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1776


While away with my wife for a very relaxing retreat, I read 1776 by David McCullough. It is a very easy read, but I couldn’t tell if I was inspired by it or frustrated because of its incompletion. It is, after all, a history of one year. I found myself wishing that McCullough would write 1777 and so forth.

One of the most inspiring, thought-provoking, and delightful biographies of an early American that I have ever read was McCullough’s work on John Adams. 1776, however, lacked something. Yet, I can’t help but thinking it was great! I wonder if any of my friends in blogosphere have read it. What did you think?

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4 Responses

  1. I am in the middle of reading 1776 myself. It is a great book. From what I’ve found so far, the beginning goes a little slower, but it picks up speed as you go along. McCullough is a great writer. Another great book he has written is a biography of Theodore Roosevelt.

  2. I have read his works on Adams and Truman and just finished 1776 on the plane. I agree with your take–the book is basically a chronological arrangement of interesting anecdotes about the year. It is strictly limited to military movements, with little in the way of analysis, commentary, or broader historical context. I enjoyed the read, but found it lacking. Of course, it is begging for a sequel (1777). There are a host of books out lately on years: 1915, 1066, AD500…it is an interesting phenomenon.

  3. I’m apparently missing something here. You read the book–enjoyed it–and it left you wanting more. So what is the problem? It sounds to me like McCullough did a nice job of whetting your appetite for early American history!:-)) By the way, if you are looking for a more in-depth study of the Revolutionary War, you could always pick up Douglas Southall Freeman’s “George Washington.” [The abridged version is decent; the original 7-volume work is fantastic.] Of course, then you would need a very long “relaxing retreat” in which to read. :-))

  4. Bob,

    I agree completely. I read 1776 back in June, and as enjoyable as it was I felt frustrated with McCullough for not starting with 1775 and for not having 1777 ready by July! He certainly did make me want more. I just finished his book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, The Great Bridge. Although tedious at times it was a good read, and sheds light on the spirit of that age that preceded the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early 20th century.

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