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.
©2007 John Ferling (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"Dramatic Backstory of The War for Independence"
An impressive work that draws upon recent historical analysis to show that there was every reason to suppose at the time that the war effort would fail, but that owing to curious juxtapositions of people and events, all the evidence of a miraculous intervention, the darkest prospects suddenly turned to the most glorious triumph. The book conveys an understanding of that crucial period that underlines the hard challenges that Americans faced and the inspiration of George Washington's stellar perseverance and upright character that enabled both military and civilian segments of the population to endure. A most interesting aspect of the book is the insight into the political situations in England, especially after the British disaster at Yorktown. If you want a sweeping understanding of the miracle that established American independence, you would not be disappointed in taking the time to read or listen to this book.
"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.
"Tells a story we should all know."
I am unabashedly a history buff. This book of our beginning is so greatly defined that I found one thing missing for me ... a map to follow and mark as the story unfolded. No sugar coating here, just a darned good story! Oh yes, and loved the ending.
"Not worth it!"
I will never get another book from this author. He is very critical of everything Washington. Every history book I've read, or listened to, has criticized both Lee and Gates. Even David McCullough, in his book "1776", comments about Lees not following orders!
"Superb Military History of the American Revolution"
A well done example of one of the finest military histories of the American revolution. Rich in detail and story, both individual personalities and background as well as politics and campaign. One of the best I've read.
"Comprehensive, if a little dry."
I love books like this, but found "Almost a Miracle" to be about dry at times. I did find it very comprehensive.
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