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The book concludes with an insightful look at the making of the Constitution in the Philadelphia Convention of and the struggle over ratification. Through it all, Middlekauff gives the reader a vivid sense of how the colonists saw these events and the importance they gave to them. Common soldiers and great generals, Sons of Liberty and African slaves, town committee-men and representatives in congress--all receive their due. This new edition has been revised and expanded, with fresh coverage of topics such as mob reactions to British measures before the War, military medicine, women's role in the Revolution, American Indians, the different kinds of war fought by the Americans and the British, and the ratification of the Constitution.

The book also has a new epilogue and an updated bibliography. The cause for which the colonists fought, liberty and independence, was glorious indeed. Here is an equally glorious narrative of an event that changed the world, capturing the profound and passionate struggle to found a free nation. The Atlantic Monthly has praised it as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book. Kennedy, this renowned series blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative.

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The Island at the Center of the World: Review Finalist, Pulitzer Prize for History "This is narrative history at its best, written in a conversational and engaging style A major revision and expansion of a popular history of the American Revolutionary period. Middlekauff has the admirable ability to capture historical truths in vivid images and memorable phrases Middlekauff's empathy enhances this massive book's cumulative power. The cause was glorious; the book is too.

Middlekauff is both elegant and eloquent. Whether he is describing the making of British policy, or sketching the character of Washington or Pitt, or explaining why Daniel Morgan positioned the American troops at Hannah's Cowpens so retreat would be impossible, he does in a few paragraphs or pages what others might struggle through a chapter to get right. There is probably no history of the Revolution that better combines a full account of the military course of the war with consideration of all the other forces shaping the era.

He moves with agility from profound political and philosophical disputes of the period to the scenes of battle and the problems of military strategy. A welcome addition to the history of the Revolution. Graced with plentiful illustrations, gracefully written and long enough at nearly pages to afford ample attention to detail, this book is highly recommended to the general reader. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers.

Look for the Kindle MatchBook icon on print and Kindle book detail pages of qualifying books. Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon. Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available. Learn more about Kindle MatchBook. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. The founders, especially Franklin, Madison, and Wilson, believed that the Convention must risk all, indeed risk the revolution, by trusting the virtue of the American people.

Aug 24, Piker rated it liked it Shelves: The Glorious Cause is an exhaustive history of the late 18th century in North America. Events leading up to, during, and after the American Revolution are thoroughly examined for the most part. However, there are greater emphases placed on certain aspects of this time period that leave a misleading interpretation of why this era is so important. What Middlekauff does very well is describe the build up to the Revolution within an international context. The reader gets a glimpse into the main figu The Glorious Cause is an exhaustive history of the late 18th century in North America.

The reader gets a glimpse into the main figures involved in British foreign policy along with those who reacted to it either approvingly or disapprovingly in the colonies. We see things not only in terms of taxes and build up, but in larger terms of mercantilism and economics. Middlekauff also provides a great introduction to the Seven Years War. This leads well into the Revolution itself. However, the attention paid to the military campaigns and Washington's grand strategy becomes tedious and boring after repetitive chapters about battles and tactics. This does do a good job of highlighting the big idea behind beating the British: The "war of posts" is necessary to grasp while studying this time period.

The Glorious Cause The American Revolution, 1763 1789 Oxford History of the United States

Yet, the details about specific battles are so redundant that one would be well served to keep a list of what battle was fought when. The descriptions become very similar and it is difficult to tell events apart during these chapters. There are a few sections that do work quite well. For instance, the pages dedicated to Valley Forge are among the best in the book.

I'm not sure if that is due to the subject itself or Middlekauff's approach. Either way it served as an island of interest amidst pages of repetition. The heavy emphasis on the Revolution and the war eclipse the Constitutional Convention and the ultimate lessons of the time period. Only about three chapters are dedicated to this important part of the history. This is where I disagree and dislike the book the most. When we think back on the birth of America, it is the intellectual seeds found in the Constitution that are most worthy of contemporary consideration and debate; not the tactics of 18th century standing armies and militia.

The Convention and its product are the capstone of the Revolution and mark the beginning of the American experiment. With such a focus on the military history, readers lose sight of what were the most important outcomes of this prominent generation. This may also lead into bad lessons learned i.

America's military successes are what made the Revolution successful. They were politically enlightened individuals who sought to avoid the traps of despotism and tyranny by establishing a large republic.

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The reader must also keep in mind that this federal system was built out of the ashes of a failed system of small republics that was forged during the Revolution. To underscore this point we should consider the treatment of Madison in this book. Middlekauff does a fine job of talking about the merits of how a large republic will have some checks in balances built in if it encompasses a diverse population of factions.

This is without a doubt one of the hallmarks of Madison's political ideology and is explained quite well in this book. Yet we do not encounter the shrewd nature of Madison's political prowess and how he was able to win over so many Anti-Federalists. In other words, the notion behind, and the writing of, the Bill of Rights is practically missing from The Glorious Cause. That is a pretty big omission to leave out, especially if this volume introduces what some consider to be the definitive series on American history.

Flawed, heavy and dense, this was an uphill read. On the other hand, heavy and dense serves as a good anchor to tether your understanding of America's birth. But don't let this be your only foray into the subject. May 23, Gage Garlinghouse rated it really liked it. The American Revolution by Robert Middlekauff is a book that depicts the glorious battles of the war and its political struggle and ideals all in one fell swoop. While building up through the war, and going all the way to its end.

Being published in the book has had two editions. With them each being part of the two sets of the Oxford History of the United States book series.

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It is an in depth look at The Glorious Cause: It is an in depth look at the causes, effects and everything to do with the Revolution itself. Meaning that if a person knows that history they know this story. The book does however have some very good chapters, with one of the best being chapter 2, The Children of the Twice born. Talking about how the the colonists didn't fully know who they where.


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This is a heavy read and isn't for someone who really cares about or is not very interested in the American Revolution. I read this book because I made a deal with my history teacher, and I rather enjoyed it. Being a long, but good book only history nerds should read it. But the overall argument of what the real revolution was in of itself makes this book worth the read to begin with. Apr 23, Brian Willis rated it really liked it.

This overview of the causes and results of the struggle for American independence takes pages to detail the numerous causes and grievances that led to the conflict, pages to detail the military history of the battlefield conflicts themselves, and the final pages to enumerate the need and drafting of the Constitution. A fundamental claim, which I haven't encountered elsewhere, is that the socio-religious background of those Americans informed their opinions of the fallibility of human This overview of the causes and results of the struggle for American independence takes pages to detail the numerous causes and grievances that led to the conflict, pages to detail the military history of the battlefield conflicts themselves, and the final pages to enumerate the need and drafting of the Constitution.

A fundamental claim, which I haven't encountered elsewhere, is that the socio-religious background of those Americans informed their opinions of the fallibility of humanity and the necessity for self-governance. The detailed war section is a strength, as most books covering this era tend to gloss over the details, as well as the blow-by-blow account of the Constitutional Convention itself. The causes of the war, as well as the political philosophical divide between the British and colonists, is also well documented.

It would be hard to go wrong with this one volume account, which leaves us at Washington's Inauguration. Nov 30, Rod Zemke rated it it was amazing. It gets a five because it is such a comprehensive history of the birth of the American Republic. This book is part of the Oxford Series on American History. Reading this book in reminds the reader that the Constitution was written by men and not Gods. Although the Constitution has served us well, it may need 21st-century revisions. The Electoral College is obviously out-of-date. Also, representation in Congress has to be addressed.

How long can we continue to give Wyoming and California eac It gets a five because it is such a comprehensive history of the birth of the American Republic. How long can we continue to give Wyoming and California each two Senators. It is just not fair as it is obviously too undemocratic. Aside from that, this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to be a US Representative either in the House or Senate.

May 19, Jerome rated it really liked it. A comprehensive and ambitious work, with a good deal of primary and secondary research. It is a military history as well as a political history, and wanders into social commentary as well. Middlekauff does a great job of explaining how pivotal the Seven Years' War was in American History as it forced England to re-examine her relationship to her American colonies. Prior to that war the colonies had not provided England with the wealth that imperial nations desire from their colonies, but they ha A comprehensive and ambitious work, with a good deal of primary and secondary research.

Prior to that war the colonies had not provided England with the wealth that imperial nations desire from their colonies, but they hadn't really cost her anything either. But that war caused England to realize that money would have to be spent to defend her stronghold in the New World if she intended to keep it.

That looked to be an expensive proposition, making it necessary to find a way to make the colonies produce revenue to offset the expense. Attempts at taxation without representation, a fundamental right of Englishmen, caused colonists to examine their status as citizens of their mother country, leading them to decide that they were not Englishmen at all. Middlekauff also gives us a glimpse of figures of the pre-revolutionary period and shows our "patriots" as radicals and "revolutionaries," a far more accurate depiction of the men who were able to bring about so monumental a change in the course of history.

Middlekauff delves into all the the parts of "pre-revolutionary" America you thought you knew about, such as the Tea Party, and reports what actually happened there.

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The book also shows the human side of the American army, and how Washington wrestled with the fact that many were unwilling to fight. Due to the length of the book and the abundance of detail, it can be a bit tedious.

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Middlekauff does his readers no favor in trying to impress them with stuff like "Soldiers of all nationalities usually have a special fondness for profanity, and many have a special proficiency in its use" p. The book does provide a solid picture of the political and military history of the period. Middlekauff, however, doesn't include enough social, economic, and cultural history, and the book can become bogged down in details at the expense of the bigger picture.

There are also some minor issues here and therel he states that the British government "decided almost without thought to attack the French in the West Indies. Middlekauff repeats a common misconception that the Hessian troops were mercenaries they weren't, they were rented by the German princes to George III. He opens arguments here and there which are quite debateable, such as implying that the Revolution's impetus was spurred by the energy of the Great Awakening, and then provides no further elaboration or evidence.

In his coverage of the Intolerable Acts, Middlekauff fails to say what the Quebec Act was, yet elsewhere he assumes you know. Lee's Legion rode in. Greene once more had his army in one piece. In one section Isaac Barre gives a speech supporting the colonies in parliament , but Middlekauf never tells us who he is or why he speaks so strongly. Directly below, the American Ingersoll? On pages he writes "Amherst told the king The last time we met him, also identified only as "Amherst", was page , where he was fighting the French for all of one sentence.

Look up Amherst in the index, see where he appears, and see how easy it is to connect these references. This is very tough, demanding writing, even for a relatively good book. Jan 29, Clinton Rice rated it really liked it. This is my first book review, so the 4-star rating is a little tenuous; the book met many expectations in excellent fashion, but due the complexity of subject matter, there were parts that became a bit disjointed or left me hoping uncertainly that issues would be dealt with later they almost invariably were, but foreknowledge would have been nice.

There were two primary facets that I cared about: The narrative was typically strong, detailed and balanced. The only place I thought things got murky was during the war itself. Once the war started, the focus turned greatly to military tactics; I suppose that this demonstrated the fragility of our eventual victory, since things could have turned out differently at a number of points, but since I am not a great military enthusiast, I found that it distracted from the flow that I'd so enjoyed before.

There are intermingled discussions of politics through this section, but they are greatly overshadowed by detailed accounts of various battles. Then, there are a couple of chapters of cross-sectional material describing generalities of life during the war and a little bit about politics, but those, while interesting at some level, seemed almost distracting since I hadn't seen them coming and didn't know where the book was to head after them. Finally, the narrative picks back up with the battle of Yorktown, Britain's surrender and the evolution from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution.

I really think that, had the chapters been organized into explicit sections, it would have worked perfectly. My biggest hope heading into the book was to see into the minds of the founding fathers, and my biggest fear was that it would serve as propaganda for one modern ideology or another. There were certainly times where the relationship between various founders and modern dogma was so obvious that I wondered if the author had framed the story around relevance to today; yet each of those seemed to be matched by a counterpoint such that by the end, I concluded that the story roughly shows the timeless struggle between competing ideals and couldn't decipher what the author's views may be.

Given that, I got exactly what I'd hoped in ideological terms - virtually nothing. It is worth noting that this is the first in a series of eight books comprising the Oxford University History of the United States, and I intend to start immediately upon the second, Empire of Liberty. There are several different authors across the series, so I can't speak for how the rest of the series may work out yet.

Jan 21, Carson Stones rated it it was amazing. From the Stamp Act to the Washington's Inauguration and everything in-between, Robert Middlekauff manages to capture the passion, sacrifice, and larger-than-life personalities which made the cause glorious. What really stood out to me about this narrative was the constant state of desperation and near-catastrophe in which the rebels found themselves. In fact, without the aid of French warships and materiel not to mention Lafayette!

What ultimately drew me to this book was the musical Hamilton and David McCullough's I wanted to fill in the gaps in the narrative and Robert Middlekauff did not disappoint. Picking up right where Fred Anderson's Crucible of War left off tragically, not part of the Oxford series , The Glorious Cause is packed with anecdotes from pre-war Boston, soldier's journals from camp life, and useful battle maps of all the famous revolutionary battlefields and the main theaters of war.

By relying heavily on the papers of Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and others, Middlekauff constantly reminds us that the Founding Fathers were simply men put into extraordinary circumstances. Throughout the narrative, we get to read their self-doubt, frustrations, compromises, and occasional brilliance in their own words. Though we tend to deify these men today to our detriment , it was refreshing to read through their struggles as they unfolded chronologically.

I'm sure there are dozens of wonderful books out there about the Revolutionary era, but for a well-written, scholarly, one-volume modern history of the whole era, I'm not sure the Oxford series can be beat. If the sign of a good book is the desire to learn more, then this volume succeeded.

Not only do I desperately want to learn more about the French Revolution, but now I also can't wait to pick up the next volume in the series, Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood - who, as it happens, also wrote a one-volume history of the revolutionary war as well as the Pulitzer winning The Radicalism of the American Revolution. More to come on this era in future reviews! Jul 09, Brian rated it really liked it. I didn't read all of it, but the parts I didn't read I skimmed and I doubt I'll re-read it since it's so long and there's so much out there. There were some notable shortcomings and glaring omissions, such as the arrival of Martha Washington at Valley Forge, Adams' nomination of Washington, Benedict Arnold's treachery, etc.

I think the main thing to note about the Revolutionary War is that it really was an accident. Nobody quite knew it was going to happen until they were in the m I didn't read all of it, but the parts I didn't read I skimmed and I doubt I'll re-read it since it's so long and there's so much out there. Nobody quite knew it was going to happen until they were in the middle of it.

Somebody could easily do a Thucydidean analysis. The bit on the Constitutional Convention is very helpful, because he makes it clear that the Constitution was less of an agreed consensus and more of a truce, which is why issues like religion and slavery were left so open. The participants had very different intentions and it was the best they could do at the time. Oh, and for those who want to get a de-hagiographized version of the war, this book is a decent shot. It's not revisionistic or critical the fact that taxes were very low in America is generally underplayed , but it does make you see George Washington as the fallible human he was, while still generally admiring him.

I wish there had been more personalities and more dialogue with the legends, such as Nathan Hale, even if to critique them. Gina bought me this book for my Kindle awhile back, as I've expressed greater interest in exploring American history in the past few years. The Revolutionary period is my favorite period of American history as the "idea" of America continues to exercise a powerful hold on my imagination.

Sometimes, I wonder whose side I would have been on had I been alive at the time as the history reveals that it was not all good guys vs. I would not consider this an introduction, but more of a specia Gina bought me this book for my Kindle awhile back, as I've expressed greater interest in exploring American history in the past few years. I would not consider this an introduction, but more of a specialized overview. It is very heavy on military tactics, which often made for repetitive reading and far outweighed the political and ideological battles which are more interesting to me.

I'm not remotely an expert on American history, so I can't comment much on content. But I will say this is definitely worth a read, and has the rare quality of being a reasonably unbiased source of information lacking any obvious political slant in its telling of what happened, how, and why. Who are we as Americans and where do we come from? The answers begin here. Jun 18, Michael rated it really liked it.

Robert Middlekauff, the author, presents a well researched factual account which spans the time period from roughly the French and Indian War until the ratification of the constitution. This was not a fight between two homogeneous sides; there were actually four sides in the fight, Patriots and Tories in America, pro-war and anti-war factions in England. All are well represented in "Cause. I could not think of a thing which was left out of this book, even Black-Americans and Native Americans were considered.

If you read just one book on the Revolution, this is it. Nov 02, Dave rated it liked it Shelves: This book is an onerous, though rewarding, introductory historical text. It doesn't offer much commentary outside the battles and conventions--though I wouldn't expect as much from a general history from 30 years ago. Middlekauff acquits himself well, and he knows his stuff.

I read about a half-hour every night I don't recommend This book is an onerous, though rewarding, introductory historical text. I read about a half-hour every night I don't recommend ploughing through , and it was overall a very enjoyable experience and a good initial foundation of the American Revolution. Now, I'm looking for texts that challenge, rather then expound, the traditional historical narrative.

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Nov 29, Joel Arnold rated it really liked it. I came to this book after reading by McCullough and wishing I could finish the war. Middlekauff did not disappoint. This work is certainly written on a scholarly level and Middlekauff is a careful historian. As a result, the book is hardly as entertaining as , but the picture it presents of the era is often more illuminating. Middlekauff includes chapters on religion, domestic life, international events, politics, and culture, in addition to the military events. I finished this book feel I came to this book after reading by McCullough and wishing I could finish the war.

I finished this book feeling as if I had lived through the era and had a limited understanding of the broader context. If you are willing to read through passages that may not be immediately entertaining, and if you can stay interested for pages you will be very glad you read this book. May 26, David rated it really liked it. Part of the Oxford History of the United States, this is the 2nd edition of the title and has been extensively revised.

It's a challenging read. Nov 03, Diane rated it liked it. Wow, I never knew how much I didn't know! Still couldn't pass a quiz on the American Revolution though. Liked the tangents more than battle descriptions. Mar 26, Misha rated it did not like it. It was extremely painful to read through the first chapter. Time's Convert Deborah Harkness. The Farewell Tour Chris Hedges. Tuesdays With Morrie Mitch Albom. The Restless Wave Mark Salter.

Fire and Fury Michael Wolff. On Thin Ice Hugh Rowland. Walden Henry David Thoreau. The Soul of America Jon Meacham. In Patagonia Bruce Chatwin. All the President's Men Carl Bernstein. Lincoln's Last Trial David Fisher. Alexander Hamilton Ron Chernow. Black Klansman Ron Stallworth. The Deserters Charles Glass. Gardens of the High Line Rick Darke.

Profits Over People Noam Chomsky. Ambitious Brew Professor Maureen Ogle. Hidden Figures Margot Lee Shetterly. The Jungle Upton Sinclair. Playa GiroN Santiago Rivas. Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup. Van Horne's Road Omer Lavallee. Rodeo Queens Joan Burbick.