Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence

by Joseph J. Ellis
4.4 34


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Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis

A Washington Post Notable Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding. While the thirteen colonies came together and agreed to secede from the British Empire, the British were dispatching the largest armada ever to cross the Atlantic to crush the rebellion in the cradle. The Continental Congress and the Continental Army were forced to make decisions on the run, improvising as history congealed around them.

In a brilliant and seamless narrative, Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307701220
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 510,610
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Joseph Ellis is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History Emeritus at Mount Holyoke College. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife and their youngest son.

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Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Once I started it, I just couldn't put it down. Joseph Ellis knows his way around history. He makes it fun to read. Five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Ellis is an extremely talented writer. Here he gives great insight into the people and actions of the Summer of 1776. The book is a masterpiece. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Joseph Ellis book and I loved it. His knowledge of history and ability to convey it in an entertaining and educational fashion is incredible. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Ellis is a master storyteller. His portrait of the American Revolution of 1776 is incredible. I really enjoyed how he detailed some of the not-so-famous people who were a part of the Summer of 1776.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ellis is a master story-teller, and this may well be his best book yet. He writes with grace and wit to tell the story of summer of 1776, shedding new light on both the well known events and the lesser know. So powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's amazing to think that a story that we imagine that we know so well can be told in a way that has us hanging on in suspense! His best written book so far!
Saint-GermainBS More than 1 year ago
Follows the escalation from "insurgency" to the outbreak of the War for Independence in an easy-to-follow narrative format without overwhelming the reader with dry statistics. I recommend this to beginners in US history, and to those who may wish a quick "refresher."
tim-1969 More than 1 year ago
Thank goodness for George Washington & the fledgling Continental Army that the Howe brother's were more interested in negoitiating than fighting the war. The English were not able to think "outside the box" and destroy the continental army after Long Island. The English should have been more interested in destroying Washington's Amy than to control territory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and as a new American citizen I learnt some history that I didn't already know. Highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read the intro, I was hooked and ordered the book. The author is a good story teller, and I have always liked personal history (when you get to learn about the personal lives, struggles, and hopes of the people). So I read the book with relish at first, but when the author stated something I had not heard before, I checked his citations. Many of them reference books the author has previously written, and some reference books written in the last 15 years. Some of these revelations really needed primary sources. There are some primary sources cited, but some of the abbreviations in them are undecipherable to me. So, I'm reading it more like historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good structural analysis of the summer of 76, especially as to the Battke of New York. Thankfully, the sometines painfulky overly-academic writing style so common in many of Ellis' other works is largely absent here , though he does throw in the occasional "ethos" for good measure. An engaging short work on the subject but more knowledgeable readers should instead try McCullough's 1776.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt like I was there
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very readable history of the early months of the Revolutionary War. You will be amazed!
jmmbd More than 1 year ago
I have read other books written by Joseph Ellis and seen him on documentaries about the Revolutionary War. He is one of the premier experts on this era of our history. This book captured my interest and held it throughout the book. He provides insight into the personalities of the founding fathers. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ellis is a wonderful storyteller of this crucial period in our history. I am a huge fan of the stories behind the American Revolution and Ellis' rendition did not disappoint me. We came so close in not becoming a country. Washington and Adams are brilliant men who fought against incredible odds to separate us from the most powerful country at that time to become our own country with our own beliefs. All information contained in this book is as close as we get to the detailed action of that summer. I highly recommend this book!
OldWahoo More than 1 year ago
Well written narrative of the simultaneous political and military events of the summer of 1776.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite an interesting look at leaders of the leaders of both armies. I hadn't thought of any of them quite in that light.
CarolJIN More than 1 year ago
Mr. Ellis has given us another superb read. Revolutionary Summer gives us the inside look as to the battles of summer of 1776. Don't miss this excellent book on our American Revolution.
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
Most people when asked to recall the Spirit of '76 that led to American independence will most likely focus on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Granted, that was the event that started the horses carrying the cause out of the barn, but this event did not take place in a vacuum. The duty behind Joseph Ellis' book is to pull back to a 30,000 foot view of the events in the summer of 1776. In one sense, the American Revolution began a full year earlier with the April 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord, where colonists and British traded lead in anger in a war that would last over 8 years. American luminaries such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Hancock were taking their places on the world stage, along with lesser lights like Thomas Paine. In fact, it is the contribution of the heretofore unknown Paine - Common Sense - that lights the fire under the revolutionary faction of both the Continental Congress and the American public. Ellis dedicates his work to showing in excellent detail the goings-on from the American point of view. He picks up this historical jewel and examines it from all sides, checking and finding stress, controversy and contentious debate. This was an exercise that needed to be done - one does not break away from the greatest power in the world on a whim. Unbeknownst to the Continental Congress, the Howe brothers (Admiral Richard and General Sir William) were getting ready to meet up in New York City bearing an iron fist inside of a silk glove. William was forced to leave Boston after the Battle of Bunker Hill and would lead the ground assault on America's prized port if the colonists refused to come to their senses. Seeing that the Howes were both "Peace Commissioners" and the leaders of battle should it be given rightly gave the colonial representatives pause. Of course, given British arrogance in refusing to treat the colonials with respect (which continues right up to Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown) leads to the war that we come to read about. In the midst of trying to make names for themselves by even after declarations of war to bring the colonies home, the Howes refuse to engage the Colonial Army in a manner that would end the war in a decisive victory. The brothers mistakenly believe that all that is required is to bloody the nose of Washington and his troops, and they will see the light. It is a mistake that proves costly as the Colonial Army soon begins to believe they can win and Congress believes they can do it. Ellis crafts a good narrative of the events, spinning them as a good story with backstories. He also takes the effort to show the failings of Washington the general, yet placing it within the context of the code of honor among gentlemen of the 18th century. An army wouldn't fight like that today, but absent that, there were strategic blunders that almost got the Revolution strangled in the cradle. BOTTOM LINE: An excellent book for the turbulent events of 1776.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written and shows a different side to both the American & British struggle.
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