1776 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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In this stirring audiobook, 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 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 British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats, who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost: Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.
The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.
Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 33 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 20, 2005|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,825 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Teen & Young Adult United States Colonial & Revolutionary Periods History
#2 in History & Culture for Teens
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Top reviews from the United States
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Let me be clear: 1776 is a good book, and McCullough’s skill as a writer is undeniable. Though he quotes primary sources liberally, occasionally to the point of absurdity (for example, a passage from pages 115-116 reads: “Henry Knox and his artillery were to move ‘as speedily as possible’ by ‘the directest road thither.’ Several times Washington referred to his own ‘extreme hurry.’” Just say they had to go fast, for crying out loud…), 1776 is nevertheless a page-turner. Regrettably, though, major battles and the broader military campaigns that led to them are all McCullough tackles in 1776. The Declaration of Independence and the politics of the early Revolution are glossed over quickly in favor of the war. No doubt that’s exactly what some readers desire, but be warned that despite its title, 1776 is not a comprehensive history of America’s first year.
I’m not someone who believes “academic” history is the only history worth reading, but McCullough’s talent is his ability to package history for the masses. I want detailed endnotes and attention to the broader historical significance of the events about which I’m reading; McCullough provides only what I would call a quality review of major events. Though I wouldn’t describe my reading 1776 as time wasted, I must limit my recommendation to readers who know very little about the American Revolutionary period. I can’t think of many better places for a beginner to start, as 1776 is engaging and easy-to-read. However, I would just as strongly steer readers familiar with the period away from 1776 toward something like Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer, an academic yet captivating book that covers the same period in American history.
I think that those Americans who read this book will, like me, feel more strongly patriotic and value more greatly the selflessness of those who fought for our country in its infancy. And I think that non-Americans who read it will better understand what it means to be an American, and hopefully see our country in a more favorable light. Yes, I realize that America has its problems, both currently and historically, and that we're certainly not beloved by everyone throughout the world, but it's nonetheless moving to at least try and perceive what we mean when we talk about the "American spirit": that feeling of unbounded liberty that allows us to truly pursue happiness. "1776" offers a path.
The book has a generous 32 pages of black-and-white as well as color illustrations. Mr. McCullough demonstrates how weather, lack of intelligence, chance, communication, supplies, recruitment efforts, and luck played important roles in the outcomes. I found it interesting and laughable how both sides kept declaring their victories or lucky breaks were God's will. George Washington is front and center in the book but the author also focuses on others who have been lost to history except to the most avid history buffs. On the American side, such important figures as Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and Joseph Reed are given credit for their efforts. On the British side, the central figure is General William Howe. '1776' avoids myth building by explaining in detail the condition of the troops, Loyalist who hoped Washington and his small ragtag army would be defeated, military successes and blunders, the states' reluctance to risk their troops on what many viewed as a lost cause, acts of courage as well as cowardice, and horrible acts done by both sides.
Great history makes an effort of giving an accurate representation of what was and not what people wish it to be. The United States is no different than any other country in trying to whitewash uncomfortable aspects of our past. Politicians and demagogues are especially zealous at spreading the patriotic manure of our country’s complete moral purity. Mr. McCullough is a necessary corrective to their jingoistic bilge. He is one of those historians who not only tells a compelling story but shows our past's successes, failures, and mixed results. '1776' only covers one year but what a year it was. The reader will conclude the book truly understanding how close we were to remaining under British rule.
Top reviews from other countries
McCullough emphasises the contribution on the battlefield, for without victory there, the declaration of independence would be just a mocked document down the path of history. Yet, the initial battles were not easy, and many of the men who fought for America were either too young or too old. America was also in dire shortage of guns and ammunition. Britain had a large professional army, complemented by the feared Hessian troops.
In the second half of the year 1776, George Washington, Nathanael Green, and Henry Knox became the unlikely heroes of all time. They had their share of defeat and humiliation - one of Washington's generals (Lee) was captured and taken prisoner by the British. Losses at the Battle of Brooklyn and the surrender of Fort Washington were low points told with a dash of the thrill of war and the shame of men new to warfare, but McCullough produced stunning accounts of the reversal of fortunes at Trenton and Princeton that makes this book so interesting. McCullough produced the shock of stunning reversals of fortune that readers may feel the battle heat as if she had been right there at the frontline.
As for the physical quality of the book: not great, my version in the end fell apart.
However, it really focuses on a number of key battles and spends a lot of time discussing the tactics. Firstly at the battle of Boston but secodnly spending a long time on battle of Long Island and ultimately the capture of Manhatten. The book certainly doesn't cover Washington in glory. Unfortunately the Decleration of Independence and its signees get almost no coverage.
This is primairly a book on military history, rather than a wider geolpoltilical or politial tale.
My recommendation would be not to buy this version but to look around for a Simon & Schuster version.
Content will no doubt be worthy of 5 stars, Presentation however only worth 1 star. Hence on balance 3 stars.