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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  92,253 ratings  ·  4,987 reviews
America's most acclaimed historian presents the intricate story of the year of the birth of the United States of America. "1776" tells two gripping stories: how a group of squabbling, disparate colonies became the United States, and how the British Empire tried to stop them. A story with a cast of amazing characters from George III to George Washington, to soldiers and the ...more
Paperback, 386 pages
Published July 4th 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2005)
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Brian Spoiler alert: We win the war. Lol…moreSpoiler alert: We win the war. Lol(less)
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Diane Librarian
There are several reasons why I think this book is important, and it has a lot to do with the state of our schools. You've probably heard that public education in America is becoming more of a shambles each decade. I work at a college and often feel like I'm on the front lines of this battle. While we have a number of good students, we also have a fair number 18- and 19-year-olds who simply aren't prepared for higher education and who, if the economy weren't so degree-oriented, probably wouldn't ...more
Jason Koivu
In 1776 David McCullough captures the importance of that year's quintessential struggle for our country.

By focusing on this single year, as opposed to the entire war, McCullough is able to dissect more minutely the individual battles, turning points, specific leaders, and the result is one of the most humanistic depictions of George Washington I've ever read. Here he becomes more than mythic god of the American past, but rather a living, breathing, flawed man.

Telescoping in on actions like The
Nate Cooley
David McCullough has again exceeded all expectations in his latest book, "1776." Like most historical narratives, the reader often knows the ending well in advance. In "1776", every reader had to have expected that McCullough would close his book describing Washington's daring yet gallant crossing of the Delaware and the Continental Army's subsequent triumph at Trenton. Nevertheless, as I approached the end of the book I found myself anxiously awaiting that moment ... I literally read-on with ba ...more
I decided to read this book because it is on the best seller list and there are about 350 people who have reserved the book on line at the library. I am STILL baffled as to how many people have read and want to read this book. The book is about the Revolutionary war in the year 1776. It is well written. I feel like I missed a lot of school. I don’t remember anything about the Revolutionary war. I didn’t realize how much was fought in New York City and Long Island. I didn’t realize how long it la ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Diane added it
Recommends it for: Helen Keller
There wasn't a shelf for "Books I tried to read, and then failed at." So this one wound up on the "Read" shelf, even though that's a lie - I only suffered through about a 1/3 of it. 1776 bored the living shit out of me. I'm sure this makes me a bad person, moves me out of the running for the next Genius Award, reveals me as an uncultured, unsophisticated reader of comic books and advice columnists, etc etc. Don't care. This book reminded me of a trip I took to Gettysburg when I was in 3rd grade ...more
I listened to this on audio-book, although I do have a hard back copy in my library. David McCollough's distinct voice, which makes his speeches so enjoyable, also makes him the perfect candidate to read his own books. His is the recognizable voice from the 90's as the narrator of Ken Burns PBS classic "The Civil War". The only McCullough book I've read is his Pulitzer Prize winning biography, John Adams.

1776 is not quite on the level with John Adams, but it's very good, very enlightening, abou
This isn't the book I wanted to read, or was expecting to read, but it was good nonetheless.

What I was expecting:

1. A book about the first full year of the American Revolution (this part was accurate).
2. Insight into the causes of the Revolution (absent almost completely).
3. Portrayals of the way the two sides saw each other, and why (somewhat present).
4. Stuff about George Washington and the other founding fathers (there was some stuff on George Washington, mostly in his role as commander in ch
Tim Cook
This book was fascinating and compelling, told in an informative style that makes the reader feel present at the events themselves (as is characteristic of McCullough). As a longtime Civil War enthusiast, I found I knew very little regarding the American Revolution, so this book proved to be a treasure trove of interesting facts. The realism with which Washington is described, in both strengths and weaknesses, is a welcome contrast to the near-reverence seen in other texts. "1776" allows us to s ...more
Finding a point to start when wanting to learn about American History is appealing in itself. With history, finding a beginning is always tricky. I could have started with Christopher Columbus’s voyage, for instance. But my rationale for choosing 1776 was to follow the events and individuals that decided there should exist a United States of America. I wanted to know why they wanted independence, who was involved, how events came into play, not to mention the when and where of it all.

Before rea
4.5 stars. David McCullough does it again. This is an excellent, entertaining and engaging description of one of the "pivotal" years in American History. Beginning with the early American victory at the "Siege of Boston," McCullough details the disastrous results for the Americans at a series of battles to follow (most notably the Battle of Long Island and the taking of Fort Washington and Fort Lee).

McCullough makes it clear that the American cause was on the point of collapse when, in December
Pulitzer prize winner and well deserving.

This chronicles Washington's army from just after Bunker Hill to the dramatic crossing of the Delaware and his Christmas attack of the Hessians at Trenton. Well researched and superbly written, very entertaining. McCullough paints a vivid portrait of legendary time.

I'm at a loss to find the right superlative, but this has to be one of the most enthralling, engrossing, and entertaining histories I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

This is my first McCullough book, so perhaps this is the norm. Boy, I sure hope so.

As with a few other books on the Revolutionary War that I've read recently, I keep asking myself, "Why didn't we learn about our nation's founding with books like this??? It sure would have made it more interesting.

McCullough covers this single
I enjoyed immensely McCullough's John Adams, even though it took me a month or so to read, so look forward to 1776. I was not disappointed.
The book is a short one, and covers a topic I thought I knew well. Surely this material has been plowed through so thoroughly, there is nothing new to unearth? I was wrong. The book read with a raw novelty, as though I was reading about events for the first time, the shadows of which are often Disney-fied for social studies and history classes.
I learned how r
Patrick Gibson
Oct 13, 2014 Patrick Gibson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history aficionados
The musical was better!

No, I’m kidding (although I am one of 23 people on this planet to actually likes the B’way show. No excuse for the other planets). I want David McCullough to be my grandfather, sit near a fireplace, smoke a pipe and tell me stories. I don’t care about what—just talk.

I like his not-so-stuffy writing style. I always have. In “1776” he continues making historical figures and events accessible and even entertaining. His research is (as far as I know) impeccable. And thar’ be
"1776" details the events of George Washington and his officers from the summer of 1775 through January of 1777. The book is written in what I find to be a nauseating and anti-intellectual best-seller style, heavy on quotes and light on insight.

The entire book relies on "unnecessary" quotations from "source material," and 95% of the book is comprised of "adjectives" describing "sensorium." If you want descriptions of how the Potomac smelled one morning, or how Washington's buttons on a coat "shi
Dave Russell
McCullough is not a very good prose writer. Faulkner would have trouble parsing some of his sentences. Also, he's apparently never heard of parallel construction. However, he knows how to cull facts and construct a compelling story. He starts off with King George III giving a speech full of arrogance and bluster that only a British monarch could muster--or possibly a professional wrestler. He ends the book with King George III giving a speech with a more chastened tone. In between Washington tak ...more
Joy H.
I never thought I'd enjoy a book about war and its battles, but this book, _1776_, drew me in as did McCullough's _John Adams_). McCullough makes it all so real again.

The last page of the book says it all:
p.294 - "The year 1776... a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear... [After all that:] ...the outcome seemed little short of a miracle."
Apr 22, 2008 Suzi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: doreen nidey
Backwards, men, to victory! This is a thoroughly readable history of how George Washington and his rag tag band of semi-soldiers finally wore down the British. Oh, the British were as we are now--huge navy, army, and hired help (Blackwater for us--Hessians for them). And except for a couple of brilliant moves (like capturing a bunch of huge canon from Ft. Ticonderoga and moving them cross country, through the mud and slime, to Boston), and one morning the British woke up and found an entire line ...more
McCullough's abundant citations from contemporaneous accounts of soldiers and leaders during the fateful year 1776 humanizes this chronicle of the disastrous campaign that nearly lost the revolutionary war. For readers that today look back and assume the war's conclusion was foregone, it is jarring to note how close defeat was, and how ineffectual the leadership of General George Washington was during most of the first year. And yet, it is hard not to see the Hand of Providence at work during ti ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Jim is currently reading it
Shelves: real-ass-shit
This book is a detailed account of the American Revloutionary War as told by cronicles of the real people who lived through it. The only thing it didn't really mention a whole lot was the pivotal role Vin Diesel played when taking the guns from Ft. Greyskull. Or the part where George Washington jumps the Delaware River on his wacky big front wheel bike.
John Boettcher
If you want something so dense, so boring, and so un-enlightening, then THIS is your book. Does McCullough write specifically for people that have insomnia? The dictionary was more enthralling than this tome.

I would Wikipedia the Revolutionary War if that is your thing. You can get the highlights without loosing consciousness 9 times.
A wonderful & amazing chronicle of the make-or-break year in the American Revolution. David McCullough's like a cozy Grandpa Historian: you just wanna sit in a circle and listen to all his stories, which is exactly the experience I had listening to the audiobook.
I am not a history buff, but this book was very fun for me to read. A lot of people would attack the US on things they did in the past from the day they arrived here and established themselves as being free and whatnot, but I wouldn't. I am not saying the US is perfect. In fact, they are FAR from perfect, but no matter how you look at it, the struggle to get to where we are today was extremely hard.

This is where this book comes into play. Without going into details on various battle that were f
Absolutely loved this book. Written in a style easy to read and feeling like I was there, events unfold leading up to battles throughout Massachusetts and New York/New Jersey. I thought I knew about the Revolutionary War, admittedly superficially, but after listening to this audio, I found there was so much more to all the events and people involved. What struck me was how rag-tag the Continental Army really was - no clothing, money, food and ammunition - and with deserters aplenty, it is nothin ...more
This book is not as interesting as people led me to believe. It's basically a book about War....well duh, I hear you say, that's what the War of Independence was all about. However I thought it would be more analytical, why the war started, who the players were, give you the real story of political intrigue and all that jazz. Because war is never really about truth, justice and the American way. It's ALWAYS about a group of people that want the wealth and power of the current people who are in p ...more
Wendy Rabe
This account covers only the year 1776, when the Revolutionary War went from looking like a totally lost cause to a cause embraced by Providence. As I read how many times in that year that Washington retreated or made major mistakes and how vastly outnumbered and outtrained the Americans were, I truly marveled at what God has done in giving us this country. It showed me the importance of persevering and trusting God, no matter how circumstances appear from a worldly perspective. I'm no fan of Th ...more
Alice S.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked this book. Not the most riveting I've ever read, but McCullough did a great job with the narrative of the war in the title year. It was actually all stuff I never knew about, or had vaguely heard about (like the crossing of the Delaware). I didn't learn about the actual warfare in school, only the stuff going on in Philadelphia. The book also gives a great character profile of George Washington, Nathaniel Greene, and Henry Knox, among other major players of the revolution, as well as the ...more
Fireworks and the Declaration of Independence are the only 2 things we normally associate with 1776. I thought I had a good outline of the war. Was I wrong, this book reveals so much that is skipped over in most history classes and books. Read this incredible story to find out the real story of that fateful year. How close we came to being crushed by the dominant military power in the world. What increased admiration I have for the men who fought through to end that year in victory when all seem ...more
3.5 I love the subject matter, though I have to read McCullough in small doses because he puts me to sleep. I like his fair-minded, steady approach, and I like how much I learn, but at times he just beats the details mercilessly into the ground. What he needs to perk it up is a little more story line and some personal color for his characters.

I've always known that the colonists were the clear "underdog" in the Revolutionary War, but this book really underscores how tenuous their situation was.
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  • Washington's Crossing
  • American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic
  • Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
  • Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence
  • The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789
  • Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
  • The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army
  • The Glorious Cause
  • Patriots: The Men Who Started The American Revolution
  • A History of the American People
  • The First Salute
  • The Civil War: A Narrative
  • Citizen Soldiers: The U S Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany
  • Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge
  • Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
  • Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign That Won the Revolution
David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.” He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

(update: His most recent book is The Wright Brothers, published on May 5th 2015 by Simon & Schuster.)

Mr. McCullou
More about David McCullough...
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“The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.” 17 likes
“It was a day and age that saw no reason why one could not learn whatever was required - learn vitally anything - by the close study of books.” 8 likes
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