Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

Revolutionary Summer

Cover of Revolutionary Summer

Revolutionary Summer

The Birth of American Independence

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.



From the Hardcover edition.

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.



From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you


 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    Chapter 1

    Prudence Dictates

    By the spring of 1776, British and American troops had been killing each other at a robust rate for a full year. While the engagements at Lexington and Concord had been mere skirmishes, the battle at Bunker Hill had been a bloodbath, especially for the British, who lost more than 1,000 men, nearly half their attack force. The American dead numbered in the hundreds, a figure inflated by the fact that all the wounded left on the field were dispatched with bayonets by British execution squads enraged at the loss of so many of their comrades. Back in London, one retired officer was heard to say that with a few more victories like this, the British Army would be annihilated.

    Then, for the next nine months, a congregation of militia units totaling 20,000 troops under the command of General George Washington bottled up a British garrison of 7,000 troops under General William Howe in a marathon staring match called the Boston Siege. The standoff ended in March 1776, when Washington achieved tactical supremacy by placing artillery on Dorchester Heights, forcing Howe to evacuate the city. Abigail Adams watched the British sail away from nearby Penn's Hill. "You may count upwards of 100 & 70 sail," she reported. "They look like a forrest." By then the motley crew of militia was being referred to as the Continental Army, and Washington had become a bona fide war hero.

    In addition to these major engagements, the British navy had made several raids on the coastal towns of New England, and an ill-fated expedition of 1,000 American troops led by Benedict Arnold, after hacking its way through the Maine wilderness in the dead of winter, suffered a crushing defeat in the attempt to capture the British strong- hold at Quebec. Though most of the military action was restricted to New England and Canada, no reasonable witness could possibly deny that the war for American independence, not yet called the American Revolution, had begun.

    But if you widen the lens to include the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the picture becomes quite blurry and downright strange. For despite the mounting carnage, the official position of the congress remained abiding loyalty to the British Crown. The delegates did not go so far as to deny that the war was happening, but they did embrace the curious claim that George III did not know about it. Those British soldiers sailing away from Boston were not His Majesty's troops but "ministerial troops," meaning agents of the British ministry acting without the knowledge of the king.

    While everyone in the Continental Congress knew this was a fanciful fabrication, it was an utterly essential fiction that preserved the link between the colonies and the crown and thereby held open the possibility of reconciliation. Thomas Jefferson undoubtedly had these motives in mind when he crafted the following words a few months later: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient reasons; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

    One might argue that those wounded American boys who were bayoneted to death on Bunker Hill amounted to something more than light and transient reasons. Washington himself, once he learned of those atrocities, let it be known that he had lost all patience with the moderates in the congress who were—it became one of his favorite phrases— "still feeding themselves on the dainty food of reconciliation." Though he made a point of...

About the Author-
  • Joseph Ellis is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife and their youngest son.



Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 8, 2013
    If we must have another work on this shop-worn subject, Pulitzer and National Book Award-winner Ellis (for Founding Brothers and American Sphinx, respectively) is the one to write it—his latest is now the definitive book on the revolutionary events of the summer of 1776. Ellis’s prose is characteristically seductive, his insights frequent, his sketches of people and events captivating, and his critical facility always alive, even when he’s praising Washington and faulting British military strategy. Lightly applying what we’ve learned from our own recent wars, Ellis argues that Washington knew what, for example, the North Vietnamese later understood: “His goal was not to win the war but rather to not lose it.” Thanks to Washington’s preservation of the Continental Army, which he accomplished through both sheer luck and brilliant command on Long Island and Manhattan in these critical summer months, the former colonies held on to a chance to win their independence. Another brilliantly told story, carried along on solid interpretive grounds, by one of our best historians of the early nation. 8 pages of color photos & 3 maps. 125,000-copy announced first printing.

  • Boston Globe

    "Throughout this volume we see the clear-eyed mastery of a historian with the acuity to distill a historical moment into a clash for the ages...But in describing the significance of these momentous events he does not boil off the romance of them."

  • Washington Independent Review of Books "Ellis, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, is always a dependable guide through the early days of the new nation...[He] gives us a feeling of that time when the quest for liberty began, and we come away knowing that those who took up that quest would not waver and, against all odds, they would win."
  • The Wall Street Journal "It's a poignant counterpoint to the well-worn narrative of Washington's deification and a tribute to Mr. Ellis's sympathetic grasp of human nature."
  • The Seattle Times "The best thing about Joseph Ellis' vast writings on Early America is his ability to construct unvarnished and original accounts, clear away myth and yet leave the reader with a sense of the color, irony, humor and--dare I say it--the great good luck present throughout our country's history."
  • AARP "What truly matters here is the insurrectionary spirit that suffused the summer of '76. Elis beautifully re-creates it in his compact but compelling book."
  • The Washington Post "Like any first-rate history, "Revolutionary Summer" leaves the reader wanting to know more."
  • Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs "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."
  • Ron Chernow, author of Washington, A Life "In Revolutionary Summer, Joseph J. Ellis serves up the spirit of 1776 with sparkling prose, lucid analysis, and knowing portraits of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams. Best of all, he captures the subtle and often complex interplay between the lofty rhetoric pouring forth from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and the perilous plight of the Continental Army in New York. This invaluable addition to the rich literature of the Revolutionary War is a volume to savor, ponder, and simply enjoy."
  • Edmund S. Morgan, author of Benjamin Franklin "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 theRevolutionary moment."
  • Tony Horwitz "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."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "The definitive book on the revolutionary events of the summer of 1776. Ellis's prose is characteristically seductive, his insights frequent, his sketches of people and events captivating, and his critical facility always alive...Another brilliantly told story, carried along on solid interpretive grounds, by one of our best historians of the early nation."
  • Kirkus, starred review "An insightful history."
  • Library Journal "With revolutionary-period expertise and extensive knowledge of the founders, Ellis contends that American independence was born during this 'long summer'...This thought-provoking, well-documented historical narrative is packed with insightful analysis."
  • David O. Stewart, The Washington Post "Terrific...chock full of penetrating analysis...Like any first rate history, Revolutionary Summer leaves the reader wanting to know more."
  • Barnes and Noble review "A brisk and astute history of the intertwined political and military developments of the summer of 1776...Ellis conveys an easy command of the Revolutionary era and its personalities."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 1 titles every 7 day(s).

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Enhanced Details

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Permissions

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Holds

Total holds:


Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Revolutionary Summer
Revolutionary Summer
The Birth of American Independence
Joseph J. Ellis
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel