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About the BookA culminating work on the American Founding by one of its leading historians, The Cause rethinks the American Revolution as we have known it.
George Washington claimed that anyone who attempted to provide an accurate account of the war for independence would be accused of writing fiction. At the time, no one called it the "American Revolution" former colonists still regarded themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians, not Americans, while John Adams insisted that the British were the real revolutionaries, for attempting to impose radical change without their colonists' consent.
With The Cause, Ellis takes a fresh look at the events between 1773 and 1783, recovering a war more brutal than any in American history save the Civil War and discovering a strange breed of "prudent" revolutionaries, whose prudence proved wise yet tragic when it came to slavery, the original sin that still haunts our land. Written with flair and drama, The Cause brings together a cast of familiar and forgotten characters who, taken together, challenge the story we have long told ourselves about our origins as a people and a nation.
From the Back Cover
"Joseph Ellis advises us well in this important new book about America . . . Our national experiment unfolds still, a mix of hope and fear, light and dark. And there is no surer guide to the beginning of the journey than Ellis."
--Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion
"An exciting and engaging history of the American Revolution, superbly written, and all in one volume."
--Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
"Joseph Ellis reflects with great erudition on the American Revolution . . . With characteristically deft storytelling and piercing insight, he brings the perspectives of both the Americans and the British alive, revealing the nature of the conflict as the participants saw it. Challenging conventional wisdom, The Cause gives us a fresh take on the American Colonists' break with Great Britain."
--Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello
"In his splendid new book, sparkling with insight and wit, Joseph Ellis sheds new light on the colonists' bold, improvisational struggle to cut their ties with England . . . In Ellis's skillful hands, clashing personalities, suspenseful encounters, and ten transformational years come alive with surprising relevance."
--Susan Dunn, author of Dominion of Memories
"This riveting book is the culmination of Joe Ellis's great career chronicling the founding of our nation. Here he wrestles with the complexities of what we now call the Revolution, which succeeded partly because it was not fully a revolution. The prudence of its leaders led to a legacy that included both independence and slavery, a central contradiction of our history that Ellis brilliantly conveys."
-Walter Isaacson, best-selling author of Benjamin Franklin