Friday, November 11, 2011

1776 By David McCullough


By David McCullough

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Product Description

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence -- when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King's men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.

At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books -- Nathanael Greene, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty-three, and Henry Knox, a twenty-five-year-old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter.

But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost -- Washington, who had never before led an army in battle. Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #5091 in Books
  • Published on: 2006-06-27
  • Released on: 2006-06-27
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 1.03" h x 6.10" w x 9.16" l, 1.27 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 400 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780743226721
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestselling historian and two-time Pulitzer winner McCullough follows up John Adams by staying with America's founding, focusing on a year rather than an individual: a momentous 12 months in the fight for independence. How did a group of ragtag farmers defeat the world's greatest empire? As McCullough vividly shows, they did it with a great deal of suffering, determination, ingenuity—and, the author notes, luck.Although brief by McCullough's standards, this is a narrative tour de force, exhibiting all the hallmarks the author is known for: fascinating subject matter, expert research and detailed, graceful prose. Throughout, McCullough deftly captures both sides of the conflict. The British commander, Lord General Howe, perhaps not fully accepting that the rebellion could succeed, underestimated the Americans' ingenuity. In turn, the outclassed Americans used the cover of night, surprise and an abiding hunger for victory to astonishing effect. Henry Knox, for example, trekked 300 miles each way over harsh winter terrain to bring 120,000 pounds of artillery from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, enabling the Americans, in a stealthy nighttime advance, to seize Dorchester Heights, thus winning the whole city.Luck, McCullough writes, also played into the American cause—a vicious winter storm, for example, stalled a British counterattack at Boston, and twice Washington staged improbable, daring escapes when the war could have been lost. Similarly, McCullough says, the cruel northeaster in which Washington's troops famously crossed the Delaware was both "a blessing and a curse." McCullough keenly renders the harshness of the elements, the rampant disease and the constant supply shortfalls, from gunpowder to food, that affected morale on both sides—and it certainly didn't help the British that it took six weeks to relay news to and from London. Simply put, this is history writing at its best from one of its top practitioners.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–McCullough concentrates on George Washington's role in the creation of the Continental Army, starting with his appointment in 1775 to lead the rather amorphous army of the united colonies and continuing through his successes with that army at Trenton and Princeton as 1776 turned into 1777. He introduces readers to the 1776 that Washington experienced: one of continual struggle both to create a working army and to defeat the British. The victories that he met outside Boston were soon followed by defeat and near ruin around New York and gave rise to the realization that 1776 might easily have become the worst year in the history of America. McCullough not only provides readers with some of his best work yet, but also presents an important look at one of the most crucial moments in the history of the United States. Black-and-white and color photos are included.–Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine
McCullough's reputation for telling a riveting story stands out in his latest work. The encounters that he examines and details he includes cut to the heart of what made 1776 a pivotal year in world history. His portrait of King George, although brief, goes beyond the superficial sketch of a clueless monarch that many historians usually offer. The author occasionally shows a frustrated and privately doubting Washington somewhat at odds with accepted mythology, but nonetheless burnishes the general's heroic stature. Using Washington to drive the narrative may give some readers an unrealistically narrow view of the Revolution, but critics agree: this is history at its best.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful.
5An improvement on an already good book.
By Monty Rainey
Originally published in 2005, 1776 by David McCullough was an enjoyable read. This new illustrated version is sure to add new life to an already successful book. Since there are two issues here, the original text and then the illustrated revision, I'm going to review the two issues separately.

Let me begin by saying, quite simply, I enjoyed the book. This book serves as somewhat of an overview of what is perhaps the most critical year of the last millenium. Some may dissagree with that and may make legitimate cases for other years of historical significance, but that is for another discussion.

McCullough recounts the major events of the year and gives good narrative of each event. However, just as the Revolutionary War was somewhat slow to get starting, so too is this book. The accounts are all meticulously accurate in the historical sense and McCullough has certainly succeeded in amassing the information critical to a basic knowledge of what events transpired in bringing forth American independence.

The deeper the reader gets into the book, as with the war itself, the more complex it becomes and I found myself soon rivited to every detail and this one becomes, what many might refer to as a real "page turner". By the time the reader reaches the final pages, the year 1776 is drawing to a close, and sadly, so does the book. Perhaps in this way, McCullough has served to stimulate the interest of readers first learning of the events and will cause them to take their research of America's founding to the next level.

I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to say in reviewing a book, but this one has left me a bit perplexed. It is a good book, which I did enjoy reading, but perhaps it is due to what I have read of McCullough's work before that left me somewhat dissappointed. I expected more from this book, but I suppose asking a two time Pulitzer winner to replicate prior efforts may be asking too much.

Now, for the illustrated portion of 1776. I first discovered this extraordinary new concept in a book I found for my grandkids called Piratology, where the book contained insert pages with folders which contained maps and other pirate related treasures. The book was a huge hit with the pirate infatuated boys. Here, the folders contain a variety of facsimiles such as documents, letters, maps, etc. This version also contains some beautiful photographs and is a gorgeous binding that looks extraordinary on the book shelf.

I only gave McCullough's original 1776 four stars, but this illustrated version is a definite upgrade and pushes this volume to top honors.

419 of 452 people found the following review helpful.
5How We Won Our Freedom
By C. Hutton
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).

251 of 274 people found the following review helpful.
5A timely and gripping narrative...
By Robert Busko
There are certain periods of history that never seem to become tired or dull regardless of how often they are written about. It seems that each new investigator finds some thing new to write about. The American Revolution is a case in point. A quick check of books in print will convince you.

David McCullough's 1776 is a terrific investigation into the beginning of the American Revolution. Is it perfect? NO. It does have some missing pieces. But these minor defects are just that...minor. If you look at the complete work, I think you'll find that what 1776 lacks is made up for by McCulloughs ability to deliver the main facts on time and in a way the reader can grasp.

As in John Adams, McCullough again finds the ability to make the main characters jump off the page. Washington, a figure that history has rightfully made larger than life is once again a human man, tortured with doubts and always mindful that disaster is just around the corner. I especially like the treatment that McCullough give King George III.

As a reader, I always like reading a book that moves along. McCullough's narrative does that quite well. In fact, some of the flaws that other reviewers have rightfully pointed out seem to spring from this style of writing.

Well researched and paced for the non-historian, 1776 is a winner. When all is said and done, you'll find that 1776 is worth the time you'll spend reading it.


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