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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Joseph J. Ellis (P)2013 Random House

What listeners say about Revolutionary Summer

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

I have read many books on the revolutionary war era. Of all those books, this provides the most succinct and insightful analysis of the military and political forces surrounding the pivotal year of 1776. I highly recommend this book. Many history books spend too much detail on recording what happened and not enough on connecting different events and giving a broader perspective and interpretation. This book avoids that pitfall. The narrator is also excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Informative Overivew of the Early Years

What did you love best about Revolutionary Summer?

The narration was wonderful, and the book covers the diverse personalities well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Revolutionary Summer?

Nothing stands out in particular, it was uniformly good.

Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes! This narration falls right in line with Rudnicki’s other performances

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

No

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic

Another fabulous book from Joseph Ellis. Run, don't walk and get it for yourself...

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant Revolutionary history, beautifully read

I regard Joseph J. Ellis as the pre-eminent writer on US 18th century history. In this work he is clearer than in any other of his works I've read, and the narrative is suspenseful and exciting. Ellis is expert at using both hindsight, and the foggy perceptions of the participants in the American Revolution, to make his points. Stefan Rudnicki reads the superb text wonderfully.

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A rehashing of things we've heard before...

What would have made Revolutionary Summer better?

I wish it went deeper into the main players like the Howes, Washington, Congress, Knox, Lee, Greene, etc. The book just scratches the surface of the story. It could have been longer and since it wasn't it feels rushed.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I enjoyed hearing about the first months of American Independence and the reasoning behind why things happened as they did. I wished there was more backstory to some of the main individuals. I feel like that would have provided more insight into why they did what they did.

What didn’t you like about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance?

The narrator was monotone and really didn't bring any life to the story. Since the story dragged on a bit at times the monotonous performance made it feel much worse.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Revolutionary Summer?

The story felt as though it was going over the same thing time and time again. I felt like I heard about the enlistment periods of the troops about 10 times in the book. If anything I would have added more to the story and asked for more depth than what the book delivers. I enjoyed books by Chernow (Washington: A Life, Hamilton), McCullough (1776, John Adams, and others) and even other Ellis books (Founding Brothers, The Quartet) because they seemed to delve deep into the story of the people they investigated. This felt like it was taken out of context and it was hard to get a feel for the why behind things. If I hadn't already read some of these other titles I may have been left looking for more answers.

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If you like American history, you will enjoy

I thought the first half of the book was good. I am more into the political side than the military of the American Revolution. As such, I personally felt that the last third got bogged down in military detail. I did like how the book, especially in the first half, married the political and military into a coherent , unified story. If you enjoy American history, you will like enjoy this book.

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Very informative, a new perspective

Any additional comments?

I've read a dozen books on the subject. This has interesting perspectives on these events. Gets into GW and the Howes' minds