1776 by David McCullough

David McCullough's 1776

Surprise attacks, unfortunate weather, defensive failures, offensive maneuvers, power and plenty, poverty and inadequacies--all are part of 1776. David McCullough takes us through the year that America declared its independence and the war began.

McCullough not only discusses the strategies that the different generals employed in the historic war between the Continental Army and the Redcoats, he also delves into the thoughts and characteristics of the generals and the soldiers alike. We are taught that although George Washington was on the brink of defeat, he never showed his soldiers that he was discouraged and he did everything he could to inspire them to do their duty to the cause of freedom.

Interestingly enough, and news to someone like me who is not a history buff, Washington and his army suffered some huge defeats in 1776. After a long winter in early 1776, the Continental Army was able to out-maneuver the British and force them to leave Boston. After winning in Boston, Washington took his army to New York, but without sea power the rebels really never had a chance against the Redcoats. A hole in the defenses left the Continental Army exposed and the British troops were able to surround Brooklyn. By luck, or Divine Providence, a heavy fog gave the army enough cover to escape, but in the Fall Washington and another general made a terrible blunder that led to the capture of some 2600 troops.

The Continental Army was forced to retreat to Pennsylvania, and with inadequate troops and supplies, it looked as though the rebellion would be squashed. Washington knew that they needed some lucky event that would change the tide of the war. Against all odds he was able to do just that on the day after Christmas. A night's march in the snow, a dangerous crossing of the Delaware, and a surprise attack on Trenton led to a victory that was able to bolster morale and give the Americans renouned courage.

David McCullough's 1776 should be read by every American. Its stories of war and suffering are not only inspirational, but they help one to realize just how much was sacrificed to give us liberty and freedom in the United States.

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