Written By: David McCullough

Narrated By: David McCullough

Date: May 2005

Duration: 6 hours 0 minutes


America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.

Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough’s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.


  • Linda Poole

    I'm a history major/history lover, still I thought this book would be a snoozer. Boy, was I ever wrong. This book was abridged, so it moved along at a fast pace, and was very exciting. Considering the odds the Revolutionaries had against the Brits, it's a bit amazing they won. This book contains information not found in textbooks. An amazing account of America's historical roots. A must listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Jeff C of Barrie

    I have listened to about 50 books this year and 5 stars out of 5 is rare for me. What makes a great audio book? Content obviously but also great oration. This Pulitzer award-winning author needs little introduction but he is an outstanding speaker. Easy on the ears and makes history as exciting as any subject I've had the pleasure of listening to so far. I can't recommend this particular book enough. It underscores for me how invaluable it is to forgive yourself for your own mistakes and how important it is to forgive those that might work for you. As much a book about leadership as there is out there. Washington made up for much of his blunders by learning from his errors and making bold moves. We could do worse.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Kevin G.

    Great book and should be mandatory reading for all Americans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kathy

    I'll admit that I don't remember everything that was in this book, but even so it was a great history lesson on the frustrations, wins, losses, etc of 1776. Listening to the author read his own words was also a treat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    The authors voice does not help this boring read! After 30 minutes, I quit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Dave r

    Good book. Gave history lessons and more importantly to me gave leadership characteristics of the main players...stuff to apply. On/was the US Air Force reading list for good reason. Long book, but NOT boring. Reader was good. Please give back and write a review. thanks

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sabrina Lightfoot

    This book was very good and it allowed me to learn much more about the Revolutionary War without boring me to tears. I thought the narrator(s) did a superb job. Well done!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • DJG

    This is a great book. I knew some of this history, but McCullough filled in the blank spaces.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • maria de cimini

    I absolutely loved it. I will listen to it again. All schools should play this for their pupils.

  • Andrew W.

    Only complaint I have is no followup book

  • Paula M.

    Well done on delivering history. Wish it would have been a bit more story-based.

  • Stephen C.

    David McCullough's narration is as extraordinary as his writing. If only all of his books were available in his own voice.

  • Martin T

    Fantastic book about the miracle that became the USA. No doubt there were many people who helped the revolution succeed, but Washington is clearly the only one who could lead us to success. King George III said Washington was the "greatest man in the world" because he always put service over self, and never abused power. All Americans should read this to see what sacrifices and effort were made to create USA, and how lucky we are to be the USA.

  • Karlee Barcafer

    Had to read it for school, and I found it very dry. On the bright side, it is a good book to help you get sleepy before bed! The audio helped me get through it.

  • Stevenson Ward

    Very good read. Perhaps a little too much detail. but nevertheless enjoyable and educational.

  • Chris Mays

    An fascinating insider account of the individuals and circumstance of the war for independence.

  • Anonymous

    This was a terrible book. I do not recomend this book to anyone.

  • Taylor Sheldon

    what an awesome book! if you like history you will love it!

  • Kristin

    This book was extremely dry. I wanted to like it because I love historical novels but this was worse than my 7th grade history teacher. If you are looking for a great historical novel go with McCoullough's John Adams. I wish he had written this one along the same lines. Oh, and on a side note McCullough was a terrible narrator!

  • Anonymous

    Overall this was a good book. It started a bit slow but when it got going I did not want it to end. It was very interesting to hear what Washington and the army went through. There were some tough SOBs.

  • Sharon S

    I tried and tried to get into this story and while some historical aspects were interesting, to me personally the book as a whole was not. I loved "John Adams" and perhaps hoped for the same level of interest but this one just didn't hold my attention for very long.

  • JW

    It was great to learn the background and details of our revolution.

  • APDS4

    Interesting take on Revolutionary war history in that it is written much from the English/Tory viewpoint. It allows the listener to learn about the other side of the story and on occasion is slightly bent towards the defense of England and her policies. It is critical in its analysis of the colonial army and it's leaders, almost leaving the fact that they won the war as an afterthought. It is tedious unless the listener is an avid history buff.

  • Barbara

    You should be a history buff to listen and enjoy everything in this book. I did find out many things I wasn't aware of before.

  • Timothy Amey

    I truly enjoyed this work - it was extremely well done. I felt like I was there, and I learned many fascinating details that I was unaware of... I am eagerly looking forward to reading his other efforts.

  • Eric Boyce

    I thought it was a really good book, but an even better read is McCulloch's John Adams, which ironically is coming out this spring as an HBO miniseries...

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the book very much. The first hand perspective on events were fresh and enlightening. I did not think it as captivating as 'John Adams' but perhaps it was because of the content. Times were hard for our countrymen at that particular time and although the time frame for both books were the same, the cold, and lack of military training and equipment made it an almost impossible time to be in the military. My admiration of General Washington and the brave men of his army grew with every page. I hope I will never view my country with the same spirit again. It was a "good read".

  • Anonymous

    A wonderfully written, brilliantly told story about the american struggle for independence in 1776. The author does a splendid job describing the strategies, successes and blunders on both sides. The detailed discussion of the battles, the people who gave their lives, and the suffering made me actually see in my mind and maybe even feel what these soldiers and leaders must've been going through. In history class my teachers taught me that the british were a bunch of blundering buffoons that the americans easily defeated - nothing could be further from the truth. The americans lost nearly every battle in 1776 and almost our independence. Someone once said that 'war is hell'; this book describes it to the last.

  • Anonymous

    A nice overview of 1776. This is a brief snapshot of only one year of the American Revolution. Not highly detailed or exhaustive, but an easy read. Explores aspects of the history of that time I certainly wasn't familiar with, including the struggles and failures of George Washington's early career as a military leader. It's good that he learned from his mistakes and became better! The author does a nice job of reading his own work.

  • ada

    I thought this was an amazing account of 1776. I learned so much. I drove around for hours so that I could listen. The author's reading was wonderful and I am so glad that he did that for his listeners. You really feel as though there should be a sequel, until the end of the revolution. I hope he considers this.

  • Anonymous

    Quite enjoyable. I've recently moved to Massachussetts. It brought the history of the local area to life.

  • Todd

    If you like American history, you will love this book. Be aware, this is not a book that covers the entire revolution, it is literally about the year 1776. You will come away with a greater appreciation for what it took to establish this nation. Highly recommended.

  • Anonymous

    I loved this book. It was well written and brought the history of the war for independence to life. I learned quite a bit while listening to this book about how the United States was formed. I would highly recommend this book to others.

  • Janice Church

    I loved listening to this book. Contains lots of details that make the people of history come alive.

  • Biolife Technologies

    I could not put this down, but I had too since it was so long, and worth every minute. It would be nice to have more by this writer. Very well done.

  • Anonymous

    I know Dave McC is a famous and good writer, but I just couldn't listen to him read this book! Maybe a different narrator would have made the difference, I'm sure the content was good but I couldn't pay attention.

  • Joan Lindley

    I really enjoyed this book. It is so great to read about the revolutionary war and this was particularly well researhed and easy to follow. It was great to have the author reading it.

  • Rafael Gonzalez

    Great Book ! I listened to it and enjoyed it, I never knew the amazing details of the ‘War for Independence’. And how many times and how close we came to never becoming a nation. George Washington John Adams and our founding fathers are true heroes always pressing forward over obstacles, defeat, with a group full of amateur “soldiers” to defeat the strongest army of its day. Get the ABRIDGED version, it moves faster and keeps your interest. I also found it a thrill ride and love McCullough’s narration, he has a great voice. Listen to the audio sample to determine if you like his speaking style. Rafael G.

  • Brad King

    Superb read for getting the gritty details of the war and an understanding of how things operated back in the day. Especially good look into Washington and how everything affected him and the type of man he was. Hearing what was actually written in correspondence between so many involved in the Revolution was fascinating. Anyone remotely interested in the Revolution should read (listen) to this. At first I was a little put off by the author's voice, but after a little while found I rather enjoyed it. The story itself is so interesting and flows so smoothly that a robot could have read it and wouldn't have bothered me.

  • Mandi Chestler

    Engaging and exciting. If our public school history books were all written by McCullough, our high schools would produce a generation of college history majors. 1776 is an excellent telling of one of the most exciting years in U.S. history.

  • Anonymous

    After the first disk I was determined to continue, because the events were so well written, even exciting. Determined, because it would take determination to sit through the narrator/author's reading. But I weakened before the second disk was finished. I had to stop, could take no more. I will either have to read this book or hope the author comes to his senses and lets another narrate it, because I could not stand anymore of McCullough's monotonous droning. Before hearing this narration I had planned to also listen to his book on Adams (which he again narrates), but I can't go with his voice, even with his expert writing. Why would an author sabatoge his novel??? Is ego that blind???

  • Barbara Necastro

    Ugh! I think if someone else was reading the story it would have been much, much better. It was a good story, but I just couldn't get past the person reading it. He put me to sleep. Therefore, I did not finish the book.

  • Anonymous

    I found this book fairly interesting and learned some things such as I had always thought the Hessians were all druck from partying when Washington attacked in Trenton but this book says they were not. Maybe it's just me but an author should never do the reading. It was just too monotone for me.

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating story of the beginning of the U.S. Interesting insights into those difficult, uncertain days.

  • Anonymous

    We obviously know the ultimate outcome, but McCullough kept me on the edge of my seat as he described the twists and turns of the events on which our country's fate rested. He brings historic figures to (human-scale) life, and includes personal accounts of both the leaders and soldiers that add color and life to the usual dry historical facts. A fascinating story, and well worth the time. Don't miss it!

  • Anonymous

    Very detailed and interesting look at one of the most important years in the history of America. History lovers will savor the detail; others may find that the book drags a bit. None-the-less, all of the key figures, British and American, are vividly portrayed and the events of this pivotal year carefully explained. Well written and enjoyable.

  • David Clark

    David McCullough was able to present the most crucial year in both American and World history from the perspectives of the Brittish, the Americans, solidiers, generals, and citizens in a way that really brings the reader into the ordeal and with full emotions. The level of detail is magnificent and shed's light on each individual in such a way one might think it to be a set of mini-biographies morphed together. I highly recommend this book, and consider it a must read for all Americans.

  • Troyellen

    This book has a tremendous amount of history. Facts that until I listened to this book, I had never heard before. A must read for those who love history.

  • Patrick T. Donohue

    Very informative and well done. I like history and this was very enjoyable.

  • John Hackler

    This excellent book is the only one I've listened to that has been read by the author, and is very well done. The book details the War of the Revolution from it's inception to the turning point, at the battle of Trenton, and, I hope, will be followed by author McCullough, with a history of the the remaining years of the War. This is truly a book to be read (or heard).

  • KD

    I really enjoyed this book. I often found myself sitting in the car a few extra minutes just to hear a little more. I found the book richly detailed and full of surprises. If my history class had been half as interesting in high school, I'd have stayed awake more often.

  • N.C.

    1776 is the most compelling and best written historical work that I've ever enjoyed. McCullough is a master of the genre.

  • Anonymous

    I really wanted to enjoy this book - but found I had to concentrate too hard on remembering names and places. It started to wash over me as one huge kaleidescope of images which I could not focus on in the confines of my car whilst driving. I know plenty of people have enjoyed this book and I'm gald. But it just didn't get my vote; I gave up during the second CD out of 5.

  • Michael Scott

    Wow, what a ride! I really enjoyed reading McCullough's book "Path Between the Seas", and enjoyed this one even more. It was information packed from the very first chapter, and the fact that he's also the narrator is an added bonus. The book only covers the year 1776 of the Revolutionary War, which is both good and bad, as I really didn't want the book to end - but I felt as if I were there, watching the action unfold. I honestly don't recall this being covered in my History classes in school. Here is one "reader" that is keeping his fingers crossed that Mr. McCullough continues writing books of historical relevance. Note to those listening to this book while driving/commuting – there is a HUGE amount of information in this book. Don’t be surprised if you are forced to rewind segments, when distracted by traffic.

  • Karen V

    I descended from a Virginia Captain in Washington's Continental Army and I'm always a little apprehensive about reading histories of the Revolution. The authors often have an agenda or are comically "patriotic" and one-dimensional. This book is perfect - balanced, truthful, fair to the British, and detailed without being boring. You will probably enjoy it most if you have an ongoing interest in American history but I'd recommend it to anyone.

  • Tom Teel

    The author of the book is also a good reader and the content is terrific. I am very impressed with the detail and documentation the author achieved. Best of all, I was most impressed with the extraordinary drama of the book. I've read biographies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and others of that period, but this book tops it all for excitement. I'm on disk 8 and I'm still wondering how in the world we ever won the war in the first place. Well written and read, the book keeps very good company with me while commuting.

  • Amanda Lott

    I really enjoyed this book. Normally I dont like books like this one but, it was well writen and well read. And I had a chance to freshin' up on some history.

  • Nicole McNamee-Wicks

    I loved this book! It could be because there so many references to my geographic area that really personalized this book. I am not usually a fan of history, but I hated stopping the CD when I got out of the car. The recounting of the battles and the tribulations of the troops were detailed in a fascinating manner that made me looking for the author's account of the rest of the years!

  • Tonytoga

    I fell in love with David McCullough's work while watching "The Civil War" on PBS more than a decade ago. His thoughtful, direct style of writing combined with his soft-spoken delivery make this work among his best, right up there with "Truman." It's an outstanding read; you find yourself wanting to pop off a memo to George Washington telling him, "it's a trap..........don't do it." I know much more now about the early days of a very long struggle than before, especially the Boston and New York campaigns. And much greater is my admiration for the men who lived and died in that struggle. An extellent four star production.

  • Juan Herena

    One of the best histories I've heard read aloud. The anecdotes about both famous historical figures (like George Washington) and common soldiers make this book seem like an eyewitness account that could have happened just a few days ago; it gives a strong sense of immediacy. McCullough doesn't glorify Washington and his generals-- he firmly points out their misjudgments and near escapes. However, at the end he makes you realize how fortunate America was to have such a steadfast band at that particular time. For listeners from the NY-NJ area, too, the geographical setting of the book might give them a lot of pause. I'm from Westchester County originally , and I was amazed again and again that so much had happened almost literally in my old neighborhood!

  • Mark F.

    This book (although highly rated by others), quickly lost my interest. I love history but for some reason I could not get into this book. I returned it after completing the second CD (it contains 5).

  • Johanna Weekley

    This deserves 5 stars. What could be better than David McCullough, in that rich, nuanced voice, telling the story of our miraculous revolution. He recreates so beautifully the tension of the times that for a minute I thought surely we must have lost the war!

  • Bonnie

    If you love history and haven't yet discovered David McCollough, you are in for a treat. This is an excellent example of his work. Don't be put off by the fact that he is the narrator, he's very good but the material itself would make it hard to do a poor narration. Well worth the time.

  • Anonymous

    History lessons by an excellent story teller are fun!!! If History is not your passion and yet you wish to "know more", you will find listening to any book by McCullough's will be painless and full of delightful information. Pick any of his books that interest you and you will not be disappointed.

  • Anonymous

    I read many history books. This was okay. It needed a little more detail but was read nicely.


by David McCullough

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1776, David McCullough
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