I looked at maps in another book which I have - by. I did learn some new information about the Revolution, such as the role that the Spanish played, and the twice failed effort of the British to invade the south. However, I realllllly did not like this book. The first half of the book is in no chronological format and covers religious background, economics, agriculture, artisan demographics, race demographics, maritime influences, etc. Most interesting, I thought: 1 How close New England came to conquering Canada at the very outset of the war. One of the strengths of the book is showing how the leaders of the Continental Army, particularly George Washington and his top staff, learned hard lessons early, and applied them in later battles.
By focusing on this single year, as opposed to the entire war, McCullough is able to dissect more minutely the individual battles, turning points, specific leaders, and the result is one of the most humanistic depictions of George Washington I've ever read. Nevertheless, as I approached the end of the book I found myself anxiously awaiting that moment. A McCullough historical tome was a massive historical effort whose length often went unnoticed because the quality of writing made the pages turn with ease and rapidity. The level of detail here is extraordinary; each colony is disected and the population is described in terms of religion, ethnicity, economic status and other factors that often determined 1775 is not an easy book to read but the effort is worth it. McCullough makes it clear that the American cause was on the point of collapse when, in December 1776, Washington makes his famous crossing of the Delaware and wins a decisive victory at the Battle Trenton, a victory that clearly re-invigorated the American cause. With the descriptions of these men it is easy to understand why the British felt there was no way they could possibly loose against us. Many more colonists were loyal to the King than commonly thought, and many more rebels were amenable to a new arrangement of affiliation with England than one might suspect.
That did not make up for the fact that the author provides innumerable tedious details, repeats himself frequently, and, in the end, did not really prove his thesis that the key year for the American Revolution was 1775 and not 1776. The author, Kevin Phillips, makes a very convincing argument that the year 1775 was the pivotal year in the War for Independence. I frequently lost sight of the author's point because of depth of detail he used to support or illustrate it. Entire colonial legislatures disbanded and reconstituted themselves as conventions outside the legal reach of Royal governors. An English professor was making a point about how people today rely so much on their smartphones and the Internet that no one bothers to remember anything anymore because they assume they can just Google it. Since Phillips' definition of 1775 stretches back into 1774 and onward into 1776, it is hard to argue with his thesis, and who would want to, since it is just an excuse to talk about many aspects of the Revolution that you don't hear about in History classes, including the role of religion in determining revolutionary or loyalist fervor, the differences between each colony and also between areas within those colonies in terms of loyalty to the crown, militia participation, etc. The only way it achieves anything is when one side decides that enough of its people have died.
We always hear about the contributions of the French. McCullough was narrating the events of the year, with all the footnotes you'd need to learn more. I know that I will use this book for reference in years to come. If the English had concentrated their forces at New York they might have found a much friendlier populace and been able to cut off New England from the southern colonies by controlling the Hudson River. It is a sobering reminder that ultimately it is the troops that pay the price for warfare. Virginia governor John Murray Dunmore comes to mind. There are some little known heroes in this book.
The best thing about the book is that McCullough delivers the history as a story. Perhaps he was covering too much ground? He was courageous, persistent, resolute, indefatigable, although he was also sometimes depressed and indecisive. There seems to be no reason for this. Where the book fell apart was in his determination to make sure the reader agreed with his premise that 1775 was the most important year of the American Revolution. In addition to this, he has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice. The world-wide search for gunpowder and munitions, and the Royal Navy's failure to stem the flow of these essentials into the Colonies. It is a story like your Grandpa might have told, except it's real, and it is our history.
His ability to describe the events surrounding the war is impeccable taking the reader deeper into the war keeping it detailed and energetic, focusing on critical events crucial to the epic battles throughout the war. It sheds the light of reality on historical stories that have entered the realm of legend. I thought I had a good outline of the war. Through blood, sweat and tears. The author more than makes his point that the American Revolution really began in 1775, not 1776.
With all of this provided as a backdrop though, a true picture of George Washington - his character, his dominion, his authority - is brought into sharp focus through McCullough's description of the Army's treacherous but euphoric victory over the Hessians at Trenton. But he probably didn't expect his worst problems to come from his own army, which was an undisciplined and untrained group that would eventually tamper with his great patience. Sometimes provisions were inadequate; many got fed up, deserted, and went home or over to the enemy. Phillips corrects this reduct What does a revolution make? The English, by contrast, made a terrible miscalculation by concentrating on Boston in the pre-1776 years. Similarly he is forever mentioning which chapter things will be discussed in, often numerous times per page. Finally the author, David McCullough, of the book as many other works and experiences that tell the reader why and how 1776 is such a credible source The literary element such as features, trends, themes, and characteristics were a part of the book that help make the book a wonderful teaching.
All of that being said, this book is horrible written, and the basic premises are totally flawed. But when battle erupts, the action becomes mired in stock images. Telescoping in on actions like The In 1776 David McCullough captures the importance of that year's quintessential struggle for our country. But this book goes far, far deeper into the heart of what really happened. The actual signing of the is treated as a somewhat minor detail, as the main focus of the book is on military rather than political events.