- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (March 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195382927
- ISBN-13: 978-0195382921
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.6 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 304 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence Reprint Edition
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Starred Review. Ferling, professor emeritus at the University of West Georgia, caps his distinguished career as a scholar and popular writer on the colonial/revolutionary period with arguably the best, and certainly one of the most stimulating, single-volume histories of the American Revolution. Exhaustively researched and clearly written, it stresses the contingent aspects of a war where victory depended on making the fewest mistakes. Despite chances to end the war in battle, by negotiation or by international conference, Britain failed for lack of manpower, the decision to wage limited war and an ineffective central government—and above all, comprehensive underestimation of American military effectiveness and political resolve. America's cause, ironically, nearly foundered on reluctance to support a standing army, and a government that wasn't strong enough to plan and execute a concerted war effort. That popular enthusiasm never broke owed much to a stable French alliance and to George Washington, who was a good diplomat, a better politician and an excellent judge of character. Steadily growing into the responsibilities of commander in chief, he achieved legitimate iconic status by the war's end. Ultimately, Ferling demonstrates that independence was won through the endurance of the American people and their soldiers, who held on for that last vital quarter of an hour. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ferling, a history professor, is the author of nine books on the American Revolution and early American wars. In his new book, he posits that the War of Independence was so vast that hardly anyone living east of the Appalachian Mountains was untouched. Many civilians were killed, including Indians and the residents of some coastal towns, both of whom were deliberately targeted, and countless others fell victim to diseases that soldiers on both sides spread unwittingly. He points out that his book seeks to explain why America won the war and why the British, despite their many advantages, lost it. One of the book's many well-developed themes is that the war came much closer to ending short of a great American victory than many now realize. It also looks at how wars were waged in the eighteenth century and explores how soldiers and civilians experienced the war. Ferling admits that he came to see both more flaws and greater virtues in Washington's leadership, that he gained a deeper appreciation of General Nathanael Greene, and that he saw General Charles Lee as a tragic figure. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I'm a military buff, though, so I enjoyed reading it for the descriptions of the battles and the personalities of the various military personnel. "Almost a Miracle" is in the same vein but covers not the Civil War but the American Revolution and focuses mostly - but not entirely - on the military aspects of the war. Unlike Foote's effort, "Almost a Miracle" is never dull and it really helps you understand the various battles and the armies that fought them.
I was born and raised in this country, but "Almost a Miracle" taught me a lot that I didn't know about the American Revolution. I learned a lot about Washington, Gates, Lee, and Cornwallis - among many others - that I didn't previously know. Thanks to this book I have a far better appreciation of the war in the southern states, battles that have been virtually ignored in history classes that were too focused on Trenton and Yorktown. I had never heard of General Greene before I read this book and what a shame that was.
I agree that the author is far too kind to Gates, who really was not the general responsible for the victory at Saratoga. But I do appreciate that while he shows Washington's glaring errors in strategy and tactics he nevertheless concludes that Washington was indeed the right man at the right time.
Highly recommended. This should be mandatory reading in history classes!