The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauff is a long book, but well worth reading. It’s comprehensive and detailed. It is well documented with footnotes. It also has excellent bibliography section with information for further reading. It’s not a political history or a military history of the war, it incorporates both. It doesn’t just tell you what happened during the American Revolution, it tells you why it happened. A considerable portion of the book, almost 1/3 of it, covers the years preceding the Revolution and explains not only what brought British Colonists to come to the decision to break away from the British Empire, but what caused the British Government to make the decisions that pushed the colonists to the breaking point. Additionally, Middlekauff covers the years immediately after the Revolution, explaining the Constitutional Convention, the deliberations and negotiations within it, and the subsequent ratification process.
This is the best overview of the American Revolution that I’ve read. I don’t see how you could possibly get any more detailed without turning it into a multi-volume work (it’s already part of a multi-volume set – the Oxford History of the United States). The only thing I would have liked to have seen was bit more inclusion of the Spanish involvement in the American Revolution, but other than that it’s hard to find anything negative about this book. For anyone wanting an in-depth look at the why, what, and how of the American Revolution, this is the book. Anyone with an interest in US History should add it to their reading list.