Saturday, November 05, 2005

Reading the American Revolution. My sister Julia gave me 1776 by David McCullough for my birthday this past summer. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it as a re-introduction to the America Revolution. The year in question was not only the year of the Declaration of Independence, it was the year of the siege of Boston by Washington's motley army. That army had bottled up the British, and the British army finally evacuated the city. Washington's army moved to the City of New York, from which it was routed when the British came back with their Hessian mercenaries, invaded Long Island and outflanked the Americans. It was the year when, on Christmas eve, the Americans got a little of theirs back from the hated and feared Hessians with a surprise attack in New Jersey.

I was thirsty for more of this history when I finished the book, and McCullough has a good, annotated biography. From that list I selected Middlekoff's The Glorious Cause, which is a one volume history of the entire revolution, and I finished it about a week ago. Middlekoff produced a fine over-view. His prose is serviceable and now and then soars. Middlekoff also includes an annotated bibliography, and he points to Page Smith's two volume A New Age Now Begins, and I have read the introduction and first chapter of that book. Smith has a wonderful style, one that exceeds even McCullough's.

Not only are these books a pleasure to read, they are especially helpful as one considers domestic and international politics and the Iraq war, which is no less a revolution itself.

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