Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats, who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost: Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.
The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.
Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.
©2005 David McCullough; (P)2005 Simon and Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon and Schuster Audio Division, Simon and Schuster Inc.
"A first-rate historical account." (Booklist)
"A narrative tour de force, exhibiting all the hallmarks the author is known for: fascinating subject matter, expert research, and detailed, graceful prose....Simply put, this is history writing at its best from one of its top practitioners." (Publishers Weekly)
"A stirring and timely work, reminding us that it's soldiers rather than 'tavern patriots and windy politicians' who have always paid the price of American idealism and determined its successes. (The New York Times)
Addicted to Audible since 2009
I have heard nothing but great things about this book and being a big history buff I was very excited to give it a listen. But overall, this book just didn't live up to the hype and I thought it was a little boring, especially the first part. Maybe it's me and maybe I just need to give it another listen to see if I may have missed something here.?.
The events of 1775 - 1776 unfold in a narrative that keeps you riveted. It's incredible to realize that the fate of the nation rested on so few shoulders and that the hold on liberty was so tenuous through those trying times.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
One of the first Audio books I listened to, ever, was David McCullough's 2001 biography "John Adams." My small town's very small library had books on CDs, and that was one of them. There were 15? 16? discs in a black plastic container, warped from sitting on the front seat of people's cars. Prying discs out of the container could be distracting and difficult, and hit the wrong button on the dash? You'd spend the next 5 miles fast forwarding and reviewing, trying to find your place. I was hooked anyway.
McCullough's "1776" (2005) is a wonderful study of the nascent United States of America and the evolution of the revolutionary war. As a child growing up in the Midwest, I learned that overthrow of British rule was predestined. "1776" makes it clear that the winner was far from foreordained. The war was fought on the backs of poorly equipped citizen soldiers who enlisted for a year, and then walked off, en masse, when their terms were done. Stop-loss? That came at the end of the 20th Century. General George Washington was constantly writing letters, pleading for funding from congress for his troops. Some things are the same more than two centuries later.
I've read or listened to dozens of books about the founding of America and the struggle for independence, but I missed the fact that George Washington as a perfect, sharply competent and unquestioned military leader was a myth. He spent a good part of 1776 in an indecisive fog, squandering opportunities that were obvious at the time, and not just in hindsight. Washington made basic tactical errors that lost battles, such as dividing corps that should have remained together. His errors were the errors that an educated, professionally trained military officer would not have made, and Washington recognized that. Even in the middle of making grave mistakes, he suggested founding what became the United States Military Academy at West Point. Washington also established something we take for granted now: enlistment bonuses and veteran's benefits. Washington as a demigod is easy to admire but impossible to relate to. McCullough makes Washington relatable, and aspirational.
Something else I didn't realize: Just how many people were loyalists and supported British rule. As far as they were concerned, the founding fathers were armed insurgents. People who had lived in the American colonies for generations emigrated to England rather than renounce allegiance to King George III. Even Congress was divided on the issue - not every elected official signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, who was a Patriot and who was a Traitor was really a matter of perspective. Patrick Henry was a hero to Americans, but anathema to the British.
McCullough's writing is evocative and provocative. It made a good listen, although it would have been helpful if he had reintroduced some of the more minor figures that made appearances hours apart. I liked the narration - the pacing was good, and the sound crisp.
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
I am definitely a "sneezer" when it comes to 1776. I can not quit talking about this book and about what this history means to me. If you wnat a lesson on perseverance, this is the right book!David McCullough brings the Revolutionary War right in your living room. The way McCullough writes, you feel as though you have been placed right in the middle of everything that was going on in 1776. GET THIS BOOK!!!!!!
I don't have a good natural head for history--I tend to get easily bogged down in details and lose track of who's who, where, what, and other essentials. McCullough may be my favorite historian because he essentially solves these issues for me, and seems to view the story and essential lessons it provides as the primary purpose in sharing a history.
For historical purists, no fear: McCollough has all the scholarship and hard data your heart may desire; his talent seems to be that he includes all that without making it the main focus. After reading/listening to this book, I'm eager to listen to it again and actually learn some of the harder data--which indicates, I think, that McCullough is also a master teacher. I keep wondering: Did I learn any of this in school? (I am forgetful, so I can't entirely blame my former teachers), but I do know that I have never appreciated the struggle and heroic significance of the Revolutionary War: like too many of my peers, I thought the Revolution was a rather distant part of American history that "just happened" and "oh, yeah, from which we all benefited." I will never view history in this lackadaisical manner again.
This book left me wishing for "1777". It is a great novel by a great writer that captivates the imagination of the history buff in me. Lots of behind the scenes detail that the average person does not consider when remembering the founding of the U.S.A.
There is a reasaon that the author is considered a living legend by many. If you are interested in Revolutionary war history this is a must. The authour's cadance and delivery match perfectly for the subject matter and make listening fly by. The only reason I gave this 4 stares as opposed to five is that I wanted more information about the individuals, battles, and circumstances that he describes. On all other accounts this is a masterpiece.
I read Washington's Crossing before reading 1776. 1776 reads like an Abridged version of Washington's Crossing. A solid read about a critical period of this country's history. For those looking for a general overview of the time period this book is perfect. For those looking for a detailed account of the period I would suggest Washington's Crossing as well. There were some interesting details that 1776 included that I didn't get in Washington's Crossing. Perhaps the most interesting was Washington's meeting with the British 2nd in command shortly before the start of the New York campaign. I surely wish I could have been present at that meeting. Hearing the account in the book, you feel like the air could have been cut with a knife.
After listening to John Adams and now Truman, this left me wanting a focal character and I couldn't embrace Washington as the main character, maybe that's what I was missing. Good tale and once again I came away enlightened with the history of this great country.
I absolutely could not stop listening to this book (wrapped it up in 5 days). I learned a ton about George Washington and, more importantly, the other players of 1776. Really good stuff.
"Absorbing and well narrated"
David Mccullough is a fine popular historian; his books are always enjoyable and informative. He has a knack of combining the big picture with the stories and experiences of those who were going though it at the time, and weaving it all into a tremendous narrative. The book focuses on the first year of the American revolution - not the whole history - and paints a vivid and absorbing picture of just how close things came to disaster for Washington and his rather raggle-taggle army,and how they dug themselves out of the mire - stirring stuff.
My only bugbear - and it's nothing to do with the book itself - is that it is frustrating sometimes listening to history books where the content is to do with military exploits, and that is one wishes for a map! I am not all that familiar with american geography so kept rushing to an atlas so that I could better keep track of what was going on. But dont let this put you off what is a fine and enjoyable book - very well narrated by the author himself.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content