1776 (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
In a companion volume to his best-selling biography John Adams (2001), David McCullough closely examines a year of near-mythic status in the American collective memory: 1776. It was the year that the Continental Congress, meeting in steamy Philadelphia, decided, “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states.” It was also the year that the American Revolution began in earnest and was nearly lost. With his strong sense of narrative and his gift for capturing the humanity of his subjects, McCullough leads readers through a well-known story with both style and grace.
McCullough structures the book into three large subdivisions. The story opens in England, October 26, 1775, with King George III of England addressing the British Parliament on the war in the North American colonies. McCullough takes issue with the commonly held notions of the king, often more known for the madness of his later years (thought to have been brought about by porphyria triggered by arsenic ingestion) than for his intelligence and hardworking leadership of his country. McCullough offers the British perspective on the events in faraway North America first, re-creating the debate in Parliament over the king’s decision to quash the rebellion.
From his description of the situation in Britain at the end of 1775, McCullough turns to the situation in Boston. After the opening Battles of Lexington and Concord in April, 1775, the...
(The entire section is 1600 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 13 (March 1, 2005): 1100.
The Daily Telegraph, July 5, 2005, p. 26.
Entertainment Weekly, May 27, 2005, p. 143.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 7 (April 1, 2005): 404.
Library Journal 130, no. 7 (April 15, 2005): 102.
The New York Times 154 (May 24, 2005): E1-E9.
The New Yorker 81, no. 14 (May 23, 2005): 87-90.
Newsweek 145, no. 21 (May 23, 2005): 42-46.
The Washington Times, June 7, 2005, p. A02.
(The entire section is 43 words.)