Guest reviewer Gary S. is a history buff and often reviews books on this blog. With REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER, prize-winning author, Dr Joseph Ellis presents a fresh look at the War for Independence.

Other reviewers have labeled REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER a "readable, fast paced account of both sides.."
See if you agree.....

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Revolutionary Summer – The Birth of American Independence
By Joseph Ellis


I started Revolutionary Summer after finishing Bunker Hill, the latest book from Nathaniel Philbrick. From a historical perspective, it was a perfect transition. However, Philbrick’s book seemed like it would never end, and Revolutionary Summer left me completely satisfied. Ellis writes with amazing clarity and the book offers a very unique perspective into a crucial time in our history.

It was the summer of 1776 and the British sent over the largest armada ever seen to destroy the Continental Army led by George Washington - located in New York. (At the time it was not yet called New York City).

The British plan was to squash the dream of independence while it was still in the crib. The Americans hoped to gain their freedom with one significant stand. Both were wrong.

In hindsight, had the British, led by Lord and Admiral Howe (the Howe brothers) had trapped Washington on Manhattan, it could have been a much different outcome. Instead, Washington was allowed to escape, because it was Lord Howe’s dream to reach a diplomatic solution and bring the ‘rebels’ back into the fold.

The American’s believed that if Washington’s army had been destroyed on Manhattan, that they could raise another army to fight another day (luckily, that theory was never tested).

Ellis explains in simple, reasonable terms how the delegates to the Continental Congress were able to basically ignore the issue of slavery, voting rights, and the rights of women when drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Ellis also points out that the revolution maintained public support, in part because the American newspapers were not always accurate in their portrayal of the war. Had there been a reliable dissemination of American military defeats, the public may have turned against ‘the cause’.

Ellis also emphacizes that the ministers in London had missed many opportunities to re-define the relationship with the colonies—that in hindsight, could have kept the colonies connected to the British Empire.

Overall, a very informative and enjoyable book. I highly recommend it!


 Revolutionary War Books/


  1. This is definitely a book on my radar.

    I did not realize that the American military catastrophes of 1776 were so distorted by the press at that time. Indeed folks are vey quick to abandon a cause when it is not going well.

  2. "Hi Brian, yes there were lots of really interesting revelations in the book. The success of the revolution involved a lot of good timing and luck too. I think you'll enjoy it too! Gary S"

  3. Hi Bryan,
    Gary was unable to post directly so he forwarded the above comment..J