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Rick Atkinson, best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, explores the Revolutionary War in a new trilogy.

The British Are Coming

The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

Volume one of Rick Atkinson's Revolution Trilogy is The British Are Coming which recounts the first 21 months of America’s violent war for independence.  From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1776-1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force, led by none other than General George Washington.

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 our country’s creation drama.

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A Novice General

At the start of the Revolutionary War, it had been seventeen years since General George Washington last wore a military uniform and he was only a provincial officer with limited experience in frontier combat. But it quickly became clear, Washington was instinctively, brilliantly, a political general.

Writing the Revolution

The American Revolution is a creation story that accounts for who we are, where we came from, what we believe, and what our forebears were willing to die for. Rick Atkinson’s new trilogy show the war as soldiers and militiamen saw it—terrifying, bestial, and occasionally grand—and as generals fought it, sometimes well, often badly.

King George III on the American Revolution

King George III was shrewder, more complex, and more intriguing than we often acknowledge. He was king for sixty years, from 1760 to 1820. He was frugal in an age of excess, pious at a time of impiety. He despised disorder and loathed disobedience.

Siege of Boston

Britain, the greatest empire the world had seen since ancient Rome, found itself bottled up in the small provincial town of Boston, and then, after months of misery, was forcibly evicted from that place by a ragged mob of rebels.

Defeat in New York

The American Revolution nearly came to a bad end barely a year after it began. New York was set in an archipelago with almost eight hundred miles of waterfront, and the British commanded the sea. Then more than 20,000 British and Hessian troops landed and all of Long Island was lost. The rest of the New York campaign didn’t go much better for the Americans.

Trenton and Princeton

Chased out of New York and across New Jersey by a large, vengeful British army, the Americans took refuge in Pennsylvania and Washington conjured up a plan, crossing the Delaware on Christmas night. Desperation had driven him to this perilous moment and for all its melodrama, the assault shows Washington’s generalship at its finest.

Washington's Sanctuary

Mount Vernon was not only George Washington’s home and estate, it was his sanctuary and symbolized tranquility, security, and personal achievement. Even when he was on battlefields far from Virginia, Mount Vernon was never far from his thoughts.

Conversations at the Washington Library Podcast with Rick Atkinson

Conversations at the Washington Library is a weekly podcast about early American history and the people who teach it.

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About the Author

Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy—An Army at Dawn, The Day of Battle, and The Guns at Last Light—as well as The Long Gray Line and other books. His many awards include Pulitzer Prizes for history and journalism. A former staff writer and senior editor at The Washington Post, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Author Rick Atkinson at the Washington Library at Mount Vernon (Shenk)

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