Be well and have a Great Summer.
DescriptionIn this gripping chronicle of America's struggle for independence, award-winning historian John Ferling transports readers 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, from the first shots fired on Lexington Green to the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, 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. The author explains why they served and sacrificed, and sees them as the forgotten heroes who won American independence. 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 readers 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.
"Ferling's narrative purpose dominates the structure of the book, but he artfully manages to do more than merely retell the events of the war."--Wayne Lee, The Journal of Southern History
"Arguably the best, and certainly one of the most stimulating, single-volume histories of the American Revolution.Exhaustively researched and clearly written..."--Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Comprehensive and engaging...Grand stuff and sweeping themes...Ferling is particularly strong in recreating the relentless misery of the war in Georgia and the Carolinas, an essential theater that is overlooked in many popular recountings."--Washington Post Book World
"In his richly detailed battle-by-battle account of the war, Ferling succeeds where other military histories fail by providing helpful background for those who don't know their flanks from their feints. He also brings the military leaders to life, exploring their backgrounds, their dispositions, their willingness to take risks."--Christian Science Monitor
"Monographs on the military history of the American Revolution are beyond count, but Ferling (emer., Univ. of West Georgia) has put together new and old materials in a compelling way...Upon finishing the book, readers will understand how true the title is. George Washington's flaws, the intricacies of congressional relations with the army and navy, the tactics of guerilla warfare, and the horrors of the battlefield--all are presented in a readable and academically sound manner. The vignette and brushstroke fit together flawlessly. General readers and specialists alike will applaud this work. Highly recommended."--CHOICE
"Rich, detailed, and sound."--The Weekly Standard
"John Ferling is a national resource, and Almost a Miracle is a splendid combination of subject with a superb historian writing at the peak of his powers. Ferling's brilliant book makes an important contribution to the scholarship of the Revolution while telling a gripping story that every American must know."--Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989
"Highly recommended. This very thoughtful book is informed by many years of teaching on the subject. It judgments are balanced, mature, and enlightening."--David Hackett Fischer, author of Washington's Crossing
"In Almost a Miracle , John Ferling offers a highly readable, fast-paced account of the military struggle of the War for Independence. He examines the campaigns and takes an unflinching look at the commanders on both sides to determine what led to Britain's surprising defeat and Americas seemingly miraculous victory. His study will remind readers of the importance of the southern campaigns in the American victory--and of the delight of a great narrative in the hands of a fine writer."--Caroline Cox, as the author of A Proper Sense of Honor: Service and Sacrifice in George Washington's Army
"No event in our nation's history is more important than the Revolution, and no historian has grasped this epic drama better than John Ferling. This fast paced narrative, anchored in exhaustive research reminds us that the American victory was never certain. A fragile, fractious coalition of thirteen weak states could easily have succumbed to Britain's might had it not been for the persistent courage and determination of the soldiers and sailors who fought in the patriot cause. Ferling is right our triumph was 'almost a miracle.'"-- William Fowler, Northeastern University and former Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society
"Revolutions come in two overlapping but distinct parts--a political upheaval and a clash of arms. John Ferling's sparkling treatment of the military components of the American Revolution provides an ideal companion piece to his earlier volume on its political dimensions."-- Lieutenant General (Ret.) Dave R. Palmer, author of George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots
"Offering a much-different spin on the American Revolution than in the usual flag-waving narratives, John Ferling persuasively presents an often-outgeneraled George Washington who, despite an undependable army and a bankrupt Congress, was unexpectedly fortunate in his alliesthe revengeful French, mishandled Loyalists, irreversible British attrition, and the broad Atlantic."--Stanley Weintraub, author of Iron Tears: Americas Struggle for Freedom, Britains Quagmire
Product Details704 pages; 41 halftones, 20 maps; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-518121-0ISBN10: 0-19-518121-2
About the Author(s)
John Ferling brings to this book nearly forty years of experience as a historian of early America. He is the author of nine books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and early American wars, and has appeared in four television documentaries devoted to the Revolution and the War of Independence. His book A Leap in the Dark won the Fraunces Tavern Book Award as the year's best book on the American Revolution. He and his wife live in metropolitan Atlanta.