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Angel in the Whirlwind

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  599 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Angel in the Whirlwind is the epic tale of the American Revolution, from its roots among tax-weary colonists to the triumphant Declaration of Independence and eventual victory and liberty, recounted by Benson Bobrick, lauded by The New York Times as “perhaps the most interesting historian writing in America today.” Overwhelmed with debt following its victory in the French ...more
ebook, 560 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Simon Schuster (first published July 4th 1997)
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Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Full of details about the war from start to finish with an emphasis on George Washington as commander-in-chief. Many letters from founding fathers to another quoted, which made everything come alive. Perhaps too much detail about each battle--a little foreshadowing of which ones were important would have been nice.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book about the American Revolution. That said, it took me a long time to read it and at times, it was just a little too much for me. David McCoullough seems to write history better (more readable). That said, I do think this is a must read for those who want to know really what it took to win the American revolution (I now view it as a civil war and less one between two countries) and have great respect for what it took to fight our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit o ...more
Christopher Valin
This is my favorite book about the American Revolution in general. Jam-packed full of information, Bobrick also manages to slip in fascinating and often very funny anecdotes as well. Anyone interested in an overall look at the Revolution should pick up this book.
Having just finished East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia, which was fantastic, I checked to see what else Benson Bobrick has written and realized he is the author of my all-time favorite book on the American Revolution. I've read this at least three times and bought my very own copy after the first read. A wonderful and very accessible account.
Gordon Leidner
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the way history should be written. Bobrick's book is a succinct account of the American Revolution, from its origins through the war and the writing of the US Constitution. He weaves the words of the participants throughout the narrative, making a very readable account that is difficult to put down. Well researched, thoroughly annotated, and great bibliography.
Gwen Burrow
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Devoured this 500-page monster in a little over 24 hours while touring Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. I wanted a good overview/refresher of the War for Independence (having forgotten almost everything since high school) and to that extent, this book satisfies.

Two mild complaints: 1) The writing is competent but not terribly gripping, partly because Bobrick doesn't judge enough. How should I interpret what I'm reading? Was George Washing's decision about X good or bad? Should the army have
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Overall, great information. I have pages worth of notes I typed up of things that I should figure out how to work into teaching the Revolution to my 7th graders.

But...perhaps because this was the second straight history book I read, both on the Revolution, with no novels to break it up in between, this felt like it went on forever. My perception is definitely skewed because I often only get 20 minutes to read a day, during lunch, but as fascinating I find the American Revolution to be, I felt li
A truly excellent overview of the Revolutionary War, complete with an overview of the causes and conditions that led up to the war, biographical sketches of the major players, cultural context, and color commentary anecdotes to entertain and humanize. Remarkable and impressive, especially considering the author managed this within 500 pages

I also really loved the title for the book, from the very excellent quote: "We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not thin
Dan Rogers
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good resource to give you a fairly thorough yet easily readable description of the American Revolution. I found out about this book from a colleague at the NEH workshop I attended this summer at Fort Ticonderoga. She mentioned that she uses it with her 5th graders. Since I teach the same grade I had to read it for myself. As I read I had a pad of Post-It notes handy so I could "flag" things that I want to refer back to in my teaching. I limited myself a little bit (didn't want to ...more
Kristin Strong
Exceedingly readable, well-written history. It's detailed enough to be interesting but not to the point that it drags (I recall with sadness a World War I book I read that got down to the level of regimental or battalion movements, whichever; it eventually became stultifying). I learned some things I didn't know before -- for example, the war was very unpopular in England; who knew? Plus, it sets the history solidly in its time by beginning the account with a description of the colonies as war c ...more
"We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the String. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?" --John Page to Thomas Jefferson, July 1776

Finally finished!! This is an excellent book. It's well-written and accessible; the author does a good job of helping you to see the men who fought as real people. Reading a history of the entire Revolution was good for me; it's nice to see how all the stories I know fit into each other. I'll definitely be coming b
Scott Cooper
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Excellent one volume synopsis of the American Revolution, well written and with a broad perspective. Mostly told from an American point of view, lacking in detail sometimes on the British point of view. Good focus on individuals such as John Adams, Ben Franklin, and George Washington. This book should be used as a primer for any American History course that focuses on the early stages of American History.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Bobrick's Angel in the Whirlwind does an excellent job of balancing the competing interests of historic detail with readability and brevity. This is probably the best single volume history out there for the casual historian. There are others that are more detailed, and others more brief, but this satisfied my desire for a quick, but sufficiently thorough look at the military operations that secured our independence.
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good re-telling of the important facts regarding the military campaign of the Revolution. Filled with a number of facts that don't paint a rosy picture of the realities of the war, and yet created, in my mind, an awe for the men who made this happen. Despite all the bickering and setbacks and other things that could have easily de-railed our emancipation from England, the author recounts the miraculous events of 18th century America.
Jason , etc.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily the best history of the Revolutionary War I've ever read. Having also read Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause, I found this book head and shoulders above that one based on the writing and the tone. Middlekauff's seems meant for an audience of professional historians (analytical, heavy on minutiae), while this one was both historically accurate and easily consumed.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What happens when a ruler tries to stifle innovation, overtax, and otherwise control the people from afar? Resentment, push-back, and revolution! An engaging read filled with captivating historical details about the greatest story ever told: how a young nation fought an overwhelming oppressor, emerged victorious, and established the first formal government by and for the people. Well done!
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: "We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?" If you are the kind of American who really does believe that an Angel rode in that whirlwind, and maybe still does, then this book is for you.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, comprehensive summary of the American Revolution. I had a pretty vague understanding of this period, besides the basic stuff you learn in elementary school. I was looking for a starting point to get a feel for the period, and this book delivered.

There are a few parts that drag a little, but overall I found it gripping as well as informative. Highly recommended.
Gunnar Peters
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly fascinating and held my interest from cover to cover. The revolution, while not as glorious as we may believe, is still interesting and important and this book does a fantastic job of conveying that. I now want to visit all of these locations and continue learning about the men and battles of the revolution.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly good book. I required it be read as an officer professional development book while stationed as the officer in charge at the Hunter Army Airfield Legal Office in Savannah GA. Great book on leadership.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The best book about the Revolutionary War ever written. This is the book that should be given to every American to understand the miracle of our independence... to understand the brilliance of our patriots who put so much on the line for freedom. A must read.
Kevin Bresnahan
"Angel in the Whirlwind" is a standard take on the triumphs of the American Revolution. I stress the word "standard", in that it wasn't bad, yet not particularly memorable. The story is quite detailed, yet did not have the vivid appeal for me.
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was assigned sections of this book in two separate classes. However, I did not actually dent the spine for five years after that. I've read it a few times since. A remarkable work about a remarkable time. . .
Megan Winkler
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been my absolute go-to book for anything American Revolution. Written in a less formal style than most history books, Angel in the Whirlwind is an easy, informative, and really entertaining read.
Kimberly Sorensen
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this again as I begin teaching history this fall. Found this book when I was at the U and LOVE it! The author writes in a way that you can see it happening in your mind like a movie. He tells all the stories that you never hear in high school, complete with humor, depth, and documentation.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid study of our nation's birth complete with details of all the major battles. George Washington is the star of this narrative, but he shares the stage with many other charismatic leaders and historical personages. So much to learn and savor about our history.
Feb 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs
Shelves: nonfiction
An interesting study of the American Revolution. Has some enlightening facts. An example is that the revolution was not widely supported. Most Americans were probably indifferent because they were more worried about making out a living.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reminded yet again of the ocean of gratitude every American owes George Washington and that angel in the whirlwind.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compact and lucid history of the American Revolution. Sometimes gets a little too heavy on "kings and dates" but overall a good read.
Sandra Ianuzi
This is my second reading of this wonderful book about the Revolutionary War. I recommend it wholeheartedly to all!
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Benson Bobrick earned his doctorate from Columbia University and is the author of several critically acclaimed works. In 2002, he received the Literature Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He and his wife, Hilary, live in Vermont.
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