Bailey Grant's Reviews > 1776

1776 by David McCullough
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I would give the characters a four star rating only because of the dedication these men put in to allow this country to be free. David McCollough does a splendid job at describing the characters and giving background on their life before this important time in our country. It would be wrong if I said I didn't like the characters since they were our Founding Fathers, but no matter I did enjoy the characters and reading all they went through. Whenever I seem to read a book about war it is hard to get a clear idea that people freezing almost to death and people being away from the families is true. The way McCullough describes the characters give that clear idea of what the characters went through and how they endured the tough trial they encountered. I the bitter cold of January, for example, the beginning of the year that would change America, 1776, "Washington [would] go to the bay and jump up and down onthe ice to test it's strength." (86) Thecharacters in the book were all mostly brave and unselfish, such as Washington.

Being somewhat of an addict when it comes to American history, I would rate the setting as a five. The setting in this book is the focus of the story. It is the reason this book exists because the year of 1776 was all about making the new land of America free. One thing I didn't like, however,was how the author seemed to drag on and on about he story. I'll even admit that there were times where I would skim the pages just to get to an interesting part, but it wouldn't take long. Obviously this story could not have taken place in another place or time since the main focus is what happened in 1776, which is the fact the country became free and separate from the British. "The year 1776," McCullough states. "[is] celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence..." (294)

For the plot I would give it a rating of 3 only because of how slow it was. This book could not have been written if it wasn't told in chronological order, there is just no way. Going through high school and learning about this time period from my grandpa I already knew the outcome of the ending and wasn't surprised. From beginning to end the book covers every single event that happened during 1776 in America. "1776 had been as dark a time as those devoted to American cause had ever known- indeed, as dark a time as any in the history of the country." (291)

I would definitely give the theme of this book a 5. When I was expecting the theme to be what grandpa had told me that Washington knew that God had a hand in this war, but turns out that the theme is more towards knowing that trials big and small will come to a nation or a human, but if the group or the one just pushes through they will receive a greater miracle. McCullough through the whole book tells of the hardships the soldiers had, but then in the end of certain trials he would add the small miracle they received. In the very end McCullough closes saying, " often circumstance, storms, contrary winds, the oddities or strengths of individual character had made the difference- the outcome seemed little short of a miracle." (294) And I can't help but agree with his statement.

Personal Response:
When I first began the book I was excited to read it. As said before I love learning American history and hearing all the little stories of battles or meetings people had that had an impact on the country. Getting into the book, however, I slowly started to dread having to read it. The book was slow and repetitive to me. There wasn't much happening and was not what I expected. I would recommend this book to a friend if he or she enjoys history more than myself because they would probably enjoy it better.

Overall Score:

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Reading Progress

August 19, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 19, 2013 – Shelved
August 21, 2013 –
page 34
Started Reading
September 24, 2013 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant General George Washington is ambitious and a humble leader that most looked up to. "The feeling was that if...George Washington, who had so much, was willing to risk his all...then who were [the soldiers] to equivocate." (48) Several men looked up to Washington and were willing to do anything for him. He was kind and always made sure that his soldiers were healthy and safe.

message 2: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant David McCullough's 1776, the whole conflict is based on the Revolutionary War in America. In the beginning, however, McCullough's gives in detail on the camps and how "The smell of many camps were vile in the extreme" (31) and how unsanitary they were. Several soldiers were ill with different type of illnesses and were dying one by one.

message 3: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant In "1776", I finally began the rising action. The year 1776 has just begun and the soldiers have suffered "sleepless nights in [a] big house by Charles." (79) from what I read last night, George Washington had written "one of [his] most forlorn, despairing letters of his life." (78) He tells Joseph Reed, a military officer, about how his men and himself are suffering with the lack of gun powder, money, and overall men. Once the dreadful winter had started, one by one men gave up and left taking with them some of the supplies. So far this does not look like a good start for Washington.

message 4: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant George Washington made the choice of becoming the general for the America army. So far, he himself feels that he did not make the right choice and regrets it. There has been too many trials and problems going on.

message 5: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant So far in the book I have been enjoying the fact of knowing that the whole book is true. I love reading about how determined and willing a few of these men were to fight for their country. David McCullough does an outstanding job of describing the scenes that took place in 1776 and giving every possible fact he could. One thing I dislike, however, is that it's taking a long time to get into the exciting parts of 1776 which is the war and the secret meetings they have. I enjoy the books that have tons of detail, but get to the exciting part quick so that I'm interested and unable to put the book down.

message 6: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant In the novel 1776 the story is being told by the author himself, David McCullough. He gives facts of the time period, tells brief stories that happened thought that year, and with several of the people introduced he will tell about time in their life. The way that McCullough tells the intense story of the Revolutionary War is very in depth of everything going on in both sides of the world. Another way McCullough describes the story is that he gives several quotes from letters during this time such as when Washington said, "It is a noble cause we are engaged in, it is the cause of virtue and mankind..." (91)

message 7: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant David McCullough's tone in 1776 is very informative. He gives facts of historical events during this time period. McCullough uses imagery all throughout the book. When describing what Washington wears during the war he says, " Washington himself chose to wear a light blue ribbon across his chest, between coat and waistcoat. But then there was never any mistaking the impeccably uniformed, commanding figure of Washington, who looked always as if on parade." (33) He uses imagery to the effect that I am able to picture the scene or in this case Washington to the fullest.

message 8: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant One minor character that has stood out in 1776 is Nathanael Greene. He was the youngest general officer of this time and yet was ambitious and never gave up. Greene was hardworking and very intelligent. He was born in Rhode Island as a Quaker and third of eight sons. His favorite this to do was read and that's where most of his knowledge came from since his family couldn't afford much schooling .

message 9: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant The dialogue throughout the book is mostly just through letters back and forth through generals. They talk about how one another's army is doing and if supplies have come on or not. "We have suffered prodigiously for want of wood. Many regiments have been obliged to eat their provisions raw...we have burned up all the fences and cut down all the trees for a mile around the camp...We have never been so weak." (67) was sent to Congressman Samuel Ward from Nathanael Greene the general.

message 10: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant I think knowing the outcome of the war from learning about it throughout school. It's interesting to be learning specific facts on what happened before, after, and during this time. The novel is more plot-driven than character-driven. On the first page is begins with, "On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26, 1775..." (3) it then goes on from there in chronological order.

message 11: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant The most interesting part so far is the fire that erupted through a town of New York. It burned down most homes and buildings leaving families with nothing.

message 12: by Bailey (new) - added it

Bailey Grant George Washington is noble and ambitious. "He learned to write in a clear, strong hand and to express himself on paper with force and clarity." (44) Since Washington is good at writing, his letters have helped him and his army during the war.

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