This book by Joseph J Ellis is one of the best American Revolution books you can start with.
Ellis picks up the narrative in late spring, 1776, and carries through the campaign to defend New York City through the fall of the same year. He calls this summer “the most vulnerable moment of the war” for the American side.
Writing about JUST this time frame allows Ellis to include 2 very important events that created the very basic structure that the rest of the war would be built upon.
First: May, June and July saw the debate and decision to take that huge step and turn away from possible reconciliation with the British Empire. Early summer 1776 is when the American colonies finally decided that they were independent and that any resolution other than independence was impossible.
Second: The British military arrived to subdue the rebellious colonies and reconcile them back under the control of the British Empire.
However because the decision to declare independence occurred BEFORE the ‘peace’ commission arrived, the Americans were totally averse to reconciliation. This made the British commander-in-chief’s objectives to reinstate the colonies unobtainable.
The struggle and resulting decisions from these two events are what made the summer of 1776 both iconic in Americans’ memories as well as so influential in the course of the Revolution.
If you’re looking for a good American Revolution 101 book, with a good narrative to learn the basics, Revolutionary Summer by Joseph J Ellis is it.