Jacob Lines's Reviews > 1776

1776 by David McCullough
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bookshelves: american-history

David McCullough is a marvelous writer – his writing is as good as his voice, which is pretty great too. This is an unusual book in that it focuses on just one year in the fight for American independence. The struggle started long before, and it continued for several years after, but focusing on this one year teaches us a lot. The book is mostly about the army, so its main character is Washington, the indispensable American. There was so much going on here. Lots of suffering, lots of bad weather, very little money, miserable defeats, and some symbolic victories. Reading this gave me a greater appreciation for how long of a struggle it was and how much perseverance it took to win the war. Thomas Paine was right when he wrote about the winter soldiers – these people sacrificed so much, at times with very little encouragement or reason to think they would succeed. The book does a good job not only of telling what happened that year in good detail, but in bringing the main movers to life in 3-dimensional detail. Men like General Howe, Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, Lord Stirling, Israel Putnam, and Charles Lee all emerge as very interesting and complex human beings in this book. Washington, of course, emerges as the colossus that he was – very human (and sometimes a lousy general), but an unshakeable bulwark of goodness and greatness that held the revolution together. The man was amazing and truly indispensable. This is an excellent book, especially for people not very familiar with the actual conduct of the war.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 6, 2014 – Shelved
January 16, 2015 – Shelved as: american-history

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