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Don't Be Afraid of the Dork

Covered in dog hair, Obsessed with books, Wondering what it's all about. I suspect the answer is ice cream and the ocean.

1776 - David McCullough I very much like David McCullough's historical biopics and narratives however this wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

I went in cold not knowing anything but the books title and I expected it to deal with the political situation surrounding 1776's most momentous occurrence: the Declaration of Independence. Instead, the Declaration was a minor part in a book that focused on the military campaign of the not yet named continental army led by George Washington.

At its best this was a personal story of the Army's leadership and the men of the ranks. Using letters and other accounts at the time McCullough gives us a glimpse into the often desperate and destitute ranks of this temporary Army as they struggle to hold their own against a stronger and more organized foe. The book effectively impressed upon me just how wretched the conditions and desperate the situation and also made real the magnitude of the risk all the rebels took. It was also interesting to see a realistic portrait of George Washington, the general.

Another big chunk of the book focused on each of the confrontations between the two Armies, going into extensive detail on the movements of each Army from start to finish. This is the part of the book that lost me. I needed a map and figurines for this to work for me and even then its not something that interests me too much. If this is your cup of tea, I think McCullough does it well.

The other obstacle was my ignorance. I've not read much on the American Revolution and apparently remember pathetically little from what I learned in school. I know, we americans won and that's about it . Truly, I'm ashamed. This shortcoming led me to wish frequently while reading to know the larger context and happenings in 1776. Don't get me wrong, McCullough touches on these larger things and quite honestly if he'd tried to work it all in it would have become unwieldy. His focus is a strength but my weakness led me to not appreciate the book as it likely should be.

The audio is excellent and read by the author himself.