1775: A Good Year for Revolution
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1775: A Good Year for Revolution

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The contrarian historian and analyst upends the conventional reading of the American Revolution

In 1775, iconoclastic historian and bestselling author Kevin Phillips punctures the myth that 1776 was the watershed year of the American Revolution. He suggests that the great events and confrontations of 1775—Congress’s belligerent economic ultimatums to Britain, New England’s...more
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Viking Adult
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I learned a great deal from 1775, and more importantly, managed to finish it, despite Kevin Phillips’ best efforts. Phillips sets out to examine the year or so (more on that in a moment) just prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence with a particular eye to debunking most of the myths that have cropped up in the following years. Of this, he does a good job. The lengthy volume focuses largely on economic and religious causes. It also examines the different waves of immigrants from...more
John Long
The information about the Revolutionary time period was well written. Phillips gave a lot of information and background. Where the book fell apart was in his determination to make sure the reader agreed with his premise that 1775 was the most important year of the American Revolution. One of the most bothersome parts to his point was that part of 1774, all of 1775 and 1776 up until July 4 were part of 1775. Had this just been a book about those periods, without trying to "win an argument" about...more
1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips is an ambitious book that fulfills its ambitions. Phillips demonstrates in documented detail that the critical mass of the American Revolution came together in 1775, not 1776. Indeed, he traces the development of revolutionary sentiment and action well back into the 1760s and spends a good bit of time on 1774.

Like many histories, this book isn’t for everyone because it is so full of detail and information, designed to bolster its argument, that...more
As Americans, the year 1776 is ingrained in our thinking as being the pivotal year of the Revolution. Phillips makes a persuasive case that this view is not accurate. He tells in vivid detail the events that seem to support this view. Phillips re-examines many of the basic assumptions we have about 1775 and crafts a vivid and realistic portrait of the problematic year.

Phillips shows how colonial revolutionaries dominated local governmental institutions and used various means to impose their agen...more
Nestor Rychtyckyj
1775 is not an easy book to read but the effort is worth it. This analytical view of the American Revolution focuses on the year 1775 and provides ample evidence that this was the pivotal year where the American colonies made all the decisions that would lead to independence and the birth of the United States. The level of detail here is extraordinary; each colony is disected and the population is described in terms of religion, ethnicity, economic status and other factors that often determined...more
Jud Barry
What does a revolution make? Not just a Declaration of Independence. So says author Kevin Phillips in providing this comprehensive look at how the ingredients of the independent American pie were assembled and baked.

The title is sharply rhetorical, and reflects Phillips's own determination to jolt us out of our naive, mythological focus on 1776 and its neat narrative whereby the Declaration sowed dragon's teeth and generated soldiers who fought to a Yorktown finish. Phillips corrects this reduct...more
David Eppenstein
It would be easy to hate this book. In fact those people that say they hated studying history in school could point to books like this to justify their attitudes. I have always loved history and can't seem to get enough of it. However, this book had me nodding off on more than a few occasions. I give it one star for readability but 5 stars for research and insight which averages to my 3 star rating. To begin with let's start with the title and apparent premise that 1775 is some how unappreciated...more
Sally Monaghan
I love reading about history, particularly Revolutionary era America. However, I realllllly did not like this book. I did learn some new information about the Revolution, such as the role that the Spanish played, and the twice failed effort of the British to invade the south. That did not make up for the fact that the author provides innumerable tedious details, repeats himself frequently, and, in the end, did not really prove his thesis that the key year for the American Revolution was 1775 and...more
The author's point is that July 4, 1776 is an arbitrary date and then he proves it at great length and incredible detail. Seriously. He is a very academic writer who has done his research. I didn't enjoy reading the book because of his writing style. However, he describes the causes of the revolution (which were many that did not include freedom) clearly, and the importance of the southern colonies, specifically Virginia and South Carolina.

This is a book for people who have more patience than I...more
Gary Baughn
Our education about the American Revolution in this country is so scant and filled with self-serving half-truths that any decently objective and well-rehearsed book can be a revelation. Such a book is 1775, which uses as an organizational excuse the author's premise that 1775 was a more important year for the the Revolution than the often heralded 1776.
Since Phillips' definition of 1775 stretches back into 1774 and onward into 1776, it is hard to argue with his thesis, and who would want to, sin...more
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have always believed in the importance of what went on in the colonies prior to the "real" kickoff to the revolution (i.e. the Declaration of Independence), so to have such an accomplished and erudite author expound upon it was fabulous. I grew up (and once again live in) Massachusetts, so I have been surrounded by the history of the late Colonial period- early Revolution for most of my life. Kevin Phillips brings to life details of that period tha...more
Not a bad book, but a bit dry. A look at 1775 as the beginning of the Revolution.
Laura Picardo
Great info, but the writing was meh.
Keith Davis
I had hoped Phillips' 1775 would be a sort of prequel to David McCullough's excellent 1776, but it is actually something else entirely. Phillips delves deeply into the causes of the American Revolution, focusing particularly on the economic and religious factors instead of the ideological factors that get most of the attention in popular histories of the war. The title references Phillips' thesis that the war was well underway by 1775. Most histories use the signing of the Declaration of Indepen...more
I enjoyed this book, but would have given it four stars instead of three if it had been about 100 pages shorter. The author, Kevin Phillips, makes a very convincing argument that the year 1775 was the pivotal year in the War for Independence. We are taught to give some much credence to July 4, 1776, but in this thoroughly researched book, Mr. Phillips argues that the events of 1775 were much more critical to success. He cites the economic, religious and political events that were so important.

This was really two books. The author combined what was a really good analysis of the causes of the revolution with a tortuously fumbling narrative of the first year of the war. The individual insights the author had into the causes and realities of the conflict were excellent - especially in identifying both the social and political energy and cohesion of the revolutionary movement. However, the constant way that the author repeats himself, cites data instead of expounding on his conclusions, a...more
Peter Mcloughlin
The U.S. army has its establishment date as 1775. It is odd that an institution of the U.S. was founded before the official founding of the U.S. in 1776 with the declaration of independence. In reality the revolution was in full swing in 1775 and even before Lexington and Concord in April of that year. Phillips whose first book written in the sixties "the Emerging Republican Majority" was prescient in predicting the break up of the New Deal Coalition and Nixon's southern strategy has written ano...more
This book is not for the faint of heart general reader interested in learning more about the American Revolution and its causes. Reading this is in a number of parts, particularly in the early chapters, a hard slog.

The author's basic premise in the book is that the emphasis given to the writing and issuance of the Declaration of Independence in July, 1776, by current-day Americans is misplaced. He makes a good and convincing case that the crucial year in terms of America's fight for independenc...more
Brent Ranalli
Well-written, fascinating, and convincing: the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776 was just one milestone on the path to independence, and the die was cast long before. The opening phase of the war in the "long 1775" (summer of 1774 to spring of 1776) was critical. Philips offers a wealth of detail on economic, political, geopolitical, and religious factors, the fighting on land and sea from the Bahamas to Canada, the race for supplies and munitions, the force of particular persona...more
Dan Appel
If you enjoy well written history, then this book should bring you a lot of pleasure and enlightenment.

This is the first book I have read by Kevin Phillips and as someone who is fascinated by what drove the American revolutionaries to create something so radically different from anything, anywhere in the world at the time, I am impressed! This is not a historical novel, nor is it an attempt to tell the story of the American Revolution in a linear sense; rather it is a very easily readable exami...more
For an author to claim that his book will make the case that 1775 was the deciding year of the Revolution, and not 1776, he takes an awfully liberal view of what constitutes a year. Namely, he gives more evidence that the years 1774-1776 were the years the Revolution took hold and Colonial patriotism was at its highest, and he does not support his strange, and broad, claim that 1775 was really some of 1774, all of 1775, and most of 1776. Another thing Philips did that was extremely annoying was...more
The author more than makes his point that the American Revolution really began in 1775, not 1776. Phillips is a dogged researcher and goes through infinite details on economics, international politics, the power of early "Manifest Destiny" philosophy, early battles on the sea and land, the Committees of Safety, the strategies to win the hearts and minds of Americans and so much more. I know that I will use this book for reference in years to come. Unfortunately, Phillips does not have the same s...more
This is a critical look at the year prior to the Declaration when war and the separation from England really began. The Declaration, Phillips argues, was just putting a legal hat on it. Phillips takes you through the social strata and who was for which side and why. He breaks it down economically and religiously, down to the occupations of the period.
He talks about the attempt to invade Canada and the race to keep the army supplied in gunpowder. This is a global look at the revolution. It is not...more
Jim Barber
This was an exhaustive read. On one hand, it gives you the nitty gritty details of the American Revolution, taking you deeper than anything else I've ever read on the subject. In fact, I found it to be far more detailed on the subject than I cared for, and I love reading about the Revolutionary War. My biggest gripe with the book was that the author drew conclusions that seem farfetched to me, especially regarding his thoughts about the revolution being a religious war. I've read a lot of histor...more
Persephone Abbott
“The British market for indentured soldiers 'Soldatenhandel,' which included blood money to rulers in compensation for those slain or maimed – evoked new analogies to slavery lacking only some middle europaisch Harriet Beecher Stowe to pen 'Uncle Hans’s Barrracks.'”

I felt I was wearing boaters, my feet on a porch railing, someplace out on Cape Cod after reading a 100 pages of this book. Still, it was fascinating enough to read "rebuke" of all those hideously deformed and inane history lessons of...more
I am a huge revolutionary war buff and this was a great read.My only problem was I feel the author spent way too much time on religion,granted it was an important factor in the colonies seeking independance,but it was a bit of overkill.The book had a very slow start,but with this subject that tends to be the norm.Could have been 100 pages less and still made his argument well
Adeptly combines military, political and economic histories. Not as strong on social or economic history, though, which resulted in chapters like "The Ideologies of Revolution" meandering in confusion. I suspect--though I am not well-read enough in the scholarship of the American Revolution to know for sure--that the author had set up a straw-man against which to counterpose his basic thesis. All that stated, it was a good book, and left me, among other things, wanting to know more about the lif...more
Just too much detail. Phillips has a very casual tone that makes reading him easy and comfortable, even for the non-historian, but the amount of research he brings to the book made it very difficult for me to stick with it. I think he does make a convincing argument that 1775 (or as he calls it the long year from mid 1774- to early 1776) significant in understanding the development of the revolutionary war.
Jun 11, 2013 Suzie added it
Didn't actually read this book .. the Preface was far to long - 15 pages. After more then a few pages of this, I skipped to chapter 1. However, by then I just couldn't get into the book. Perhaps in a few months or so, I will be able to revisit it again - I did want to read it.

That being said, if history is your thing .. then by all means, go for it.
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