"When is the time for brave men to exert themselves
in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is not?"
"Never was a cause more important or glorious than that which you are engaged in ... for if tyranny should prevail in this great country, we may expect liberty will expire throughout the world. Therefore, more human glory and happiness may depend upon your exertions than ever yet depended upon any of the sons of men."
1776 seems like the perfect July read, doesn't it? In its well-written pages, David McCullough brings to life the events leading up to, and the months just after, the signing of the Declaration of Independence; it also tells the story of the men who helped bring it all about. Those self-educated and self-made men like George Washington, who had never led an army into battle, but who took on the role of Commander in Chief; and Nathaniel Green, a Quaker from Rhode Island who learned everything he knew about war from reading books and who became a general at thirty-three; and Henry Knox, a bookseller from Boston who had the audacious idea to haul the heavy cannons abandoned at Fort Ticonderoga all the way to Boston in the middle of winter. He was just twenty-five. But it's not just about these heroes. "It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned into soldiers." Well-researched and well-told, 1776 is the powerful human story of mistakes and defeat, patriotism, courage, struggle, loss, faith, perseverance, and victory. It is the story of America herself. And I'm so glad I read it; I really learned a lot.
"From the last week of August to the last week of December, the year 1776 had been as dark a time as those devoted to the American cause had ever known--indeed, as dark a time as any in the history of the country. And suddenly, miraculously it seemed, that had changed because of a small band of determined men and their leader."
"The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."