Saturday, May 7, 2011
1776 by DAVID MCCULLOUGH - A REVIEW
I just finished listening to David McCullough's historical narrative 1776 (Simon & Schuster, 2005). This is the compelling story of the inaugural year of the Revolutionary War. Those first American soldiers battled not only the British, but also severe weather conditions, illness and disease, lack of adequate supplies or uniforms, desertion, delayed pay for their services, loss of crops and loved ones at home, and the apathy and even betrayal of many of their own countrymen and comrades in arms.
I have a deeper appreciation for General George Washington who remained undaunted in the face of the worst kinds of challenges. Though beset with failure after failure that first year, he never gave up, but pushed his men beyond what was humanly possible to finally gain the upper hand.
One event in particular moved me nearly to tears. In one early battle, the British had marched through the night to take Washington's army by surprise. It was a terrible defeat for the Americans. That night, while the redcoats camped, Washington rallied his forces for retreat across the river to spare their lives. He had to move 9,000 men by ferry across the river under the cover of darkness without arousing the enemy's suspicions or else they might very well attack them on the river bank and put a bloody end to the revolution right then and there.
But the move took far longer than Washington had anticipated and as dawn drew near he feared that daylight would reveal his plans and the Brits would descend on his meager army. But just as the sun began to rise, a thick fog blanketed the shore obscuring the retreating army from their enemy's view. Washington completed the transfer of 9,000 men to the opposite shore where there was no fog at all. The fog completely lifted within the hour and the Brits awoke to discover that the Americans had vanished in the night. It would later be said that God had intervened on the Americans' behalf that night, and thinking of Moses and the Israelites crossing the red sea, I can't help but believe it.
If you read one non-fiction book this year, let 1776 be it. Particularly during this time when we are at war with terrorists and doing all we can to preserve our liberty, to understand the depth of devotions and sacrifices of those who fought to obtain it in the first place is a life-changing experience.
God bless America!