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Revolutionary Summer: Book summary and reviews of Revolutionary Summer by Joseph J. Ellis

Revolutionary Summer

The Birth of American Independence

by Joseph J. Ellis

Revolutionary Summer

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Book Summary

A distinctive portrait of the crescendo moment in American history from the Pulitzer-winning American historian, Joseph Ellis.

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.

Revolutionary Summer tells an old story in a new way, with a freshness at once colorful and compelling.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The definitive book on the revolutionary events of the summer of 1776...[a] brilliantly told story, carried along on solid interpretive grounds, by one of our best historians of the early nation." – Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An insightful history...A traditionalist, Ellis sticks to 1776 and writes an insightful history of its critical, if often painful, events. " – Kirkus

"As usual, Ellis combines powerful narrative with convincing analysis. His tale of the crucial summer of 1776 shows how political and military events wove together to create a new nation. Read this book and understand how America was born." –Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

"This invaluable addition to the rich literature of the Revolutionary War is a volume to savor, ponder, and simply enjoy." – Ron Chernow, author of Washington, A Life

"Ellis once again demonstrates that a proper narrative of events, considered to be so well known as to present no puzzles, can exhibit the deep causes of the conflicts that forced men to war. His lucidity and insight make him the master story teller of the Revolutionary moment." – Edmund S. Morgan, author of Benjamin Franklin

"Joseph Ellis has once again liberated the American Revolution from powdered wigs and patriotic cant. Riding briskly through the summer of 1776, he portrays the birth of independence as untidy, improvised, and at times, miraculous. This is a lucid and revelatory read for novices and buffs alike." – Tony Horwitz

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Author Information

Joseph J. Ellis Author Biography

Joseph J. Ellis is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. Educated at the College of William and Mary and Yale University, he served as a captain in the army and taught at West Point before coming to Mount Holyoke in 1972. He was dean of the faculty there for ten years. Among his books are Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams and American Sphinx, which won the 1997 National Book Award.

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