1776 by David McCullough
Genres: Non-fiction, History
Maturity Level: 2
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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 more than words on paper.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 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 known.
Well, I did it! I finished my first historical non-fiction book, and what a great way to start!
1776 was jam-packed with facts and stories, but still somehow read almost like a novel. Lacking dialogue, McCullough masterfully wove in letters almost as if the characters were speaking to one another. I felt as I was reading as though I was really getting to know characters like George Washington, Henry Knox, Charles Lee, and even a lowly private Martin. It was a fascinating book, leaving me wondering why McCullough didn’t write about the rest of the war. I’ve always loved military history, though I’ve never understood why, and finally getting a good look into the Revolutionary War was awesome. I really enjoyed this book, and it leaves me thinking I definitely want to read more of this genre that I’ve always been a little afraid of.