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Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
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Individual perspectives from leaders, generals and soldiers illuminate the American colonies’ first war.

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  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples
  • Eloquent


The late historian David McCullough, twice a Pulitzer Prize winner, presents a deeply researched and brilliantly written narrative that holds the reader from start to finish. In one of his shortest books, McCullough focuses on the pivotal year of 1776, during which the new United States emerged and somehow survived. The heroes of his story are not in Philadelphia at the Continental Congress. They’re bleeding on miserable, frozen and disease-ridden battlefields in Boston, New York and New Jersey. Writing from the perspectives of George Washington and his troops, McCullough illuminates the sacrifices, heroism and fortitude they mustered to start an independent nation.  


In 1775, Britain’s empire included most of North America, India, and domains over the oceans.

At the outset of the hostilities that sparked the American Revolution, England’s King George III, 37, had ruled for 15 years. A lover of music, art and architecture, the king was in full power. He would not go mad for decades. 

On October 26, 1775, in an address to Parliament, George III vowed to crush the American rebellion. British warships and troop carriers sailed for Boston.

The American colonies’ fighters were “raw and undisciplined” rabble.

Of the 20,000 New Englanders gathered in Boston in 1775, only 14,000 were fit to fight. The British had 7,000 well-trained troops, plus support from warships, and they were awaiting reinforcements. General George Washington, commander of the American troops, had neither a professional cartographer to map the battle terrain nor an engineer to build siege defenses.

Washington also was critically short of gunpowder. Liquor was plentiful, as were open latrines and disease. The disciplined British troops kept themselves clean, largely avoiding sickness. Washington...

About the Author

The late David McCullough won Pulitzer Prizes for two biographies, Truman and John Adams. His other acclaimed histories include: Brave Companions: Portraits in History, The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West; The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris; Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt, and more. McCullough also won a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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