A Revolutionary Summer

This seems to be Revolutionary War summer for my reading list.  I have been reading two outstanding books, Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer and Independence by John Ferling.  As always, I like to read history from a contemporary point of view, that is to consider the events as they unfolded to the participants, with all the attendant miscues, miscommunications and foibles that people continue to have. 

Most importantly, I like to consider how great people (like our dead, white, male, slave-holding Founding Fathers) happened to think and how they made decisions based on the information they had and the societal conditions in which they lived, in this case colonial America in 1776.

This of course, always makes me think of what MIGHT have happened.  As Ferling points out in his book (which I am still reading), not all of the colonists or signers of the Declaration of Independence initially wanted to break from Great Britain and King George III.  In fact, as Ferling points out, if the British government or Parliament had made some different, less militant choices in dealing with the colonists, especially after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, there might have been a reconciliation between the colonies and mother country.

I have only started the Fischer book, but I can already see why he won the Pulitzer Prize in History for this volume.  The survival of the Revolution through 1776 is a story that needs to be told to Americans more, especially high school and college students.  I know that takes valuable time away from environmental indoctrination and learning about the important cultural contributions of Che Guevara, but nonetheless, I think it's important.  There were several moments in 1776 where the British could have trapped and destroyed the Continental Army, especially in the fighting around New York City, and the escape of Washington's army from encirclement in Brooklyn really does seem providential at times.

SOO, should be a great and educational August.  Colonial and Revolutionary history are two holes I have always wanted to fill in my resume, so these books will go a long way to helping achieve that goal.