It’s one thing to simply read President Washington’s words as related through an intermediary, and quite another to hold in your hands a faithful recreation of his original letter—this experience significantly personalizes the history. McCullough bucks textbook compression of history, amplifying the legacy of towering historical figures by focusing on their uncertainties and doubts in a time when it seemed like the fledgling independence movement would be snuffed out in its cradle. A gorgeous, coffee-table friendly book, 1776: The Illustrated Edition is in fact abridged. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that McCullough has shirked his duty to the past by simplifying or compressing the truth, however. The historian has tightened the original text to provide room for an impressive array of images and illustrations that make the book a fascinatingly immersive trip back to the 18th century. [Amazon]
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