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Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence

af John Ferling

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
547432,420 (4.22)12
In 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, itwas 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 asleadership 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, includingWashington 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 andsacrificed, 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 Ferlingignore 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 andthen one of insightful and dauntless statesmanship.… (mere)
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Luck, chance, weather, skill, personalities, perseverance, and so much more than I was ever taught in school came into play during the War of Independence. That the United States actually won the fight for its independence really is almost a miracle. ( )
  parloteo | Dec 21, 2019 |
This was a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. Ferling's detailed descriptions of the battle lines and strategies are very informative but more maps would have been helpful. One account I found informative was his account of British Captain Ferguson's opportunity to take out Washington at Brandywine with clear shot to his back. He passed on it because he viewed it as cowardly and dishonorable as a soldier to do so. I found Mr. Ferling to be pretty tough on Washington both as a general and a human being. He describes him mostly as vain, indecisive, insecure, parsimonious, and obsessed with his own reputation. My guess is that, like most of us, he was all of these things at one time or another, but the author seems to me to go out of his way to point to these for almost every failure of the continental army. I guess it does serve to humanize Washington if you have him on a pedestal. His analysis of the war in the south is excellent and I especially liked reading about the Battle of Kings Mountain which was new to me. I didn't know that virtually all the participants on both sides were Americans, Loyalists vs. Patriots. Coincidentally, Ferguson figures in this battle also as he leads the Loyalist militia. ( )
1 stem SDiMeglio | Apr 7, 2010 |
Almost a Miracle retells the military history of the American Revolution. But it is more than a new narrative of battles and dates. Instead it focuses on the strategic and tactical decisions made by both British and American leaders. Why did the British not fortify Dorchester Heights outside Boston? Why did Washington wait so long before doing so? Each year of the war is introduced with a chapter on strategic choices being made that determine the nature of the year’s campaign. Major battles are described from the perspective of why the generals made their particular forms of attack or defense.

I’ve read a lot of American Revolution history. I enjoyed getting Ferling’s spin on a story I love.

My complete review is on my blog, Nate's Library, specifically at: http://nates-library.blogspot.com/2007/11/john-ferling-almost-miracle.html ( )
  nbradle2 | Dec 17, 2008 |
Superb. Ferling writes with clarity and great economy and packs a lot of history *and* analysis in almost 600 pages. As the title would suggest, he believes that good fortune played a major role in the American victory. Ferling argues that Washington, too, was lucky. Intriguingly, Ferling has New England effectively winning their independence after Saratoga. However, he argues that the British Southern Strategy could have been a success with the Carolinas and Georgia staying with the Crown. Essentially, the Revolutionary War was a close run thing, with the Franco-American victory at Yorktown coming in the nick of time to prevent a likely peace settlement in 1782. For anyone remotely interested in the American Revolution. ( )
1 stem mensheviklibrarian | Jul 17, 2007 |
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In 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, itwas 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 asleadership 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, includingWashington 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 andsacrificed, 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 Ferlingignore 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 andthen one of insightful and dauntless statesmanship.

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