I just finished 1776 by David McCullogh and have written a brief review using the now reading plugin that can be seen in the sidebar to the right. Because I haven't fiddled with the CSS for it, the formatting is horrible and I have posted the review here.
A surprisingly short history.
Though I suppose the title gives it away, this book is really only about George Washington's campaign against the British in 1776. Whilst it deals with that specific subject very well with great eyewitness accounts, diary entries and newspaper references it feels as though one has arrived in the middle of a story and upon finishing the book, have only moved very slightly further along. I was left unsatisfied at the conclusion, the war of independence would go on for another 4 years and Washington play an important role in the continuing conflict, though this is barely mentioned in the book.
I was left with the impression that Washington was a great motivator of men an inspiring figure at a time that desperately needed a hero figure, but was only a mediocre military leader, who on a number of occasions was saved by good fortune and the good sense to listen to his other commanders wise advice. Beyond his capability for inspirational leadership, his most notable quality was in identifying and standing by gifted men such as Knox and Greene, to fight with him.
A good look at a surprisingly brief time in history.