From the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy comes the extraordinary first volume of his new trilogy about the American Revolution
Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about World War II, has long been admired for his deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence.
From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force. It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes a brilliant battle captain; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves to be the wiliest of diplomats; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost. The story is also told from the British perspective, making the mortal conflict between the redcoats and the rebels all the more compelling.
Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of our country’s creation drama.
Pulitzer Prize winner Atkinson (The Liberation Trilogy) replicates his previous books' success in this captivatingly granular look at the American Revolution from the increasing tension in the colonies in 1773 to the battles of Trenton and Princeton in 1777. Extensive research (including delving into the unpublished papers of King George III, only recently made available to scholars) allows Atkinson to recreate the past like few other popular historians. The result is a definitive survey of the first stage of the war, which would ultimately yield "two tectonic results": the reduction of the British Empire by one-third, and the creation of the United States. By providing vivid portraits of even minor characters, Atkinson enables readers to feel the loss of individual lives on both sides of the conflict, and by providing memorable details such as starving soldiers relishing a stew made out of a squirrel's head and some candlewicks he brings new life even to chapters of oft-told American history. Atkinson doesn't shy away from noting the hypocrisy of the slave-owning founding fathers, and his mordant prose (the author of a letter advocating a belligerent attitude towards the colonials is described as having "the cocksure clarity of a man who slept in his own bed every night three thousand miles from trouble") is another plus. This is a superlative treatment of the period.