In addition to an English degree, I also have a history degree. Both subjects have long been favorites of mine (thanks to really great teachers) and while it seems like I favor my English leanings, I really love history and everything it involves.
My history classes in college really inspired me to learn more. It is impossible to learn everything about who we have been and where we have come from in 4 years and 40 credit hours in university. My own history education is limited (like my literature education is) and I have taken measures to learn more.
There are certain eras and subjects that interest me more than others. My two specializations are in Mexican history and American history, so I know a little more about those eras (However, you ask me anything about China and Japan and I am at a loss).
Obviously I treasure American history and I hold it dear to my heart. It is the story of my past and tells me how and why we got to where we are today. But within all that, I have a deep and abiding love for the American Revolution. So when I saw 1776 by David McCullough I knew I needed to read it.
It is not the story of the revolution and what we accomplished. It is not the story of how we got there with the shootings at Lexington and Concord, Paul Revere's ride, and the countless other revolutionary tales we hold dear. Instead, it is the story of one single year, 1776, and the beginnings of what we call America.
Told in a seamless narrative, McCullough takes us through the beginnings of a fledgling nation. He shows us the plight of the American army as they attempt to take on the massive British navy and highly trained troops. The soldiers shows us that they had a true reason to fight and were standing up for beliefs that many of us who live in this country no longer hold on to.
It was an amazing time in our country's history. There were great men with ideas for change and the crazy thing is, they succeeded.
And 1776 captures this feeling of hope and innovation in way that makes you wish you were there to see it. It is not a boring history textbook full of impersonal details. Everything comes alive and General Washington is an inspiring and motivational character that I wish we had around today. Maybe he could get this country unified and together as it has not been since he led men into battle.
If history is not your thing and you haven't read any history books since high school, I still STRONGLY recommend this masterpiece. It shows the faith and hope of the people who we came from. What could be more inspirational than that?