“In the House of Lords in March of 1775, when challenged on the chances of Britain ever winning the war in America, Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, had look incredulous. ‘Suppose the colonies do abound in men, what does that signify?’ he asked. ‘They are raw, undisciplined, cowardly men.’ And Lord Sandwich was by no means alone in that opinion.”
From the opening pages of the book, 1776 had me hooked. I appreciated so much that McCullough chose to start the first chapter in London, with the sentiment of the King and Britain’s Parliament. As early as grade school, we are taught what led the colonies to revolt against the Crown, but rarely did we see a point of view from across the Atlantic. This was important, and set the stage for all the actions that followed.
McCullough’s writing is crisp and exciting. His research is wonderfully thorough. Most readers find that there is much in this book that is new information to them. Not some dry history book, 1776 tells a thrilling and suspenseful tale of the birth of an ideal, of a nation and the extreme bravery of the men that put their lives on the line to get us there.
What impressed me the most, however, was the understanding that the Rebels really were the underdogs. The Americans had virtually no chance of succeeding. They were ill-equipped, under-manned and inexperienced. At the first battle, the raw recruits deserted. To see them turn it around was nothing short of miraculous. It makes one realize that God must have been on our side.
My only disappointment of the book was that it ended too soon. I realize the subject matter was only the year 1776 and the final pages did a quick synopsis of the rest of the war. I wished the author would have taken the time to complete his writings about the American Revolution either in this book or in a subsequent work. It’s that good, and it’s that important.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2005
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