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Extended Audio Sample Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free, by John Ferling Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Ferling Narrator: Robert Fass Publisher: Tantor Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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No event in American history was more pivotal—or more furiously contested—than Congress’ decision to declare independence in July 1776. Even months after American blood had been shed at Lexington and Concord, many colonists remained loyal to Britain. John Adams, a leader of the revolutionary effort, said bringing the fractious colonies together was like getting “thirteen clocks to strike at once.”

Other books have been written about the declaration, but no author has traced the political journey from protest to revolution with the narrative scope and flair of John Ferling. Independence takes readers from the cobblestones of Philadelphia into the halls of Parliament, where many sympathized with the Americans and furious debate erupted over how to deal with the rebellion. Independence is not only the story of how freedom was won, but how an empire was lost.

At this remarkable moment in history, high-stakes politics was intertwined with a profound debate about democracy, governance, and justice. John Ferling, drawing on a lifetime of scholarship, brings this passionate struggle to life as no other historian could. Independence will be hailed as the finest work yet from the author Michael Beschloss calls “a national resource.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mesmerizing. Masterful. History written with the gravitational pull of a good novel. A history book that deserves to become a big bestseller.”

    Dan Rather

  • “Noted for his knowledge of the Revolutionary era, Ferling…again gives us a narrative hard to surpass in fluency and authority.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A venerable historian of the American Revolution focuses on the events between the shot heard round the world and the signing of the Declaration of Independence … A lucid, erudite account of a period both terrifying and supremely inspiring.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “John Ferling has established himself as one of the leading chroniclers of the American Revolution, but Independence goes beyond anything he has written before. Instead of recycling the familiar story of the Revolution, he has given us an enlightening and exciting book that proves that history has no guarantees or foreordained outcomes. Expertly blending biographical vignettes with fast-paced narrative and sure-footed interpretation, Ferling captures the mystery of historical contingency in exploring the period between the Boston Tea Party in 1773 and the declaration of American independence in 1776. Not even the founding fathers knew what the future would bring; Ferling performs a national public service in reminding us of this basic fact, and demonstrating it with elegance and style.”

    R. B. Bernstein, distinguished adjunct professor of law, New York Law School, and author of The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

  • “This is how it really happened. In unequivocal prose, John Ferling captures the combined bluster and outrage on both sides of the Atlantic. He exposes the quirks, while exploring the vision, of the opinionated, opportunistic delegates who were present in Philadelphia in 1776; he shows us just how they rhetorically overcame the ‘mystique of invincibility’ that attached to the British military, before launching America, in the words of one delegate, ‘on a most Tempestuous Sea.’ Independence is rich in personality, and Ferling unsurpassed as an authority. This is no ordinary history.”

    Andrew Burstein, author of Jefferson’s Secrets

  • “In clear and elegant prose and with formidable scholarship, John Ferling freshly examines the period that led to declaring independence. By focusing on the character of leaders in both England and her colonies as they intersected with circumstances, he captures the uncertainty of the times and the unpredictable journey to the declaration itself.”

    Edith B. Gelles, author of Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage

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About the Author
Author John Ferling

John Ferling is professor emeritus of history at the State University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he has appeared in many documentaries and has written numerous books, including The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon, Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution, and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic.