1776was written by David McCullough and describes the revolutionary war,important people during the time, and other battles and events from1775 to 1776.
In the book, one can learn much more about thedifferent setting, culture, and people of the late 1700s. 1776also has a lot more information and details about the revolutionarywar than something you would find in a school textbook. It talksabout how both sides felt about the war, and includes quotes fromjournals and other sources. The audience for 1776 wouldprobably be anyone who’s interested in American history, especiallyif they want to know more about that time period and what led toAmerica’s independence. Thebook begins in England, October 1775. King George III declares thatthe Americans are traitors, and that that they’re fighting for theirindependence. At this point, many Americans were still loyalists, andsome members of parliament disagreed with King George.
Here theauthor quotes journals and letters written by the king. He does thiswith many other people throughout the book, which helps the readerunderstand their opinions and reactions to events. After this, thebook switches to the American side of the war. It describes GeneralGeorge Washington, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and others. It alsodescribes early American troops, and how they were untrained anddisobedient. The soldiers had to bring their own guns and wear theirown clothes. Although there were more American troops, Britishsoldiers were more organized and had more military supplies.
Duringthe winter, American soldiers caught diseases like smallpox, anddeserted their stations. To make matters worse, the British hadcaptured Bunker Hill and had control over Boston. However, Americanmorale was boosted when George Washington’s army captured Dorchester,and relocated to New York. While in New York, the British attackedand defeated the Americans due to their strong navy. Washington andpart of his army flee to New Jersey, while being chased by Britishtroops. The climax of the book happens on Christmas day, when generalWashington and his men cross the Delaware river and win the Battle ofTrenton.
This victory greatly boosted American morale, and wascrucial to the Americans winning the Revolutionary War. The authorwants readers to know that even though 1776 is known as a turningpoint for the war, it was filled with many different troubles andhardships for those who fought in it. Thebook mainly focuses on George Washington, but McCullough alsodescribes the British side of the war. For example, Britishcommanders would often argue with one another and had troublestrategizing against the Americans.
The author also talked about whatrole British generals like Charles Lee, William Howe, and HenryClinton played in the war. This is a major positive of the book,since the Revolutionary War is generally told from the American’spoint of view. Also, the author uses a variety of sources (likeletters, journals, articles, newspapers, ect.) to back up his claims,and help readers understand the people they’re reading about. Sincethe book is packed with all kinds of details, readers don’t need muchprior knowledge about the Revolutionary War to understand it. Thesetting is clearly explained, as well as important figures likeGeorge Washington, Because of this, the author’s purpose for writing1776 was for as many people as possible to understand thehistory behind the Revolutionary War.
Myoverall opinion of the book is that it does a great job historicallydescribing the events people, and places of the revolutionary war. Itgoes in-depth in explaining how different everything was, and howdifferent people thought. I didn’t really expect to learn anythingnew from the book. I thought I knew close to everything about theRevolutionary War. For example, I had no idea American soldiers wereso disobedient at first. Aside from that, the author remains unbiasedthroughout the entire book.
He doesn’t really twist or exaggerateanything. I would probably recommend this book to anyone who’sinterested in history and wants to know more about how we got ourindependence.