A Look Back at the "Revolutionary Summer" of 1776 (Encore Presentation)
(Note: This interview originally aired in 2014.) Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis, who has written several well-regarded books on the events and persons concerning the founding of the United States. His fascinating book called "Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence" -- which he discusses with us today -- details two seminal events in the summer of 1776, both of them quite central to our nation's founding. Of course, the activity of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia (resulting in the signing of the Declaration of Independence) is one such event. But Ellis writes that the first encounter with the full imperial might of Great Britain, the disastrous New York military campaign -- where George Washington lost New York City and only barely extricated the ragtag Continental Army from complete annihilation -- was just as important. This resounding defeat is what solidified American opinion towards independence...as opposed to accepting a negotiated settlement and remaining a part of the British Empire. These remarks, from The Washington Post, are typical of how this book was received: "First-rate history.... [Ellis's] books are chock full of penetrating analysis, from their often-innovative structures to the provocative insights woven into their narratives. 'Revolutionary Summer' is no exception.... Ellis's admiration for Adams is infectious."