Melissa's Reviews > 1776

1776 by David McCullough
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2016, audiobooks, non-fiction, history

1776 by David McCullough recounts the first year of the American Revolution, from the appointment of General George Washington in late 1775, to the horrendous American loss in the Battle of Long Island in the summer of 1776, and to surprising and much-needed Christmas victory at Trenton.

What I particularly enjoyed about McCullough's narrative of these events is his ability to weave personal details into the overarching historical recollection. In order to illustrate many of the points in the book, for example the features and character of different generals, McCullough quotes from personal letters and diaries. These first-hand accounts are always interesting and oftentimes pretty funny too!

I also really loved McCullough's descriptions early in the book of King George III. He's been vilified (and perhaps rightly so) in American lore and is often referred to as a madman. While he did experience a bit of madness in his old age due to disease, King George III was a young man during the American Revolution and much-beloved in England. His stubbornness and refusal to listen to his advisors regarding the war in the colonies led to years of bloody warfare and ultimately a humiliating loss for the British. One wonders how things might have been different had the king actually listened to those around him, rather than taking the rebellion as a personal affront on his dignity.

Another interesting tidbit from this novel - the American Revolution remains the second bloodiest war in terms of American lives lost, second only to the Civil War. Because the population in the American colonies at that time was so much lower than in later years, the loss of life actually amounted to 1% of the entire population. I don't think we learn enough about this enormous sacrifice made by the first Americans to secure their freedom (and ours!) - six years of war, hardship, and great loss of life to pursue the dream of a new nation founded on democratic ideals.
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Reading Progress

April 13, 2016 – Started Reading
April 13, 2016 – Shelved
April 13, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016
April 13, 2016 – Shelved as: audiobooks
April 13, 2016 – Shelved as: non-fiction
April 13, 2016 – Shelved as: history
April 20, 2016 – Finished Reading

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