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Patriots: The Men Who Started The American Revolution
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Patriots: The Men Who Started The American Revolution

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,217 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
With meticulous research and page-turning suspense, Patriots brings to life the American Revolution -- the battles, the treacheries, and the dynamic personalities of the men who forged our freedom. George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry -- these heroes were men of intellect, passion, and ambition. From the secret meetings ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published March 15th 1989 by Simon & Schuster (first published February 1988)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 25, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Again, one of my favorite books. I like history and I like military History. This book tells an absorbing story of the Revolution built around short bios of the founders of the United States.
Elizabeth
I sort of read this books to tatters. I refuse to throw out the tattered copy. I loved this book. I was *obsessed* with this book. This book is the reason I will name my cat Molineaux when I get it. ("Stop, Mr. Molineaux! Stop, Mr. Molineaux! Gentlemen, if Mr. Molineaux leaves us, we are forever undone." I HAVEN'T OPENED THIS BOOK IN THREE YEARS AND I AM PROBABLY CLOSE TO IF NOT ACTUALLY WORD-PERFECT ON THAT QUOTE.)

I don't know *why*. I somehow doubt it is actually all that brilliant. And yet! I
...more
Kelley
Jan 11, 2010 Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good overview of the period leading up to the American Revolution, the revolution itself, and the short period after the war ended but not into the early days of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.

Langguth, as he does in his next volume on the War of 1812, focuses on a handful of well known and not so well known personalities. Samuel Adams is a central figure and appears to be unjustly underrated as a figure in the period leading up to the war and the Continental Con
...more
Jamie Vollrath
Jan 22, 2016 Jamie Vollrath rated it really liked it
Political fervor is at the highest level it has ever been at during my life. For the longest consecutive time in my life, I have been "glued" to the radio on my way to and from work during the long commute. People losing their homes, banks in trouble, our tax dollars being mixed with cement to repair all of the cracks in our confidence in the economy. Iraq - was it right, was it wrong, is it lost, has it been won? Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan. Conflicts of interest in our politics. A ...more
Michelle
Jun 22, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book on American History and one of my favorite books ever written. I picked this up at my mom's house when I was bored one day and started skimming through the first few pages. I figured I might learn a few interesting facts. Instead, I was captivated. This book reads like a novel and it left me feeling like I knew some of our founding fathers personally. It made the events leading up to the Revolutionary War seem so much more real to me. I am not a history buff and never th ...more
George
Aug 23, 2007 George rated it it was amazing
Ignorance about 'merican history led me to read this, "1776," and "Founding Brothers" within the past couple years, and they're all terrific and narratively stirring philosophical and political (and, in the case of the first two, military) accounts of the lead-up to the revolution, the war itself, the founding fellas, the war's aftermath, the subsequent few decades, and basically the roots of most every debate we still face as a country (along with the proposition, implied in "Brothers," that th ...more
Steven
May 08, 2009 Steven rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book if you like the American Revolution or just want to learn more. The structure of the book is its best selling point--a chapter setting the stage and time frame of Colonial New England and what led to the Revolution, followed by a biographical chapter on one of the more important figures at that moment/time frame. Very effective bio-history all in one and a book I'd love to use in a history class.

Highly recommended!
Chris
Jan 19, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-usa
It's strange how Americans castigate France and rave about us bailing the French out of both world wars, yet no one ever talks about how the French bailed us out of the Revolutionary War. The book was concise and well organized, but too dry and rigid: The American Revolution was far too romantic to be written about in textbook format.
Steven
This is a well written book that held my interest throughout. Like a good novel, it tells a story that kept me turning to the next pages to find out "what happened." The story, in this case, involves the events that led up to the American Revolution, starting with James Otis's opposition to the writs of assistance in 1761 and ending with George Washington's farewell to his troops in 1783.

In between, A. J. Langguth (a professor of journalism, who wrote Our Vietnam) generally does a masterful job
...more
Matthew
Feb 24, 2013 Matthew rated it liked it
A.J. Langguth's Patriots was published in 1989, and I've had it on my bookshelf almost that long (not really, but it's been at least five years). The great thing about history is that it really doesn't change much and a well-written popular history, barring new scholarship, is still going to be interesting 20 or 50 or 100 years after publishing. Patriots is well-written popular history.

Which is not say everyone will fall in love with it or that it's the greatest book ever on the subject. For sta
...more
Ashley Shor
Apr 19, 2015 Ashley Shor rated it liked it
Patriots by A.J. Langguth is a non fictional history book on the American Revolution. It describes different events in that time and important people. The book is 640 pages long but a pretty easy read. It describes what each person did and the importance of them in that time in history. It shows the heroism of our founding fathers and the fight for our freedom. It mentions a time of slavery and war. Although it describes many events in history that we may know have already learned about before, ...more
Joseph Sansone
Oct 08, 2014 Joseph Sansone rated it it was amazing
Patriots: The Men Who Started The American Revolution by A.J. Langguth is a wonderful expose on America’s founding father’s that initiated and won the world’s most successful revolution. From James Otis to George Washington, Patriots illustrates the participants and the environments of which they operated in. The first couple chapters are a little slower; however, soon this book becomes an extremely passionate read as the light of liberty is passed from one founding father to another. It becomes ...more
J.S.
Jul 09, 2014 J.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent narrative history of the American Revolution, starting with the Stamp Act and other policies of the British crown that led the Patriots to rebel. Langguth really makes the stories and names come alive, and you get a better sense of the frustration and anger felt by the colonists, as well as the difficulties they faced. I had always wondered what role Samuel Adams played, or where Paul Revere was going on his midnight ride, or how Benedict Arnold became a traitor (and what became of him ...more
Damon Lively
Mar 13, 2016 Damon Lively rated it liked it
Good read overall, captures the important events and interactions. As described, does follow key individuals of the period and gives you a nice basis of who they were, how they became prominent, the role the played, etc. I see this as a great starter book for someone interested in the period and to spark their interest into more detailed accounts on the person, independence, or the Revolutionary War.

I feel a more detailed account (and better book) on the Revolutionary War - that I have read to
...more
Mark Dubovec
Feb 11, 2017 Mark Dubovec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Patriots" is a thoroughly researched and compelling non-fiction narrative of the American Revolution, from the earliest resistance to British tax attempts to George Washington's resignation as commander of the Continental Army. Langguth focuses less on the dates and numbers and more on the personalities and characters of the figures who played important roles on both sides in the unfolding drama. He shares insight on famous men such as Washington, Jefferson, and John and Samuel Adams, but he al ...more
Adrian Rutt
Feb 21, 2014 Adrian Rutt rated it really liked it
Great book overall, however if I were to have one issue with it it would be the fact that it does not paint a solid picture of how to revolution actually went (ups and downs). Nor did it claim that it was going to be this. It seemed to me as if there were statements made in passing about certain major events (Camden) when in reality he could have at least made it a page while still not taking away from the main focus. Not at all a good introductory work to understand the dynamics of the war, but ...more
Chris
Dec 22, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
A very good portrayal of many of the major players in the American Revolution. I hadn't read much about the period in a while (like since hight school!) so it was a good way to get back to the basics to understand who and what motivated one of the most important moments in history. After spending most of the book developing the many personalities involved, it ends with basically a summary of the major battles of the war. Overall, this is a good place to get the broad strokes before reading in de ...more
Jack Harding
Aug 02, 2015 Jack Harding rated it really liked it
Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution is a well written tome which clearly gives the reader an understanding of what all went on in colonial America. Characters like Paul Revere, William Dawes, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, etc. come to life very vividly as do battles. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Languth's work, however this was not just a description of the beginnings of the American Revolution; the book goes from 1765 to 1783 yet fails to mention any of the campaigns involving ...more
Chase Metcalf
Apr 17, 2016 Chase Metcalf rated it really liked it
Good history of the key Figures of the American Revolution focused primarily on the founding fathers. History is more a political history than with some military history intermixed. The book touches on some of the key figures from Britain and France but is primarily focused on the political machinations of the revolutionary leaders from the 1760s till the end of the war. The book focuses mainly on the run up to the war and the first years speeding rapidly through major events in the war and its ...more
Chris
Jun 16, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing
I can't figure out how 1776 and Founding Brothers won all kinds of awards and this book didn't. A.J. Langguth smoothly lays out the American Revolution from the beginning starting with James Otis and the abolition of the Writs of Assistance to George Washington's resignation from the Continental Army. It's a thick book so it takes some commitment but if you're interested in the men who were responsible for the framework of the country that we currently live in, it's pretty hard to put down. It p ...more
Shana
Jun 09, 2008 Shana rated it really liked it
This was really just a top-notch history book. Beginning with the Writs of Assistance arguments in the early 1760s and going all the way through until Washington resigns his commission in 1783, the book really explores the people involved. Their triumphs, tragedies, embarassments, fears, feelings and agendas are on display and it adds entire new layers of understanding to the entire American Revolution. It also reminds you of how precarious the entire situation was. Modern propaganda to the cont ...more
Zack Stackurski
Apr 01, 2013 Zack Stackurski rated it really liked it
The author's intended audience was "people that knew George Washington crossed the Delaware, but didn't know why. Or knew Benedict Arnold betrayed his country, but didn't know how." so it was exactly what I was looking for. Of course its also a very long, and sometimes dry book (a lot of very important people involved in the revolution and early government were of course squabbling lawyers) so its hard for me to recommend this to just anyone. But if you want a complete picture of the revolution ...more
Mike Roberts
Jan 08, 2013 Mike Roberts rated it liked it
Still tricky for me to give ratings to non fiction since it's not my usual thing. That said this was another 3.5 for me. On the positive there was so much great history here that a Brit like me didn't know and the author made most of the book a page turner. The book goes from the very early days of discontent in Boston through to the end of the revolutionary war (and doesn't get as far as the constitution).

On the flip side the prose at the beginning felt a little clumsy to me and about 2/3 of th
...more
Edward
Apr 03, 2009 Edward rated it it was amazing
Patriots is a vivacious narrative history of American Revolution. Beginning with James Otis' denunciation of British tax collection in 1760, it charts the course of colonial unrest through to Washington's resignation from the Continental Army following British defeat. The book introduces a number of the prominent people who did much to forge independence, and charts the principal events of the years with a fair-handed treatment that emphasises the contingency of war. Light on dates, lighter stil ...more
Michaelfortin2013
Apr 01, 2013 Michaelfortin2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully written book on the American Revolution in which the author brings the players to life. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter and was dissapointed when I had finished because I wanted to read more. Adams, Hancock, Jefferson, Washington, Otis and many others are truly heroes who risked everything including their lives to pursue a vision.....a grand experiment that continues to evolve today. While there are lots of good books on the Revolutionary period especially within t ...more
Bev
Jan 24, 2015 Bev rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Excellent book, very interesting to read, learned much more about the details of the patriots lives, was able to see their personalities and the effects of decisions they made. Is a brief history of the American revolution from the earliest thrust for freedom from England, through the War. Author uses references from journals, newspaper articles, was able to see what was happening in England and France at the same time. Some information seemed gossipy, not sure to trust it, but otherwise very ex ...more
Nicholas Katopol
Feb 09, 2014 Nicholas Katopol rated it it was amazing
John Adams by McCullough is one of the best biographies I've ever read but this book is the best account I've seen of America's Founding Fathers. The level of personal detail while not dallying overmuch in a narrow individual vignette is incredible. At one point in my life I was more enthralled with ancient history. perhaps it's that sense of temporal distance which amplified the mystery or sense of the numinous, but this book made this time in history (including the other side of the Atlantic) ...more
Christine
It took me a little bit too much time to read this to give it a fair review, but I'll try! I liked the meat of this book--the description of the battles and the thought processes of the patriots. It was really in-depth and descriptive, and actually gave one of the best accounts of the lead-up to the war that I've read. My problem is that there was a lot of skipping around amongst characters, and especially with the loyalists, who we never hear anything about, it was hard to keep them all straigh ...more
Peter Mayeux
Sep 19, 2014 Peter Mayeux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author provides interesting insights into the events and persons active from the beginning to the end of the American Revolution (1761-1783). There are several absorbing biographical profiles included in this book. It is very easy to read but also difficult to put down. The book could be a useful resource if a reader wanted to complete research on particular aspects of the American Revolution.
Brendan Steinhauser
Jan 04, 2012 Brendan Steinhauser rated it really liked it
Just finished this excellent history of the American Revolution. It kind of moves fast from battle to battle without getting into all the strategy and tactics, but it reads fast and keeps your attention. The best part is the first few chapters that deal with the pre-war period where men like Sam Adams organized opposition to the British in the streets of Boston. It was kind of fun reading about the original tea party again.
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A.J. "Jack" Langguth is Professor Emeritus of the the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California and an American author and journalist. In addition to his non-fiction work, he is the author of several dark, satirical novels. A graduate of Harvard College, Langguth was South East Asian correspondent and Saigon bureau chief for "The New York Times" during the Vietnam war. He was a ...more
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