The British Are Coming

Volume One of the Revolution Trilogy

From the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy comes the extraordinary first volume of his new trilogy about the American Revolution

“To say that Atkinson can tell a story is like saying Sinatra can sing…. It is as if Ken Burns somehow gained access to a time machine, traveled back to the Revolutionary era, then captured historical scenes on film as they were happening…. It is difficult to imagine any reader putting this beguiling book down without a smile and a tear.”

—Joseph J. Ellis, The New York Times Book Review

“[Atkinson has a] felicity for turning history into literature…. One lesson of The British Are Coming is the history-shaping power of individuals exercising their agency together: the volition of those who shouldered muskets in opposition to an empire…. The more that Americans are reminded by Atkinson and other supreme practitioners of the historians’ craft that their nation was not made by flimsy people, the less likely it is to be flimsy.

—George F. Will, The Washington Post

“For sheer dramatic intensity, swinging from the American catastrophes at Quebec and Fort Washington to the resounding and surprising successes at Trenton and Princeton, all told in a way equally deeply informed about British planning and responses, there are few better places to turn.”

The Washington Post

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Overview · Excerpt · Reviews · Interviews · Illustrations · Maps

Rick AtkinsonRick 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.

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Interview with Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson and Rick Atkinson discuss The British Are Coming on Amanpour and Company

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Find out the latest happenings with Rick Atkinson and with the publication of the first volume of the Revolution Trilogy:

5/31/19 / Washington Crossing / Washington Crossing, PA

6/4/2019 / Tattered Cover / Colfax location / Denver, CO

6/5/2019 / Bookpeople Austin’s Central Library / Austin, TX

6/10/2019 / Kepler’s Literary Foundation / San Francisco, CA

6/12/2019 / Seattle Public Central Library / Seattle, WA

6/13/2019 / Oregon Historical Society / Portland, OR

6/26/2019 / AUSA / Lemnitzer Lecture / Arlington, VA

7/4/2019 / Mt. Vernon / Mount Vernon, VA

8/31/2019 / National Book Festival / Washington, DC

9/5/2019 / Filson Historical Society / Louisville, KY

9/10/2019 / The Citadel / Charleston, SC

9/18/19 / US Army & Education Heritage Center / Carlisle, PA

10/23/2019 / Virginia Museum of History & Culture / Richmond, VA

11/14/19 / Georgia Historical Society / Savannah, GA

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George Washington, 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.

Rick Atkinson on Writing the American 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 shows 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 and 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.

The Crucial Revolutionary War Battles Of Princeton and Trenton

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

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Refuge of Tranquility

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.