1776
was written by David McCullough and describes the revolutionary war,
important people during the time, and other battles and events from
1775 to 1776. In the book, one can learn much more about the
different setting, culture, and people of the late 1700s. 1776
also has a lot more information and details about the revolutionary
war than something you would find in a school textbook. It talks
about how both sides felt about the war, and includes quotes from
journals and other sources. The audience for 1776 would
probably be anyone who’s interested in American history, especially
if they want to know more about that time period and what led to
America’s independence.
The
book begins in England, October 1775. King George III declares that
the Americans are traitors, and that that they’re fighting for their
independence. At this point, many Americans were still loyalists, and
some members of parliament disagreed with King George. Here the
author quotes journals and letters written by the king. He does this
with many other people throughout the book, which helps the reader
understand their opinions and reactions to events. After this, the
book switches to the American side of the war. It describes General
George Washington, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and others. It also
describes early American troops, and how they were untrained and
disobedient. The soldiers had to bring their own guns and wear their
own clothes. Although there were more American troops, British
soldiers were more organized and had more military supplies. During
the winter, American soldiers caught diseases like smallpox, and
deserted their stations. To make matters worse, the British had
captured Bunker Hill and had control over Boston. However, American
morale was boosted when George Washington’s army captured Dorchester,
and relocated to New York. While in New York, the British attacked
and defeated the Americans due to their strong navy. Washington and
part of his army flee to New Jersey, while being chased by British
troops. The climax of the book happens on Christmas day, when general
Washington and his men cross the Delaware river and win the Battle of
Trenton. This victory greatly boosted American morale, and was
crucial to the Americans winning the Revolutionary War. The author
wants readers to know that even though 1776 is known as a turning
point for the war, it was filled with many different troubles and
hardships for those who fought in it.
The
book mainly focuses on George Washington, but McCullough also
describes the British side of the war. For example, British
commanders would often argue with one another and had trouble
strategizing against the Americans. The author also talked about what
role British generals like Charles Lee, William Howe, and Henry
Clinton played in the war. This is a major positive of the book,
since the Revolutionary War is generally told from the American’s
point of view. Also, the author uses a variety of sources (like
letters, journals, articles, newspapers, ect.) to back up his claims,
and help readers understand the people they’re reading about. Since
the book is packed with all kinds of details, readers don’t need much
prior knowledge about the Revolutionary War to understand it. The
setting is clearly explained, as well as important figures like
George Washington, Because of this, the author’s purpose for writing
1776 was for as many people as possible to understand the
history behind the Revolutionary War.
My
overall opinion of the book is that it does a great job historically
describing the events people, and places of the revolutionary war. It
goes in-depth in explaining how different everything was, and how
different people thought. I didn’t really expect to learn anything
new from the book. I thought I knew close to everything about the
Revolutionary War. For example, I had no idea American soldiers were
so disobedient at first. Aside from that, the author remains unbiased
throughout the entire book. He doesn’t really twist or exaggerate
anything. I would probably recommend this book to anyone who’s
interested in history and wants to know more about how we got our
independence.

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