Edmund S. Morgan's "The Birth of the Republic" is an excellent overview of the major points of the history of America throughout the revolutionary period.
To briefly summarize the book; Morgan first begins by examining the relationship between the American colonies and the English Parliament. He focuses mainly on the unfair taxation that was forced upon the colonies by the English and other infringements of liberties committed by Parliament. The colonies "admitted Parliament's right to use duties, from which an incidental revenue might arise... but denied the right to levy duties for the purpose of revenue"(36). Morgan develops on the increasingly unpleasant relations between the two (backing up his claims, such as the one quoted above, with reference to some influential writers from that time such as Dulany and Dickinson), and ties it directly with the declaration of independence.
Morgan refrains from discussing military issues in depth and sticks to mainly the political aspects of the revolution and how ideas and principles developed.
He only devotes a few pages to the war, but that is it.
Morgan describes the problems (along with the achievements and benefits) of the Articles of Confederation very effectively. He discusses how the problems were recognized and how the framers set out to discuss and revise the articles, eventually leading up to the creation of a completely new federal Constitution which formed the basis of a new national government.
Along the way, Morgan brings up important issues during those times such as slavery and property quite frequently, and manages to adequately rationalize the motives of the framers relative to the former and the latter.
Morgan ends his telling of the American tale with the ratification of the Constitution and leaves the reader with some words that provoke thought.
Morgan's thesis throughout the book is clear:...