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Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 9, 2010

139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second title in the George Washington series (after To Try Men's Souls) offers an energetic dramatization of the Continental Army's grim winter bivouac at Valley Forge, Pa., in 1777. The bulk of the narrative is filtered through the sensitive eyes of young Pvt. Peter Wellsley, a member of Washington's elite headquarters guard detail, while Washington's chief lieutenants, including French aristocrat Lafayette, Prussian drillmaster Baron von Steuben, and tempestuous commissary commander "Mad Anthony" Wayne are vividly sketched. Meanwhile, the political intrigues of Gen. Horatio Gates (the dubious hero of Saratoga) to unseat Washington as he struggles to survive at Valley Forge play out in Congress. Finally, in June 1778, Washington attacks the British pulling back from Philadelphia to New York City and scores a redemptive victory with an able assist from American soldiers' wives, like Molly Pitcher, who carry water and ammo to sustain the battle line. Gingrich and Forstchen recreate the sights and smells of the Continental Army's hand-to-mouth camp life and the battlefield action around Valley Forge with a brisk panache that should bode well for future entries. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Writing team Gingrich and Forstchen follow up the success of To Try Men’s Souls (2009) with another novelization of a seminal episode in the history of Revolutionary-era America. Once again, George Washington provides both the narrative focal point and the moral core of the story, as he and his fledgling Continental Army struggle to survive the bitter winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Undernourished, ill-clothed, and utterly dispirited by the lack of organized support from Congress, Washington and his ragtag band of brothers nevertheless persevere under the most trying of circumstances, transforming themselves—with a bit of timely assistance from Baron von Steuben—into a more disciplined and determined fighting force. The dialogue tends to get a little long-winded, and the authors are unabashed cheerleaders for GW—but, really, who can blame them? American readers can’t get enough of Valley Forge, so expect high demand for this fair-to-middling fictional adaptation. High Demand Backstory: The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and his coauthor have made a name for themselves in their writing partnership. --Margaret Flanagan

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312591071
  • ASIN: B004Z4M3FC
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Miguel Ali on November 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen have given us another gem of American History in writing Valley Forge, a sequel to their last book, To Try Men's Souls. In writing the review below, I recommend all to read this book on the basis of its historical richness, told through narrative story, as well as its thematic commentary upon what makes America great.

First off, the historical accuracy of this book is phenomenal, and quite frankly, I probably learned more in reading this book than most history books that tend to be three times in size. Historical characters like Moses Wheeler, Horatio Gates, and the great Marquis Lafayette, all occupy very important roles within American history, but few texts go to the lengths that Valley Forge does in noting their stories (for example, Wikipedia, at this moment, doesn't even seem to have a page dedicated to Moses Wheeler, a blackmark for any website that claims superior, historical records).

And while Gingrich and Forstchen have gone to meticulous lengths to stitch the story behind Valley Forge, the most important reason for reading this book is that it is deeply compelling. In particular, with regard to the theme, we become most engaged over the contrasting stories between Marquis Lafayette and Allen Van Dorn.

While a Frenchman by birth, Lafayette is a real, historical character, a young man who studied under George Washington, eventually earning Washington's trust and leading important groups of American soldiers. As described by Gingrich and Forstchen, Lafayette is haughty, anxious and overeager, yet his hunger to birth a country based on enforced freedoms gives him the courage that ultimately wins Washington's trust.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By DucDave on November 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
What an emotionally charged novel! But it's really more than a novel. The authors have unbelievably described what drove the revolutionary fighters and have revealed the finest, minute details of their thought processes. The painstaking detail in this book cannot be described. The detail is so exact that you swear the authors witnessed everything they wrote.

Our studies in school taught us that what has become the United States of America rode on the backs of these brave revolutionary men who were starving, barely clothed and stretched beyond the capacity of the human body and mind and the women who supported them. However, this book takes us inside the war with such detail, to where we seemingly live and breathe with those who fought it, to where we understand in such intimate detail and depth their thoughts and fears, and to where we are so engrossed in a book as to live through it with them!

You will be amazed at how well you come to know the characters and their steadfast convictions to persevere under the worst of circumstances. You come to love characters like `Old Moses.' You're deeply touched when `Deborah Hewes,' a somewhat war-hardened middle aged woman turns her bold facade to tenderness when she looks after an 18 year soldier who she says should be home in bed and not in the dangers of war.

This book has moved me and taught me more than any history book I've ever read on the subject. It finally satisfies the question, "I wonder what it was like back then?" You will never know what really went into the making of this country until you read `Valley Forge'.......and then you will never forget it.
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Format: Hardcover
We all know the images of Washington praying in the snow at Valley Forge. Some of us have some vague ideas about the events in the winter of 1777 and early 1778 being critical to the Revolution, but couldn't tell the story of what happened there. Even the few who can recount the facts of the story tell it as an accomplished thing. And somehow knowing the end takes away from the seriousness of the events as they were for the people who lived through them. They did not know the outcome of their first few days at Valley Forge let alone what might come next spring or how long the War would take or who would win that struggle. We take for granted that Washington was the hero of the Revolution and the most important and respected of our Founders. Not so in December of 1777. And this is why this novelization of those events is so terrific. We get to experience the uncertainty. As we read the story we feel the cold, the starvation, the uniforms reduced to filthy rags, and the sense of wanting to die or to try and go home rather than continue the struggle in these incredibly harsh conditions.

Gingrich and Forstchen have added an even more compelling installment to their story of Washington and the Revolution. I really loved "To Try Men's Souls" To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom (George Washington 1) and encourage you to read it, but I think this is even better. They achieved a real sense of bleakness when the Continental Army arrived at Valley Forge with no food, no uniforms, not shelter, and no tools to use to build the small cabins they so desperately needed.
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