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452 of 486 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How We Won Our Freedom, May 24, 2005
This review is from: 1776 (Hardcover)
David McCullough is known as a sterling storyteller of American history with two Pulitizer Prizes for Biography ("John Adams" 2001 and "Truman" 1992) and a National Book Award ("Mornings on Horseback" 1981). What many readers may not realize is that he is a researcher par excellence as evidence by the ten years he spent reading original documents, interviewing and travelling to relevant sites for "Truman." Now he utilizes some of his previous background research for "John Adams" to tell the tale of the crucial year of the American Revolution. "1776."

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).
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2007 11:07:40 AM PST
Did you notice the complete absence of maps in "1776". Why would an experienced author of history books and an experienced publisher like Simon & Schuster do that, in a book that otherwise has high-end production values?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2008 7:54:49 AM PDT
J. FERRARA says:
Because he tells everything like a story. Maps would have confused the purpose.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 9:37:52 AM PDT
Andrew K says:
what do you need maps for?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2011 4:42:17 PM PST
Book buyer says:
That should be obvious to you.

Posted on Jul 4, 2011 4:29:32 AM PDT
Steve Savage says:
Thank you for your excellent review and your recommendation to read "Patriots" (1988) by A.J. Langguth.
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