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1776 In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little than words on paperBased on extensive research in both American and British archives,is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality It 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 King s men, the British commander, William Howe, an his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little knownAt the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no of war than what they had read in books Nathaniel Green, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty three, and Henry Knox, a twenty five year old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of WinterBut it is the American commander in chief who stands foremost Washington, who had never before led an army in battle Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough sis another landmark in the literature of American history McCullough s 1776 is a book about discovery the force within oneself, one body of people, to be free without the anxiety of what it means to govern themselves independently Democracy was what they yearned for The majority of the American people wanted to unite and unite they did McCullough discusses the trials and tribulations of the first full year of the American Revolutionary War in the north to northeastern part of the colonies with clear and concise language He uses many quotes and p McCullough s 1776 is a book about discovery the force within oneself, one body of people, to be free without the anxiety of what it means to govern themselves independently Democracy was what they yearned for The majority of the American people wanted to unite and unite they did McCullough discusses the trials and tribulations of the first full year of the American Revolutionary War in the north to northeastern part of the colonies with clear and concise language He uses many quotes and phrases from a myriad of source material and in a way that puts the reader in the streets of Boston, on the battlefields of Trenton and Princeton and in the heart of the early Patriot that rag tag farmer, blacksmith, carpenter and other highly inexperienced soldiers that fought and died for the Glorious Cause As this book speaks about 1776 in general, it also discusses George Washington, the General of the Continental Army the name of the American army and later, founding father and first President of the United States McCullough isn t biased, by any means He shows Washington s ability to lead an army with his optimism towards the campaign and his uplifting oratory on topics of freedom, but also shows him to be indecisive in matters as with giving up Fort Washington and Fort Lee, along with not covering the Jamaica Pass in the Battle of Long Island which was a decisive victory for the British due to his inexperience at leading any army, much less a battalion At times, it feels like a biography of Washington and that year of his life rather than about the battles and the importance of what they signified, but it was still an interesting and engaging read I personally hadn t read up on the Revolution since my early years in school and it was nice to revisit things that I had forgotten and learned a few things as well There are several reasons why I think this book is important, and it has a lot to do with the state of our schools You ve probably heard that public education in America is becomingof a shambles each decade I work at a college and often feel like I m on the front lines of this battle While we have a number of good students, we also have a fair number 18 and 19 year olds who simply aren t prepared for higher education and who, if the economy weren t so degree oriented, probably wouldn t There are several reasons why I think this book is important, and it has a lot to do with the state of our schools You ve probably heard that public education in America is becomingof a shambles each decade I work at a college and often feel like I m on the front lines of this battle While we have a number of good students, we also have a fair number 18 and 19 year olds who simply aren t prepared for higher education and who, if the economy weren t so degree oriented, probably wouldn t choose to go to college at all A number of factors have been blamed for the decline of American schools, but one of the biggest culprits in my opinion is the overemphasis on standardized testing, especially as codified by the dreadful No Child Left Behind Act.Both students and teachers have complained that high schools place so much emphasis on memorizing facts for the annual tests that it leaves little room for critical thinking, or interesting stories of history and literature, or anything else that makes learning fun and inspiring I think this is a travesty, and it s not just the students who are being cheated it is all of society, because without an educated citizenry we are lost.We Are Lost.Every time I see the title of McCullough s book, 1776, it reminds me of this issue because of an incident in a colleague s classroom 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 any because they assume they can just Google it The professor pointed out that this lack of internal knowledge can hinder understanding and complex thinking As an example he asked his students when America was founded Dead silence There were about 30 students in the class, and none of them knew The professor said, Seriously You don t know when our country was founded After a fewmoments of silence a student meekly raised his hand and said, If we didn t have to memorize it for the test, we probably don t know it Big sigh.OK, boys and girls, America was founded on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress This event happened in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, which is the focus of McCullough s book I wanted to read 1776 for several reasons First, I had loved McCullough s biography on President Harry Truman and was eager to readof his books Second, it has been almost 20 years since I was in an American history class, and I wanted to revisit the details of how my country was founded The stories, myths and legends about each nation are passed through the generations and become part of someone s culture and identity I don t think these stories should be forgotten.The book focuses on battles with the British between 1775 and 1777 It opens with a quote from a letter written by General George Washington in January 1776 The reflection upon my situation and that of this army produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep Few people know the predicament we are in Reading this book reminded me of how fragile America s independence was Few of the rebels had military experience Weapons and gun powder were in short supply Because the colonial men had volunteered to fight, some resisted following military orders and didn t understand army discipline Plus, the Brits controlled the sea But for a few lucky turns of fate, the British might have won the war McCullough concluded the book with this summation Especially for those who had been with Washington and who knew what a close call it was at the beginning how often circumstance, storms, contrary winds, the oddities or strengths of individual character had made the difference the outcome seemed little short of a miracle My favorite stories in the book were of the fortification of Dorchester Heights during the Siege of Boston, the Battle of Long Island and how the colonialists managed to retreat the entire Army in one night, and Washington s crossing of the Delaware McCullough weaves a pleasant narrative and makes long ago events seem very real I liked his inclusion of quotes from letters, and the details of each military strategy, including how the weather was that day And his description of Washington made me want to read a good biography about him.I listened to this on audio CD, and McCullough is an excellent narrator I highly recommend it to fans of history Hooray for lifelong learning David McCullough image from Ohio Magazine This is an interesting book that describes in personal detail the battles of the early revolution We see George and company in Boston, New York City, Pennsylvania and New Jersey McCullough paints portraits of the military leaders of those campaigns, Howe primarily, and Clinton for the Brits, Greene, Knox, GW and a handful of others for the Yanks He shows us some of GW s correspondence and we learn of his disaffection for New Englanders The troops David McCullough image from Ohio Magazine This is an interesting book that describes in personal detail the battles of the early revolution We see George and company in Boston, New York City, Pennsylvania and New Jersey McCullough paints portraits of the military leaders of those campaigns, Howe primarily, and Clinton for the Brits, Greene, Knox, GW and a handful of others for the Yanks He shows us some of GW s correspondence and we learn of his disaffection for New Englanders The troops were a rag tag bunch and George was constantly strained to keep them from running away, serving out their enlistments and going home, dying of various diseases I did not have much of a sense of how much Tory sympathy there was until reading this If Edward R Murrow was still about I suppose it would have made a pretty fair episode of You are There It was an entertaining as well as informative read Pulitzer prizes are sexy This chronicles Washington s army from just after Bunker Hill to the dramatic crossing of the Delaware and his Christmas attack of the Hessians at Trenton Well researched and superbly written, very entertaining McCullough paints a vivid portrait of legendary time Pulitzer prizes are sexy This chronicles Washington s army from just after Bunker Hill to the dramatic crossing of the Delaware and his Christmas attack of the Hessians at Trenton Well researched and superbly written, very entertaining McCullough paints a vivid portrait of legendary time

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