‘To say that Atkinson can tell a story is like saying Sinatra can sing … A powerful new voice has been added to the dialogue about [America’s] origins as a people and a nation. It is difficult to imagine any reader putting this beguiling book down without a smile and a tear.’ New York Times
In June 1773, King George III attended a grand celebration of his reign over the greatest, richest empire since ancient Rome. Less than two years later, Britain’s bright future turned dark: after a series of provocations, the king’s soldiers took up arms against his rebellious colonies in America. The war would last eight years, and though at least one in ten of the Americans who fought for independence would die for that cause, the prize was valuable beyond measure: freedom from oppression and the creation of a new republic.
Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about the Second World War has long been admired for his unparalleled ability to write deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative history. In this new book, he tells the story of the first twenty-one months of America’s violent effort to forge a new nation. From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1776–77, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force and struggle to avoid annihilation.
It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes one of America’s greatest battle captains; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves himself the nation’s wiliest diplomat; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost.
Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of America’s creation drama.