Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “1776” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.05  ·  Rating details ·  203,398 ratings  ·  7,506 reviews
In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence - when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than ...more
Paperback, US / Canada, 386 pages
Published July 4th 2006 by Simon Schuster (first published May 24th 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 1776, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Brian Spoiler alert: We win the war. Lol
Christine Calabrese Washington makes a lot of mistakes, he is not up to this awesome task, yet with sheer will and strong determination, he learns his lessons. He is call…moreWashington makes a lot of mistakes, he is not up to this awesome task, yet with sheer will and strong determination, he learns his lessons. He is called names by those insiders who want his job, he does have some indecisive moments, however he ends the year and moves into 1777 with strong decisive strikes against the enemy. Remember however, the war doesn't end until 1783 and Washington remains faithful in the war, he sacrifices much for his country, we learn that without him, we surely would not have won the war. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  203,398 ratings  ·  7,506 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of 1776
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Will Byrnes
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
David McCullough - image from Ohio Magazine

This is an interesting book that describes in personal detail the battles of the early revolution. We see George and company in Boston, New York City, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. McCullough paints portraits of the military leaders of those campaigns, Howe primarily, and Clinton for the Brits, Greene, Knox, GW and a handful of others for the Yanks. He shows us some of GW’s correspondence and we learn of his disaffection for New Englanders. The troops

As the title suggests, this book covers only the year 1776, the first full year of the Revolutionary War. McCullough, with his impeccable research, used diaries, letters, and papers from officials on both sides as he narrowed his focus, giving us an up close and personal accounting of this year.

The history books have romanticized the war to some extent, but this is a fresh look at history that doesn’t gloss over the failures and difficulties that faced Washington and his army. Washington isn’t
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Pulitzer prizes are sexy!

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.

Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
How did a group of farmers beat the English Empire? Through blood, sweat and tears. Noted American Historian, David McCullough, beautifully tells the story of the birth of the United States of America. He takes just one year in the American Revolution to tell how both sides of the war felt and thought. He shows how King George III thought of the Colonists as petulant children who did not have any legitimate complaints. He showed how George Washington was worried about the chance of Victory for t ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
McCullough's celebrated 1776 covers a crucial turning point in the American war of independence from the British empire. However, I felt that this book was not as fascinating as Washington's Crossing by Fischer. In Fischer's book, we get a much more detailed account of the defeat in New York, the retreat across New Jersey and the crossing and re-crossing of the Delaware which I found more gripping than the more superficial coverage by McCullough. I guess the positive point of McCullough is the b ...more
Nate Cooley
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Look to our past...could anything make you more aware of the way in which our country's very beginning came to be than a book by the esteemed author David McCullough? He writes with such a clear vision of what had transpired and makes history become not only alive but one in which the blinders are removed and the true story is told.

Such is the case with his book 1776. This is the year that started everything, the year we discovered the grit, the courage, and the valor needed to cast off the coun
Connie G
"1776" is an interesting narrative covering the Revolutionary War from the Siege of Boston in late 1775, through the British victories in New York, to the successful American battles in windy, snowy weather in New Jersey. The war did not end until 1783, so this book only covers the historic year when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

It's a joy to read David McCullough's writing because he makes the historical figures seem so real with their strengths and flaws. The book is well-researc
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
McCullough’s ‘1776’ is a book about discovery: the force within oneself, one body of people, to be free without the anxiety of what it means to govern themselves independently.

Democracy was what they yearned for. The majority of the American people wanted to unite and unite they did. McCullough discusses the trials and tribulations of the first full year of the American Revolutionary War in the north to northeastern part of the colonies with clear and concise language. He uses many quotes and p
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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
Technically I didn't actually read this for school, but it's so clearly written and informative that I'm putting it there.

David McCullough employs a lucid style in this book, detailed without being ornate, that conveys a lot of information in a short amount of pages. He's even-handed in his portrayals of the notable persons on both sides of the war, mostly focusing on them as soldiers and statesmen rather than as people. It's a refreshing approach, neither hagiography nor demonization. Both sid
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the first book of the nine I have read by David McCullough that I have not given either a four or five star rating. Three stars is a book I like but I do not think it compares well to his other books.

It isn't comprehensive enough. Why does he cover only the first year of the Revolutionary War? There is no explanation given. It actually starts with the Siege of Boston in the fall of 1775, yet it does not cover Bunker Hill or the Battle of Lexington which occurred earlier in the same year
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jul 24, 2007 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
Laurie Anderson
The illustrated edition of this classic book is stunning. I hope that Simon & Schuster brings out an updated version (there has been some terrific recent scholarship in areas that McCullough is a bit thin with) in time for 2026.
Roy Lotz
I do not know whether the fault lies in myself or in my education, but I often find myself astonishingly ignorant of American history (among other things). Here is yet another case. Even though I live near where many of the events in this book take place—in Tarrytown, near New York—I had scant idea of the war’s progress in this area. Indeed, I had only the haziest notion of the conflict, and had seldom paused to give it much thought.

This book is an excellent place to start a remedial education.
Wayne Barrett
May 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Learned a ton of details about this piece of history. It's amazing when you understand how some particular events, many times out of human hands, such as an unexpected storm, could change the course of history. This is a good book for those who enjoy history. ...more
Tim Cook
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
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
The most spellbinding account of history I've read so far!
I could not put this book down!
When I realize all that American soldiers endured during the Revolution, the situations that favored us merely by chance, and the miraculous deeds that eventually won the war for us, I am in awe of America!
George Washington was not perfect, nor were his men. And maybe it's that imperfection which elevates them to true hero status, because they overcame countless defeats and obstacles, but also their own vice
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
McCullough does it again !! His fascinating narrative about the trial and tribulations as Washington's troops suffer from the weather and defeats by the most powerful army in the world and still win is truly inspiring. ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have read several of David McCullough's books including John Adams and it is easy to see why he is called "America's storyteller". As the title suggests this novel focuses on the pivotal year of 1776. It is the story of both the British and the Americans, the events that took place and the major players in these events.

On the British side there is King George III, General William Howe, General Henry Clinton, General Charles Cornwallis, and others. At the time Britain was probably the mightiest
St Jerome
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
‘This are times that try men’s souls..’

1776 by David McCullough is a historical book written about the year 1776 during the American Revolution. The book focuses on the military aspects of the revolution during that year, the battles at Dorchester Heights, Long Island, and Trenton, as well as the military chain of command for both the Continental and British Army.

The best thing about the book is that McCullough delivers the history as a story. Another positive aspect of the book is that I didn’t
11811 (Eleven)
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how something so short can still be so complete but this does the trick. If you have the slightest interest in the American revolution, this is a great place to start. As entertaining as it is informative. ...more
Joy D
Non-fiction history of the year 1776, a pivotal year in the American Revolution. McCullough focuses on the prominent leaders, both British and American, and we get a good idea of their strengths and weaknesses. It contains descriptions of each military target, the strategic objectives, how the engagement ensued, and its outcome. After reading this book, I am astounded that the Americans won, as they severely lacked weapons, powder, money, troops, experience, discipline, and leadership. One of th ...more
It is obvious from the title, that McCullough will be describing the Revolutionary war events and participants that occurred in that year.

But at the start of the book, it is Oct 26, 1775. We meet King George III. He is in full royal regalia riding in his ornate coach to discuss the colonials at the House of Lords. The king’s attire was usually much less ornate. Rather than dalliance at court, he preferred a farmer’s life at Windsor and the company of his plain wife, to whom he was faithful.
My ta
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Politics: David McCullough - 1776 2 18 Jul 26, 2020 05:47PM  
Looking for a recommendation for my dad! 5 19 Jan 24, 2020 02:35PM  
My Problem with many American Revolutionary War Books 1 37 Jul 11, 2018 12:16PM  
AP Language SHS: Mark Payne Summer Reading 2 9 Sep 07, 2017 06:06PM  
incorrect formatting 1 19 Jun 23, 2016 10:19AM  
Other good history books 11 103 Jan 08, 2016 08:30AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A People's History of the United States
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
  • Flags of Our Fathers
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
  • The Guns of August
  • A Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th Century
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • The Histories
  • Washington: A Life
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier
See similar books…
David McCullough is a Yale-educated, two-time recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize (Truman; John Adams) and the National Book Award (The Path Between the Seas; Mornings on Horseback). His many other highly-acclaimed works of historical non-fiction include The Greater Journey, 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, The Wright Brothers, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the Nation ...more

Related Articles

The two-time Pulitzer winner chronicles the daredevil ingenuity of two bicycle mechanics destined for greatness in his new work of narrative...
34 likes · 12 comments
“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.” 32 likes
“There are no people on earth in whom a spirit of enthusiastic zeal is so readily kindled, and burns so remarkably, as Americans” 18 likes
More quotes…