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The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

(The Revolution Trilogy #1)

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,203 ratings  ·  248 reviews
In the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy Rick Atkinson recounts the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence. From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force. It is a saga aliv ...more
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
”The odds were heavily stacked against the Americans: no colonial rebellion had ever succeeded in casting off imperial shackles. But, as Voltaire had observed, history is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.”

 photo Lexington_zpsx0nbm4td.jpg

Whenever I read about the Amercian Revolution, I’m always struck by the enormity of the task our founding fathers were facing.
...more
Matt
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This would not be a war between regimes or dynasties, fought for territory or the usual commercial advantages. Instead, what became known as the American Revolution was an improvised struggle between two peoples of a common heritage, now sundered by divergent values and conflicting visions of a world to come. Unlike most European wars of the eighteenth century, this one would not be fought by professional armies on flat, open terrain with reasonable roads, in daylight and good weather. And thou ...more
Tony
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has read Rick Atkinson's The Liberation Trilogy will understand that when he begins another massive examination of another war, the reader must follow. And right away.

And so, although I had not scheduled the Revolutionary War on my reading journey this year, and although the Revolutionary War is not my war, I really had no choice but to read this immediately. I was not disappointed.

This is a military history, but the story would not be complete without Ben Franklin's seducing the
...more
Lorna
The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 is a meticulously and deeply researched history of the American Revolution by renowned historian Rick Atkinson. This first volume of the anticipated Revolution Trilogy was riveting as you watch the struggling Continental Army up against the mighty and formidable forces of the British Army and Royal Navy dispatched by King George III. This is the story of the newly formed colonies in America and their struggle, not only for freedom, b ...more
Dan
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-new-books
The British Are Coming by Rick Atkinson

Three thousand patients jammed the hospital at Fort George, thirty miles south of Ticonderoga, where hemlock boughs served for bedding. “In the name of God,” one physician pleaded, “what shall we do with them all?” Too often the answer was: bury them. A surgeon estimated that three hundred men had died there in just over a month. When inventories were taken of drug supplies in September, five artillery companies reported, “Medicines — none.”

In this/>Three
...more
Steve Smits
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable history of the first two years of the American Revolution. The research is deep and the topics covered are broad. Atkinson has chosen to write not only on the military campaigns but also the political currents at play in America, England and France,and on the personalities that shaped the decisions on both sides. The narrative is told in chronological order making it easy to follow the events as they unfolded and making the connections between various dimensions clear to see ...more
Sean Smart
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A masterful detailed account and the first volume in Atkinson’s planned series of Histories of the American Revolution/American War of Independence.

My only small issue was a perceived bias of the American author for the American rebels.
It seemed at times that the British were all fools and or rogues and all the Americans were fighting the British despite some references to Loyalists, when most figures show one third of Americans were rebels, one third were Loyalists and one thi
...more
Lucas
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book does an excellent job of covering the first few years of the Revolutionary War from all angles; British and American, General and foot soldier, military battles and political battles. I think the length is about right for such a formidable task. Key battles and characters are covered in detail without lingering too long on any one subject.

With so many people featured, no one figure is covered at the length of an individual biography, but the essence of many individuals are captured. I
...more
Ash Jogalekar
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
When the British army of regulars captured American troops during the Battle of New York, they contemptuously noted how they were surprised to see so many ordinary people among them – tanners, brewers, farmers, metal workers, carpenters and the like. That observation in one sense summed up the difference between the British and American causes: a ragtag group of ordinary citizens with little battle experience pitted against a professional, experienced and disciplined army belonging to a nation t ...more
Ozymandias
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, american, english
This is a very good general overview of the American Revolution told from a military perspective. Or rather, it’s the first part of a trilogy on the Revolution and covers from the early days in Boston (1774/5) to the battles of Trenton and Princeton (1776/7). The highlight of the book is the author’s military understanding and ability to express it in words. There is little that is superfluous here, although the author does display a skill at integrating interesting tangents in ways that enhanci ...more
Chris Farrell
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For those who are fans of Rick Atkinson’s tremendous Liberation Trilogy covering the US involvement in WWII, this may be slightly disappointing. In my opinion it’s not quite as good - the prose style isn’t super-tight, and I’ve become a bit disenchanted with the “historical present” voice that modern historians use to make history feel more immediate (did he use it in the Liberation Trilogy? I don’t remember it being as prominent).

One of the things that was great about the Liberation
...more
Ken
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As histories go, a good one. Eminently readable, as they say, with chapters jumping from this front (say, Quebec) to that front (how's about Boston or New York?) to that front (Bad King George Trifecta in Not-So-Jolly-Olde).

Civil Wars are the nastiest, and the Brits considered this one of those oxymoronic messes. One of the earlier proofs that you can't win wars on another country's turf, especially if the "army" fights "unfair" (read: from behind rocks and trees instead of in the op
...more
Cynda
3 1/2 Stars

Military history is not much my thing, but this was a group read for GR Nonfiction Side Reads. Also I wanted to read as part of my stack of American Revolution/North American to US History study in honor of US Independence Day.

At first I was unsure about committing to this book due to the amount of details and number of pages. Now I am glad I have read the book. I knew enough to feel adequately conversant about some aspects of the American Revolution and fully
...more
Richard Subber
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Atkinson offers an appealing mix of academic rigor and entertaining prose. This is both a history and an expertly rendered story about the early stages of the American Revolutionary War.

If you think you know a lot about this critical time during our history, read The British Are Coming to broaden your knowledge and your understanding. If you’re working at being a student of the Revolution, dig in.

Read more of my book reviews and poems here:
Atkinson offers an appealing mix of academic rigor and entertaining prose. This is both a history and an expertly rendered story about the early stages of the American Revolutionary War.

If you think you know a lot about this critical time during our history, read The British Are Coming to broaden your knowledge and your understanding. If you’re working at being a student of the Revolution, dig in.

Read more of my book reviews and poems here:
www.richardsubber.com
...more
Melissa Dee
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rick Atkinson’s flair for the colorful detail of a country at war is demonstrated again in “The British are Coming”. I’ve long been a fan of Atkinson, and his “Liberation Trilogy”, and am delighted that he has brought his research and writing talents to the early battles of the Revolutionary War in Volume 1 of the Revolution Trilogy.

Atkinson brings the horror and glory of battle vividly to life with quotes from the actors themselves, from the lowliest to the the most exalted. His des
...more
Peter
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, military
In The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (2019) Rick Atkinson, one of today's most popular military historians, has time-travelled from his home base in WWII to the American Revolution . This history of the Revolutions first two years is lush, with deep detail and great background, and studded with excellent maps. Atkinson's contribution is particularly timely in these modern days of miseducation, when many citizens know nothing of WWII, much less the American Rev ...more
Stephen
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I consider his other trilogy amongst the best history I have read, I think the British are Coming falls slightly short of those lofty highs. In particular, I think Atkinson's strengths are in his tireless primary research which fuses the story at the top, from notable elites on both sides, with the story at the bottom, from ordinary participants. Here, because of the temporal remoteness of the subjects and the selection effect of what is notable historiography worth keeping over the centur ...more
Sam
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is the first of Rick Atkinson's intended trilogy on the American War of Independence or Revolutionary War. Atkinson's style here is quite similar to what he successfully used in his trilogy about U.S. involvement in the European theater during World War Two, where the prose engaged us, placing us seemingly, right in the action, and if you enjoyed the earlier trilogy, you should enjoy this. I think this is where Atkinson shines and I have chosen to review this for its entertainment valu ...more
Todd
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-u-s, history
What a chore it was to read this book. But, holy crap, the writing of history can be beautiful.
Casey Wheeler
This is the first in a three part series on the Revolutionary War. It is by far the most comprehensive book I have read about the time period (and I have read several) presenting the perspectives of both sides and a number of the individuals involved. This book is not one for someone who is a casual history reader nor without a keen interest in the subject due to the detail in the book. I personally found the book rewarding  and well worth the time spent reading it. I am looking forward to the n ...more
Sarah
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is the first of a trilogy of the American Revolution. I am reading it aloud with my sister, we haven't finished it yet (are halfway through), but I want to write a review now as I know the book is just being released and I want to recommend it. We are really enjoying it.

The book takes you chapter by chapter through the war, each usually focusing on a different place either in America or other countries (Canada and Britain). The book takes you, in a detailed way, through the war. Focus
...more
Matt
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The American Revolution was both political and martial in scope, yet while the high dramatic points are often touched upon it’s the details that are missed where real history can be seen affecting and creating those high points. The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton 1775-1777 by Rick Atkinson is the first book in a trilogy chronicling the military history of American Revolutionary War from major battles to minor skirmishes to unknown campaigns left out of other general histo ...more
Steve
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read the author Rick Atkinson's first trilogy series and thoroughly enjoyed them. His first set of books were the liberation trilogy set of the battles fought during World War II in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and Western Europe were awesome!!!! The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 is the first book of the Revolution Trilogy. To me this book was extraordinary and thoroughly researched and look forward to the other two future volumes of this tr ...more
Bruce Katz
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
Atkinson is, as always, the consummate historian of warfare. He has a gift for the telling detail and the expressive anecdote, for making the time and it’s people come to life. This is a Revolutionary War very different from the mythical version we encounter in our schools and in our national holidays. Atkinson brilliantly captures the flaws and strengths of figures great and small: George Washington’s slow learning curve; the terrible cost paid by ordinary men and women caught in a tumultuous a ...more
Alex Diaz-Granados
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a review of the audiobook edition of Rick Atkinson's The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-177, Volume One of the Revolution Trilogy. For a review of the print edition, please see: Book Review: 'The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777'




On July 4, 2019, the United States of America will celebrate its 243rd year, making the nation the oldest surviving federation in the world. As usual, m
...more
Beverly K
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally, I wasn't going to finish this. But then I realized it was bothering me. I needed to know what happened. I mean, yes, I know what happened. Obviously. But I wanted to know how it happened.

That is the mark of a good writer. This non-fiction book reads like fiction in some places, in that he's good at narrative. I have to admit that my interest waned a few times, but I pushed on because, despite no attachment to any of the "characters" in the war, the story itself is riveting.

There ar
...more
John McManus
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pulitzer Prize winning historian Rick Atkinson's new book, The British Are Coming, is the first volume in his Revolutionary Trilogy. This excellent, engaging, and cinematic book examines the war for America from Lexington to Princeton. I have been studying the American Revolutionary era for over thirty years, and this book contains some of the best storytelling I have ever read about the war. Atkinson brings to life the characters of this great struggle, with excellent use of primary source mate ...more
David C Ward
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
If everything is important, then nothing is. Writing history is as much about knowing what to leave out as to include in making a narrative or interpretation. In contrast, Atkinson piles on the minute, close grained details of military operations - much of this is a recitation of material and logistics - in a way that loses the forest for not just the trees but the pine needles. The result makes the Revolution dull while also missing all the things that made it important including why it was fou ...more
Jill
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The poem "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson paid tribute to the famous Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first official military engagements between Britain and the colonies in the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). Tensions had been building for many years between residents of the thirteen American colonies and the British authorities, particularly in Massachusetts. Emerson's poem describes " ...more
Myles
Rick Atkinson’s first of a projected 3-volume history of the American Revolution is notable if for nothing else than the stream of highly entertaining character assassinations, most particularly, those of the British political and military leadership.

He spends a lot of time filling in the nitty-gritty of warfare, how the common man experiences the effects of decisions from the top. Not unlike his earlier trilogy on WWII, the Liberation Trilogy.

Smallpox. Dysentery. Gangren
...more
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Rick Atkinson, editor, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and historian who worked for twenty-five years as a correspondent and editor for The Washington Post. He is the author of several books, including the acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about World War II: An Army at Dawn, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History, The Day of Battle, and The Guns at Last Light, as well as The British Are Coming: The War for America, ...more
“Thomas Paine had failed at everything he ever attempted in Britain: shopkeeping, teaching, tax collecting (twice), and marriage (also twice). For years he made whalebone corset stays in dreary provincial towns, then worked as an exciseman, chasing Dutch gin and tobacco smugglers along the English coast before being sacked for cause. Forced into bankruptcy—“Trade I do not understand,” he admitted—in desperation he sailed for Philadelphia and immediately found work editing the Pennsylvania Magazine, printing articles on Voltaire, beavers, suicide, and revolutionary politics. A gifted writer, infused with egalitarian and utopian ideals, he attacked slavery, dueling, animal cruelty, and the oppression of women. On January 10, 1776, a thousand copies of his new pamphlet on the American rebellion had been published anonymously under a simple title suggested by Dr. Benjamin Rush.” 1 likes
“By the early summer of 1776, the town had grown to twelve thousand residents—half white and free, half neither. Every farthing of Charleston’s affluence derived from slavery, as plain as the blue-stained palms of the indigo pickers sold on the Custom House auction block, or the ships packed with shackled Gambians and Angolans at Fitzsimmons’ Wharf, or the pillory near So Be It Lane for “negroes, mulattoes, and mestizos, who are apt to be riotous and disorderly,” according to a town ordinance.” 0 likes
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