The fact that this book was written by David McCullough is the only reason I could be induced into reading yet another book about the Revolutionary War. I would love to read a biography of George Washington, but I don't think I can face all that war information. I'm just not interested in the campaigns, strategies, and details of battle. Even so, I'm giving this book a pretty good rating because McCullough makes the battles almost interesting and the rest of the history of this pivotal year is fascinating. I love how he includes the thoughts of King George and the leaders of Great Britain as they discuss those pesky colonies. It really makes you think about what the other side felt about such disloyalty. The author also includes journal entries written by soldiers from all walks of life, misspellings and all. It's also the first time I really felt that Washington was not the infallible genius we are led to believe. How they won the war after the debacle on New York Island (Manhattan) is amazing. So he did make some huge mistakes but he learned and grew from them and became so much more. What McCullough really shows so well is how fantastic it was that the Continental Army was able to be victorious against the mightiest army and navy on the earth as he writes in the final paragraph:
"The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Decaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too, they would never forget. Especially for those who had been with Washington and who knew what a close call it was at the beginning -- how often circumstances, storms, contrary winds, the oddities or strengths of individual character had made the difference -- the outcome seemed little short of a miracle."
Of course, I have a firm belief that God played a huge part in the creation of this nation; but then why did he make it so hard and allow so much suffering? Probably so that when we look back over the years to those struggles and sacrifices, we won't take for granted what those patriots did that allows us the freedoms we enjoy so much and that established this country on such a good foundation. Rating: 4.25
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