In this gripping chronicle of America's struggle for independence, award-winning historian John Ferling transports listeners to the grim realities of that war, capturing an eight-year conflict filled with heroism, suffering, cowardice, betrayal, and fierce dedication. As Ferling demonstrates, it was a war that America came much closer to losing than is now usually remembered. General George Washington put it best when he said that the American victory was "little short of a standing miracle."
Almost a Miracle offers an illuminating portrait of America's triumph, offering vivid descriptions of all the major engagements, revealing how these battles often hinged on intangibles such as leadership under fire, heroism, good fortune, blunders, tenacity, and surprise. The author paints sharp-eyed portraits of the key figures in the war, including General Washington and other American officers and civilian leaders. Some do not always measure up to their iconic reputations, including Washington himself.
Others, such as the quirky, acerbic Charles Lee, are seen in a much better light than usual. The book also examines the many faceless men who soldiered, often for years on end, braving untold dangers and enduring abounding miseries. Ferling's narrative is also filled with compassion for the men who comprised the British army and who, like their American counterparts, struggled and died at an astonishing rate in this harsh war. Nor does Ferling ignore the naval war, describing dangerous patrols and grand and dazzling naval actions. Finally, Almost a Miracle takes listeners inside the legislative chambers and plush offices of diplomats to reveal countless decisions that altered the course of this war. The story that unfolds is at times a tale of folly, at times one of appalling misinformation and confusion, and now and then one of insightful and dauntless statesmanship.
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Dramatic Backstory of The War for Independence
- Amazon Customer
Moving and well-researched but overly critical
Yes. It is a strong history of the war and its many sub-plots. Its strengths include thorough coverage of "the other side" (Britain) and the way in which it alternates between chronological history and related themes. For example, the author follows the description of a battle with a detour into prisoner of war conditions.
The author seemed overly critical of American leaders. Washington was an imperfect general (who wasn't) but praise is given begrudgingly and criticism is dished out with gusto.
I bought this book to learn about the Revolution. That was successful; the author covers all aspects of the war.
The Battle of Cowpens.