although one reviewer feels that four chapters on the Stamp Act is too much, it actually almost wasn't enough for me! I say that because if you believe what Middlekauf first states (and seems to be true from other readings), that the American people had NO desire to secede from Britain early on, then you must wonder how they got so quickly (relatively speaking) to a course of action as radical as a fight for independence! So I believe the time spent on that period is critical and interesting. The details of the battles are excellent, and generally, any material he provides is thoughtful and interesting.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do not mistake for an introductory text. July 10, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
To get a little background out of the way first, let me state that the highest credentials I possess in historical studies are a minor in History and a love of the genre. I read books very quickly and usually read three to five at a time. This book took me over three weeks and was the only one I could read during that time. It is an absolute slog. If you plan on reading this book, be sure to keep a notebook from the beginning so you can keep up with the various characters and locations, because keeping a thread going throughout the book is definitely not one of Middlekauff's strong suits.

Now for the actual review. Because the cover says "The American Revolution," I mistakenly geared myself up to read about that. This is not a shortcoming of the author, but a misstep on my part. Let me just tell you before you begin that the first shot is not fired until page 276. For a huge part of the first fourth of the book, Middlekauff describes local politics in the colonies. I do not wish to criticize the choice of subjects, because some of it is very interesting, but be prepared for pages and pages of description of two feuding families in Rhode Island's early political scene.

Finally, once battle begins, the book moves along fairly quickly. This (I think of it as the middle portion, but that is not based on physical distance in the book) was my personal favorite part. The only drawback is an odd disconnect as he repeatedly breaks from battle in America to go back and give half-hearted attempts to explain the politicking in England at the time.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and full overview of the Revolutionary War October 2, 2005
This is a very good book on the Revolution, or The Glorious Cause. Right from the beginning you get a sense of what Middlekauff is attempting to portray as he describes in detail the major factors that led to the Declaration: debt from the Seven Years War and the taxes that were meant to help recoup that debt. His recursive style - of starting a new chapter by backtracking in order to fill the gaps that are needed in order get back to the timeframe of the previous chapter - is an amazing way to write. I haven't seen much of this style of writing in nonfiction, only in fiction by authors such as Faulkner and Morrison, and it does well in furthering the story along. The additional chapters scattered throughout that explain some of the non war aspects are very helpful and interesting to read.

This is a long read, though, so prepare yourself. It doesn't help that the last 80 or so pages is about the debates at the Constitutional Convention, which is an extremely dry read that should not have been included in the first place. Additionally, there is a focus on the battles fought, so if you prefer not to read about battles than this book would not be for you. All in all, Middlekauff did exactly as he set out to do - even with the Constitutional Convention chapters, since this does fall into the premise of his book - and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the time period. For those who are also interested in the French and Indian War read Anderson's Crucible of War, which is a perfect lead in to the The Glorious Cause.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent insights to the revolution
True to form, a gem of a narrative. The digital version's audio companion was very engaging as well. Would commend to all students of history.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read Rise to Rebellion then this one. gives real understanding to the Revolutionary War. JEB
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by phyllis price
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, comprehensive account
I really, really liked this book. It is a definitive account of the happenings that led up to the American Revolution against the British. Very accessible.
Published 2 months ago by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Review of the Revolution
A wonderful, thorough account of the American Revolution with all the personalities and events that led up the great Rebellion.
Published 2 months ago by Fede
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Early American History
A fairly lengthy book but is the gold standard of the early days to establish this nation. Detailed enough to be a college text but the writing is deft and never boring. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard P. Deranian
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glorious Cause
History is very much of interest to me as try to become more acquainted with pieces of history that I am not familiar. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hazel
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic early American history, a primer.
Terrific review of early American history. Learning what makes America the wonderful experiment in human history that it is. Well written, interesting and informative.
Published 5 months ago by Unhappy Sally
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but long
I teach American history and love using these books for supplemental research. I have used this book multiple times in my presentation of information.
Published 6 months ago by aluma
3.0 out of 5 stars A long and well researched in-depth read
I was not prepared for well researched and how in depth the author went when writing this book. I expected a quick read solely on the war. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Banquero
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Was on Kindle; now it's not
There's a Kindle edition available now.
Jun 17, 2011 by Mike in Glen Head, NY |  See all 2 posts
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