Thursday, August 27, 2009

1776 by David McCullough

McCullough does a great job in 1776 in dispelling the myths of both the Continental and British army during the starting months and year of The American Revolution.

A great thing about a book like this, is the names of the brave men who have essentially been lost over time. Sure we know all about General Washington, but what about Joseph Reed, General Nathanael Green (Washington's favorite general), General Henry Knox, John Sullivan, Lord Stirling and others? In 1776 we learn how these inexperienced men kept the army together while in dire straights, while morale was down. The fact that there was even an army left at the end of 1776 when Washington, along with Greene, Sullivan and Stirling, led them to an unexpected attack and victory at Trenton and onto another victory at Princeton before the year was over, was remarkable.

Some amazing things happened after these victories:

Morale was up. Soldiers who were about to leave at the start of the year, instead stayed, realizing they were fighting for their futures. And the British had a grudgingly new respect for the Americans. One cavalry officer wrote: ...the fashion in this army to treat them in the most contemptible light, they are now become a formidable enemy.

McCullough perfectly captures the ups and downs of the Continental/American army: Sickness, devastating blunders, desertion, loyalty and victory.

This is the perfect account of the men who fought on both sides for the battle for America in the beginning months. Thoroughly researched and exquisitely told, this is the starting point for knowledge of The American Revolution.


Daphne said...

I have this one on my TBR pile - I"m looking forward to it. I've read a couple of other books about the revolution and it really never ceases to amaze me that they were able to pull it off!

Jenny said...

This sounds interesting but I'm afraid I would get bored with it after a while... did it hold your interest throughout?

Christy B said...

Some parts more than others. The tellings of the battles were particularly exciting. And it's not a hefty book; it's not even 300 pages. I say it's worth it.