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1776 (Paperback)
by David McCullough (Author) "On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26, 1775, His Royal Majesty George III, King of England, rode in royal splendor from St. James's Palace to..." (more)
Key Phrases: glorious cause, New York, Nathanael Greene, New Jersey (more...)
603 customer reviews (603 customer reviews)  

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Editorial Reviews
Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war. The redcoat retreat from Boston, for example, was particularly humiliating for the British, while the minor American victory at Trenton was magnified despite its limited strategic importance.

Some of the strongest passages in 1776 are the revealing and well-rounded portraits of the Georges on both sides of the Atlantic. King George III, so often portrayed as a bumbling, arrogant fool, is given a more thoughtful treatment by McCullough, who shows that the king considered the colonists to be petulant subjects without legitimate grievances--an attitude that led him to underestimate the will and capabilities of the Americans. At times he seems shocked that war was even necessary. The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. Perhaps more than any other man, he realized how fortunate they were to merely survive the year, and he willingly lays the responsibility for their good fortune in the hands of God rather than his own. Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian. --Shawn Carkonen

The Other 1776

With his riveting, enlightening accounts of subjects from Johnstown Flood to John Adams, David McCullough has become the historian that Americans look to most to tell us our own story. In his interview, McCullough explains why he turned in his new book from the political battles of the Revolution to the battles on the ground, and he marvels at some of his favorite young citizen soldiers who fought alongside the remarkable General Washington.

The Essential David McCullough

John Adams


Mornings on Horseback

The Path Between the Seas

The Great Bridge

The Johnstown Flood

More Reading on the Revolution

The Great Improvisation by Stacy Schiff

Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

Washington's General by Terry Golway

Iron Tears by Stanley Weintraub

Victory at Yorktown by Richard M. Ketchum
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
In the Pulitzer Prize–winning John Adams, McCullough provided an in-depth look at the life of America's second president; here, the author shifts his focus to the other major players of the American Revolution, providing a detailed account of the life and times of the generals and soldiers who fought for and won America's independence. In this top-notch audio production, McCullough proves that he is as equally adept at reading prose as he is at writing it. At no time does it feel like listening to a lecturing professor; instead, McCullough narrates in a sonorous, grandfatherly voice, keeping his speech vibrant and engaging, as if he were simply telling a story. Unabridged sections of prose are read by the author, while portions of the book not fully explored in this abridgment are summarized by auxiliary narrator Twomey, whose performance is serviceable and pleasant. Though the abridgement is effective, the subject matter will leave discerning listeners hungry for more. While casual fans will be satisfied, serious history aficionados will want to listen to McCullough's unabridged recording (12 hours, 10 CDs, $49.95 ISBN 0-7435-4423-4).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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David McCullough
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12:17 PM PDT, June 28, 2006, updated at 1:14 PM PDT, June 28, 2006
I hope you have a chance to read a recent piece I wrote related to 1776 entitled, "Faces," offered exclusively through I strongly believe all of us should know and remember how great were the hardships endured by the very real-life men and women of America's founding time and how much of our way of life and our freedoms we owe to their sacrifices and steadfastness.

David McCullough


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First Sentence:
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26, 1775, His Royal Majesty George III, King of England, rode in royal splendor from St. James's Palace to the Palace of Westminster, there to address the opening of Parliament on the increasingly distressing issue of war in America. Read the first page
Key Phrases - Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs): (learn more)
glorious cause
Key Phrases - Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): (learn more)
New York, Nathanael Greene, New Jersey, Long Island, General Howe, Bunker Hill, New England, Joseph Reed, Fort Washington, Henry Knox, East River, Lord Howe, William Howe, John Hancock, Staten Island, Rhode Island, General Lee, George Washington, Kips Bay, John Adams, Dorchester Heights, General Washington, Joseph Hodgkins, Ambrose Serle, Fort Lee
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Surprise Me!
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Customer Reviews
603 Reviews
5 star: 60%  (362)
4 star: 27%  (168)
3 star: 7%  (48)
2 star: 2%  (14)
1 star: 1%  (11)
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342 of 391 people found the following review helpful:
How We Won Our Freedom, May 24, 2005
By C. Hutton "book maven" (East Coast, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1776 (Hardcover)
David McCullough is known as a sterling storyteller of American history with two Pulitizer Prizes for Biography ("John Adams" 2001 and "Truman" 1992) and a National Book Award ("Mornings on Horseback" 1981). What many readers may not realize is that he is a researcher par excellence as evidence by the ten years he spent reading original documents, interviewing and travelling to relevant sites for "Truman." Now he utilizes some of his previous background research for "John Adams" to tell the tale of the crucial year of the American Revolution. "1776."

Most Americans are familiar with the Christmas Eve crossing of the Delaware River to win the Battle of Trenton and to close out 1776. Mr. McCullough describes the more unfamiliar stories of the American siege of Boston in driving out the British army and the British victory in driving the Revoluntionary army from New York City.

His real strength is as an editor, in choosing which historical stories to include and to exclude, for his 284 page narrative (with 100 additional pages of supporting documentation) could easily have been thrice its current length. In fact, David Hackett Fischer's "Washington Crossing" (2004) and William Dwyer's "The Day Is Ours" (1983) are both over 400+ pages in reciting only the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. The reader should be aware that "1776" is merely an introduction to that year, for the actions of the other Founding Fathers (and Mothers) are barely mentioned.

"1776" is fun to read as the 229th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches. Mr. McCullough makes clear how close the American Revolution came to failing that year. British overconfidence and Washington's determination (for his battlefield experince as a military commander was nil) were the difference. The reader is directed to "Patriots" (1988) by A.J. Langguth for the best overall view of the American Revolution (1761-1783).
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219 of 258 people found the following review helpful:
A timely and gripping narrative..., May 24, 2005
By Robert Busko (Laurinburg, NC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1776 (Hardcover)
There are certain periods of history that never seem to become tired or dull regardless of how often they are written about. It seems that each new investigator finds some thing new to write about. The American Revolution is a case in point. A quick check of books in print will convince you.

David McCullough's 1776 is a terrific investigation into the beginning of the American Revolution. Is it perfect? NO. It does have some missing pieces. But these minor defects are just that...minor. If you look at the complete work, I think you'll find that what 1776 lacks is made up for by McCulloughs ability to deliver the main facts on time and in a way the reader can grasp.

As in John Adams, McCullough again finds the ability to make the main characters jump off the page. Washington, a figure that history has rightfully made larger than life is once again a human man, tortured with doubts and always mindful that disaster is just around the corner. I especially like the treatment that McCullough give King George III.

As a reader, I always like reading a book that moves along. McCullough's narrative does that quite well. In fact, some of the flaws that other reviewers have rightfully pointed out seem to spring from this style of writing.

Well researched and paced for the non-historian, 1776 is a winner. When all is said and done, you'll find that 1776 is worth the time you'll spend reading it.
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful:
Timely narrative about America's struggle for independence, May 24, 2005
By Michael D. Trimble (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1776 (Hardcover)
What topic could be more current than independence or the passionate desire that all men have for freedom? David McCullough brings his considerable literary talent to the fore in describing the fascinatingly pivotal year of 1776. Just one year in an eight year long armed conflict with Great Britain, but a year packed with precedent and momentous events that united the thirteen disparate colonies in a common cause.

This book focuses almost entirely on the actual armed struggle rather than the politics of that struggle. Very little is mentioned about the Continental Congress or any of the debates that took place there. All those men and their giant personalities remain on the periphery and instead we learn a great deal more about General George Washington, General Nathanael Green, Colonel Henry Knox, and to a lesser extent the commander of British forces, General William Howe. McCullough's narrative shows us--time and time again--the very human qualities and frailties possessed by these men. In the best of circumstance, war is basically a sustained period of unspeakable suffering, but for these patriots it was a time exacerbated by extreme inexperience, unseasonably harsh weather, shortages of food, muskets, gunpowder, clothing, shoes, and even pay. Poor knowledge of proper field sanitation and personal hygiene created perfect conditions for the growth and spread of deadly diseases. Smallpox flourished and actually plagued Washington's army without ceasing. Fully aware of these handicaps, Washington and his men were tasked to defeat a professional military force that bettered them in ever respect. The British land and sea forces were in fact the most powerful and successful military in the world at that time.

In spite of these overwhelming adversities, the men in this ragtag army gave all that they had for the cause of liberty and in the process these soldiers went from ordinary to extraordinary. This is a uniquely informative and compelling novel from one of America's premier historians. It is in fact a timeless story that deserves constant retelling and David McCullough has done wonderfully with this rendition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

Excellent analysis
This is a terrific book that brings some of the most dramatic moments in the war of independence to life. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Interested reader

"If We can Keep It" - quote of the Forefathers
It's people like David McCullough that manage to bring American History alive once more.

I remember sitting in American History class, bored to tears by the dryness... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Strawgold

Success was not guaranteed
Looking back on the American revolution of 1776 we sometimes
make the mistake to think success was guaranteed. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Simon Laub

It Can't Be Said Enough, Excellent, Superb, One of the Best
There has probably been enough written about this book to fill more pages than the book itself. Of all the military books I have read, this book more than any other brought the... Read more
Published 24 days ago by M. D. Thomas

David McCullough's book "1776" chronicles the first major year of fighting in during America's war for independence. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven Hancock

Wonderfully engaging and informative
This was the first book I've read by David McCullough. After reading this book I can see why it was a bestseller and why McCullough won all those awards. Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Actor

McCullough Does it Again
This was a Great Book written by a Great Author. My only regret was that it didn't go on and on. Like a great movie, it leaves you wanting more. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris L. Moxley

The Beginnings of America
This book presents a detailed history of one of the most important times of our nation: the Revolutionary War. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Deep D.

Learned a great deal!
There is so much that I didn,t know about that time in history, I was shocked. Read more
Published 1 month ago by EROMRAB

An excellent, readable history
From the point of view of one who is not a professional historian and therefore not equipped to judge the scholarly merits of the book, Mr. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Frank Goldsmith

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