These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crises shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.
I have just finished the wonderful new book by David McCullough, 1776. I liked this book as much as I liked John Adams. Mr. McCullough has the wonderful ability to bring history to life and to make the men and women of that long ago era relevant.
As I read the book one thing that struck me time and again was the sense of providence which seemed to hang over that fateful year. In spite of mistakes such as the failure to secure the Jamaica Pass and the loss of New York George Washington managed through sheer tenacity to bring about a much needed victory at Trenton just in time to save the Revolution.
No doubt today George Washington would have been ruined in the early days of the war, and he almost was in his own time, this book makes it plain that winning the war of Independence required great sacrifice. A rabble army with no military experience took on the greatest power in the world and won.
It was nothing short of a miracle.
Read the book.
When I read about the monumental tasks of turning shoemakers and farmers into soldiers I thought of the Iraqis trying to build their country. There was a time when the survival of the United States of America seemed like an even greater long shot.
[Peter UK, no hard feelings]
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