Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It 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 King's men, 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.
At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books—Nathanael Greene, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty-three, and Henry Knox, a twenty-five-year-old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter.
But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost—Washington, who had never before led an army in battle. 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.
In Part I you'll meet a man who --
1. lost his father at age 11 and nearly joined the British navy at 15.
2. was ambushed in the French and Indian War , receiving bullets through his coat and hat but escaping without injury.
3. held together a destitute army through the long and terrible winter at Valley Forge.
4. resisted plans to make him king and an army plot to take over the government.
5. made the Constitutional Convention credible by his presence and helped win ratification of the Constitution by his support.
6. sacrificed his desire for a quiet retirement to serve as the first President, and, while serving, set a valuable precedent of constitutional governance .
Part II of the book brings together the most important and insightful passages from Washington's writings , conveniently arranged in alphabetical order by subject matter.
With wit and skill, Brookhiser expertly anatomizes true leadership with lessons from Washington’s three spectacularly successful careers as an executive: general, president, and tycoon. In every area of endeavor, Washington maximized his strengths and overcame his flaws. Brookhiser shows how one man’s struggles and successes two centuries ago can serve as a model—and an inspiration—for leaders today.