A distinctive portrait of the crescendo moment in American history from the Pulitzer-winning American historian, Joseph Ellis.
The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding. While the thirteen colonies came together and agreed to secede from the British Empire, the British were dispatching the largest armada ever to cross the Atlantic to crush the rebellion in the cradle. The Continental Congress and the Continental Army were forced to make decisions on the run, improvising as history congealed around them. In a brilliant and seamless narrative, Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other.
Revolutionary Summer tells an old story in a new way, with a freshness at once colorful and compelling.
©2013 Joseph J. Ellis (P)2013 Random House
I wish it went deeper into the main players like the Howes, Washington, Congress, Knox, Lee, Greene, etc. The book just scratches the surface of the story. It could have been longer and since it wasn't it feels rushed.
I enjoyed hearing about the first months of American Independence and the reasoning behind why things happened as they did. I wished there was more backstory to some of the main individuals. I feel like that would have provided more insight into why they did what they did.
The narrator was monotone and really didn't bring any life to the story. Since the story dragged on a bit at times the monotonous performance made it feel much worse.
The story felt as though it was going over the same thing time and time again. I felt like I heard about the enlistment periods of the troops about 10 times in the book. If anything I would have added more to the story and asked for more depth than what the book delivers. I enjoyed books by Chernow (Washington: A Life, Hamilton), McCullough (1776, John Adams, and others) and even other Ellis books (Founding Brothers, The Quartet) because they seemed to delve deep into the story of the people they investigated. This felt like it was taken out of context and it was hard to get a feel for the why behind things. If I hadn't already read some of these other titles I may have been left looking for more answers.
I thought the first half of the book was good. I am more into the political side than the military of the American Revolution. As such, I personally felt that the last third got bogged down in military detail. I did like how the book, especially in the first half, married the political and military into a coherent , unified story. If you enjoy American history, you will like enjoy this book.
I've read a dozen books on the subject. This has interesting perspectives on these events. Gets into GW and the Howes' minds
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