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
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Reading Eagle, READING, PA., MONDAY AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 15, 1873, Interview with George Phillippi, INTERESTING FACTS AND INCIDENTS CONNECTED WITH THE EARLY HISTORY OF READING---FORMER APPEARANCE OF THE TOWN—THE TAVERNS OF YE OLDEN TIME—JAIL AND TAVERN COMBINED—HANGING OF SUSANNA COXE, ETC.
George Phillippi, a blind, aged and respected citizen, resides on Franklin street above Ninth. He is a man of sound mind and excellent memory…The reporter found Mr. Phillippi in the parlor occupying an arm chair of solid mahogany. Upon inquiry we learned that it was “one of a half a dozen chairs bought in Philadelphia in 1750, when grandfather Kraemer was married, and when the King of England owned what are now the United States….
Q.—Mr. Phillippi, are you a native of Reading?
A.--- Yes, sir; I was born in Reading on the 2nd of October, 1796, in a one-story house, at the southeast corner of Duke (Seventh) street and Billiard (Cherry) alley. The house is still standing. It is a frame building filled in or walled up with bricks. My father’s name was Abraham, and he had a wool hat factory in that building…
Q.—I heard your father was in the Revolutionary Army.
A.--- My father was a fifer, and used to play when the soldiers turned out at battalions and training days…When the revolutionary war broke out my father entered the army as a fifer and became very well acquainted with Gen. Washington, who took a liking to him….Money had been borrowed to carry on the war, which had to be paid back, and money was also required to meet the expenses of the new government, and the taxes began to be felt. In 1799, during the Adams administration, the officers employed in taking the valuation for the land tax were resisted in Pennsylvania. George Washington then travelled through the State all the way from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, explained the object of the tax, and counselled the people to submit and pay the taxes. They listened to him as if the Almighty had spoken to them, laid down their arms, and the difficulty was settled at once.
Q.—Did you ever see Gen. Washington?
A.---Yes, sir. I said that Gen. Washington had taken a fancy to my father. When he came to Reading, in passing through the State, he stopped at the hotel which was the corner now occupied by the Farmers National Bank. That was in March 1799. He rode in a two-horse carriage and had a black fellow with him. Col. Lutz and Gen Bower, citizens of Reading, who had served in the war were at the hotel when General Washington came there, and he asked them if Abraham Phillippi (my father) was living yet, and they replied “Yes;” when he said that he would like to see him. They then conducted him to my father’s house on Duke street, the three walking up Penn street hook-in-arms. My father saw them coming and met them on the pavement. My mother, while standing on the porch, took me in her arms and said to George Washington, “Here is a name-sake of yours,” when he took hold of my hands, squeezed them and said, “George, be a good boy and obey your parents.” The next morning General Washington left Reading…
In the last year, besides 1776, I've bought audiobooks, 'The Light We Cannot See (Novel)' by Anthony Doerr, 'The Witches: Salem (1692)' by Stacy Shciff, 'The Guns Of August', 'Waterloo: The History Of Four Days And Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell, 'Washington's Spies' by Alexander Rose and found the third party professional readers to typically have velvety voices and capable of performing splendid pronunciations. These types of great readers are out there; yet, David McCullough either cheaped out or refuses to embrace the reality of the craftsmanship that professional readers bring to a manuscript. In any event, it makes me weary of buying other audiobooks by him for which he inexplicably is the reader as well.
Now, despite my harsh criticism, I will say that anybody who buys this book will be satisfied. As you get lost in the period, you will not fixate on the dryness of the David's old grandpa voice. The work as a whole is ultimately worthy of your patronage. I am simply making a statement that the author, a best selling author at that, ought to have added a voice equal to the majesty of his work. I knew this in advance and loved the book enough to ignore it and am still reasonably satisfied. But satisfactory is but a C one must remember. And this book in this format is a C+ or B-. I rounded down to sharpen my point.
from readers. Some positive some not. After reading I must admit that I was suprised at the sudden ending. Washington had just been successful at Princeton and the war was turning in favor of the Americans . Previously MvCullough described in detail all of the battles won and lost then he devotes one sentence to the surrender at Yorktown. That's it. He previously devoted 12 lines of type describing the goods left behind by the rector of King's Chapel when the British retreated from Boston, but only one for the ending of the war. The negative reviewers were correct. This book is a bummer.