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The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (Oxford History of the United States #3)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  5,468 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
The first book to appear in the illustrious Oxford History of the United States, this critically acclaimed volume--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--offers an unsurpassed history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the American republic.
Beginning with the French and Indian War and continuing to the election of George Washington as first president, Robert Middlekauf
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Paperback, 736 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1982)
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StoryTellerShannon
This book tends to be tedious even if informative with the occasional social commentary by the author. The typos don't help much either.

That said, there's some really good information here especially about the many battles and fumbles and stumbles made by Washington (mediocre to average military commander, better politician).

Where's a fair assessment of Benedict Arnold's turning on us? Don't expect it within. Middlekauff operates in black and white perspectives especially when it comes to deify
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Darwin8u
Jun 22, 2015 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2015
A fantastic look at the American Revolution. This is the ONE book to read if you are fresh off the boat and looking for early American History. It is Vol 3. of the eventual 12 volume Oxford History of the United States (although it was first to be published). Middlekauff is balanced in his approach. He isn't looking to reinvent, revise, or revoke history. But you can't just call what he does a summary. His narrative captures the brilliance of, and the almost accidental start of, the American Rep ...more
Jeff
Feb 06, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it
So, you pick up a book about the American Revolution. And the first 20 pages talk about the coming of the war and glosses over such things as the Stamp Act and the Townsend Acts and and the Intolerable Acts and never really discusses anything enough in detail for you to understand who these people (especially in Britain) were and why they kept to a course that angered the colonists and BOOM! You're at Lexington and Concord.

Not this time.

I've been reading history for over 50 years and this is the
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John
Oct 05, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Another excellent entry in the Oxford History of the United States. I didn't personally find it quite as engrossing as "Empire of Liberty" or "What Hath God Wrought," but still extremely interesting and informative. This book goes to some lengths to explain and document just how radical much of America was before the revolution (which flies in the face of some of my collegiate history instructors, who pitched the revolution as more of a minority driven phenomenon). Likewise, it at times adopts a ...more
Jeremy Perron
Jul 14, 2012 Jeremy Perron rated it it was amazing
As I continue my march through the ages, where I explore all the historical eras of the United States of America, I finally arrive at the age and event that would create the nation itself. Having finished Fred Anderson Crucible of War, I had already arrived at that generation of Americans, which we would describe as the Founding generation, and they were living under the man they would call tyrant, King George III. As I stated in an earlier post the biggest challenge in this little project is to ...more
Richard
Jun 14, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Several decades ago, editor C. Vann Woodward and his collaborator Richard Hofstadter founded the Oxford History of the U.S. series, to bring rigorous historical scholarship to a wide reading audience. The subject matter would consist of a series of books by distinguished historians, each focusing on an important era of American History, from colonial times to the present day, in random order. Robert Middlekauff produced the first book in the series in 1982; it was expanded and revised into this ...more
James Murphy
Jun 18, 2009 James Murphy rated it it was amazing
Wow. The Glorious Cause is the most comprehensive history of the American Revolution I know. Most general histories of it treat it more as a war and military events rather than as the overall political and social transformation it in fact was. Middlekauff's history covers every aspect of the war. For one thing, he begins the story in 1763, at the end of the French and Indian War, when he says the discontent which blossomed into open rebellion began. And he doesn't end his story until 1789 and th ...more
Bob
Jan 09, 2012 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, solid overview of the American Revolution, but unlike the other books I've read in the Oxford History of the United States, not one I would recommend as an introductory text. Middlekauf seems to assume a prior knowledge about much of the personalities and events of the Revolution, and his narrative can be difficult to follow if you're not already familiar (sometimes very familiar) with the story of American Independence.

His choice of focus was at times curious as well: great detail is p
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Jeff
Feb 02, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
It was a book with a massive amount of information to grasp and remember but since I love history I gave it my best and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I’m a nerd and a geek when it comes to history, sue me. This audiobook was over 26 hours long but it’s one of the best books I’ve found that really examines in detail the politics, the battles and the personalities of the American Revolution. I found this brief review sums it up better than I could.

There's really almost nothing to criticize in "The Glo
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Nishant
Aug 31, 2012 Nishant rated it really liked it
The American Revolution in a single 700-page volume. A little dense, but well worth the effort.
Jerome
May 19, 2012 Jerome rated it really liked it
The Glorious Cause is comprehensive and complete, extremely ambitious in its scope. It is painstakingly footnoted, documenting a wealth of sources of both primary and secondary research. It is a military history as well as a political history, and wanders into social commentary as well. Middlekauff does a masterful job of explaining how pivotal the French and Indian War was in American History as it forced England to re-examine her relationship to her American colonies. Prior to that war the col ...more
Clinton Rice
Jan 29, 2012 Clinton Rice rated it really liked it
This is my first book review, so the 4-star rating is a little tenuous; the book met many expectations in excellent fashion, but due the complexity of subject matter, there were parts that became a bit disjointed or left me hoping uncertainly that issues would be dealt with later (they almost invariably were, but foreknowledge would have been nice).

There were two primary facets that I cared about: the historical narrative of America's evolution from colonies to functioning nation, and ideologica
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Carson Stones
Jan 21, 2015 Carson Stones rated it it was amazing
From the Stamp Act to the Washington's Inauguration and everything in-between, Robert Middlekauff manages to capture the passion, sacrifice, and larger-than-life personalities which made the cause glorious. What really stood out to me about this narrative was the constant state of desperation and near-catastrophe in which the rebels found themselves. In fact, without the aid of French warships and materiel (not to mention Lafayette!), I'm not convinced that Washington and his Continental Army wo ...more
Brian
Jul 09, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
I didn't read all of it, but the parts I didn't read I skimmed and I doubt I'll re-read it since it's so long and there's so much out there. But it's good.

There were some notable shortcomings and glaring omissions, such as the arrival of Martha Washington at Valley Forge, Adams' nomination of Washington, Benedict Arnold's treachery, etc. I think the main thing to note about the Revolutionary War is that it really was an accident. Nobody quite knew it was going to happen until they were in the m
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Andrew
Jan 07, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gina bought me this book for my Kindle awhile back, as I've expressed greater interest in exploring American history in the past few years.

The Revolutionary period is my favorite period of American history as the "idea" of America continues to exercise a powerful hold on my imagination. Sometimes, I wonder whose side I would have been on had I been alive at the time as the history reveals that it was not all good guys vs. bad guys.

I would not consider this an introduction, but more of a specia
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Michael
Jun 18, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
I liked "The Glorious Cause" a lot, finding it as complete a history of Revolutionary period of the United States as I've found. Robert Middlekauff, the author, presents a well researched factual account which spans the time period from roughly the French and Indian War until the ratification of the constitution. This was not a fight between two homogeneous sides; there were actually four sides in the fight, Patriots and Tories in America, pro-war and anti-war factions in England. All are well r ...more
Dave
Nov 02, 2009 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009, history
This book is an onerous, though rewarding, introductory historical text. It doesn't offer much commentary outside the battles and conventions--though I wouldn't expect as much from a general history from 30 years ago. Middlekauff acquits himself well, and he knows his stuff. The best moments (among the 600+ pages) are when Middlekauff lets his hair down a little bit and gently ribs the Founding Fathers as if they were his old school chums. I read about a half-hour every night (I don't recommend ...more
Joel Arnold
Nov 29, 2011 Joel Arnold rated it really liked it
I came to this book after reading 1776 by McCullough and wishing I could finish the war. Middlekauff did not disappoint.

This work is certainly written on a scholarly level and Middlekauff is a careful historian. As a result, the book is hardly as entertaining as 1776, but the picture it presents of the era is often more illuminating. Middlekauff includes chapters on religion, domestic life, international events, politics, and culture, in addition to the military events. I finished this book feel
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David
May 26, 2009 David rated it really liked it
Part of the Oxford History of the United States, this is the 2nd edition of the title and has been extensively revised. It's a challenging read. SPOILER-The British lose.
Diane
Nov 03, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
Wow, I never knew how much I didn't know! Still couldn't pass a quiz on the American Revolution though. Liked the tangents more than battle descriptions.
Misha
Mar 26, 2013 Misha rated it did not like it
It was extremely painful to read through the first chapter. He is an
okay writer and he can write consistently for a page or so. However, I
don't think he can see history between facts and I don't think he can
separate important events from unimportant or analyze causality. And
he does not seem to be a materialist. Which hurts double after reading
McPherson-the-closet-marxist. I think I'll try to read another chapter
or so and if he is going the way he does now, I don't think I'll be
able to go any fur
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Stephan van Velzen
This is the third book I've read about the American Revolution. The other two both ended at Yorktown, which always struck me a strange, since that didn't seem to be a decent conclusion to the war at all.

Robert Middlekauff's book is different. First of all, if you simply want a recounting of all the battles of the war of independence, there are much better books to read. This one skips over a lot of it, and very much simplifies the movement of armies and the strategic decisions and motivations o
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Aaron
Dec 27, 2016 Aaron rated it it was amazing
I've always wanted to read a good, comprehensive, and unbiased account of the American Revolution. This is it. I enjoyed the fact that it focused so much time on the Townsend Acts, Intolerable Acts, etc. before even entering into the brunt of the Revolution. The Declaration of Independence doesn't even occur until midway through the book. I always carry with me a 700 page-turner on every cruise that I've ever been on. This will go down in history as "The Glorious Cause" cruise. Up next for me on ...more
SonnyK247
Dec 19, 2016 SonnyK247 rated it really liked it
A powerful accomplishment in total research despite unusual elaboration and then summarization depending on the event or individual. I was more disappointed after reading this compared to similar works since I had such high expectations beforehand. Still a must read for historians.
Simon Purdy
May 24, 2017 Simon Purdy rated it it was ok
Well, it defeated me. As a dyslexic and a history novice this was too much for me. It was a very difficult read, which I only managed to get half way through. It was interesting an informative but it's not really a good place to start for a novice.
Matthew Haddick
May 06, 2017 Matthew Haddick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A fantastic narrative. It gives a clear and concise account of the Revolution. It is elegant as well.
Christian
Sep 23, 2007 Christian rated it really liked it
Summary review:

The best one-volume American Revolution book I've read so far. Has readability issues at various points, but is not overly taxing. Most useful for researching the events before (and leading to) the war, as well as the various arguments in crafting the constitution. Doesn't provide a lot of historical anecdotes of the characters involved, and not every battle is described in detail. Despite that, definitely the best place to start.

---
Review from Washington the General to Washington
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Jim
May 16, 2013 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This is really a book I should have liked; I've read all of the other Oxford History of the United States volumes covering the 18th and 19th centuries, and while I've delved quite a lot into the early years of the Constitutional republic, and read a number of biographies of the Founders, I had never read a comprehensive volume on the Revolution itself, its causes and aftermath. So I was excited to take this volume up. I was relieved to finally put it down.

The trouble with this work for a reader
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Kai Palchikoff
Nov 12, 2016 Kai Palchikoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The first book to appear in the illustrious Oxford History of the United States, this critically acclaimed volume--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--offers an unsurpassed history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the American republic. Beginning with the French and Indian War and continuing to the election of George Washington as first president, Robert Middlekauff offers a panoramic history of the conflict between England and America, highlighting the drama and anguish of the colonial ...more
Stephen Bauer
Apr 06, 2015 Stephen Bauer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The Revolutionary War was as much or more about the surrounding politics as it was about the actual fighting. A one-volume overview of the Revolutionary War, author Middlekauff covers the time period from 1764, with the beginning of onerous taxes imposed by the British Parliament, through the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The last paragraph of the epilogue quotes Alexander Hamilton: "It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their ...more
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disccuss the glorious cause 1 32 Oct 22, 2007 04:21AM  
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  • The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival After Yorktown
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  • American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic
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Other Books in the Series

Oxford History of the United States (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815
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  • Battle Cry of Freedom
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  • Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974
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  • Years of Peril and Ambition: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1776-1921
  • The American Century and Beyond: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1893-2014

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