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To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom (George Washington Series) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 231 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Revolutionary War Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After hacking their way through the Civil War and WWII, former House Speaker Gingrich and historian Forstchen take on the Revolutionary War with decidedly mixed results. Sharing narration duties are Thomas Paine, George Washington and Jonathan van Dorn, a young private in Washington's army. From Washington's crossing of the Delaware River to a daring night raid on the better-armed Hessians, the authors do a decent job of depicting the dire plight of the Continental Army, though the big chunks of backstory wedged into the narrative add little texture while slowing the pace dramatically. Historical cameos abound, and these, combined with the attention devoted to the gritty details of army life, help to offset Washington's acts of patriotic melodrama in what is surely to become another popular book for Gingrich and Forstchen. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“This fictionalized account of the crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War goes way beyond the textbook versions. William Dufris, as the main narrator, traces the journeys of three very different men―George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Jonathon Van Dorn―portraying the distinct manner of each character.” ―AudioFile

“Narrators William Dufris, Callista Gingrich, and Eric Conger are excellent in their conveying of emotion and accents, making us privy to these characters' thoughts and fears, their courage and determination.” ―Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Series: George Washington Series (Book 1)
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427207755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427207753
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By a VINE VOICE on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's ironic that someone as politically polarizing as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich could co-author such a straightforward, inspirational novel as "To Try Men's Souls." As someone who has never aligned with Gingrich's politics, I had to force myself not to turn away from this novel. Fortunately, my interest in colonial history prompted me to give it a chance, and I'm glad I did. This dyed-in-the-wool Democrat loved this novel by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen.

Focused specifically, and with extraordinary detail, on the late December 1776 crossing of the Delaware and the battle of Trenton, New Jersey, the novel unequally divides the action and perspective between General Washington, Tom Paine, and a sickly private from New Jersey. The story is Wasington's, as it really should be, and he dominates the narrative. The private appears occasionally to provide the every-man, dedicated patriot perspective and also to offer insight into the brother-against-brother conflict that arose during the Revolutionary War. Paine's words, specifically "The American Crisis I," form the emotional core and bridge all three narratives together. Paine himself appears in a handful of brief episodic flashbacks; his writing is the real star, not the man.

I was moved by the story, enchanted by the attention to detail, and pleased by all of the little flourishes right down to the novel's typeface reflecting the colonial time period. This is truly a book for all Americans regardless of your political affiliations. I encourage everyone to look beyond the politics of the authors, if that is even an issue for you, and enjoy this well-written tribute to this country's patriot heroes. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To Try Men's Souls follows one day in the life of George Washington's army, in an educational yet entertaining blend of story and history. At times it felt no different than reading a history book, which was not unwelcome for someone like me who would have been just as happy had it been completely nonfiction, but the fiction helped me care about this familiar story in a way I never had before, both from General Washington's point of view, and that of one of his lowliest soldiers.

The book also follows Thomas Paine as he writes The American Crisis. Indeed, the whole book seems designed to allow the reader to understand The American Crisis with all the context and emotional investment of one living during those times. As I read the copy included at the end, I could easily feel how it would have inspired those fighting for our independence.

We live in a time when patriotism is unpopular. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to reconnect with the patriotism of our founders.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'To Try Men's Souls' is a poignant and timely reminder of the challenges faced by those brave persons of the Revolutionary War 233 years ago. Imagine no adequate roads, no motorized vehicles or watercraft, rifles that had to be reloaded after each shot, and travel on a stormy night. Actually, stormy doesn't accurately describe the weather conditions that December 25th - 26th...sleet, freezing rain, bone chilling wind, snow...a night that we would have a hard time venturing out in, even with all our modern contrivances. Now add men...men who knew naught but defeat, men with mud-caked clothing little better than rags, often barefoot, suffering from a wide range of diseases caused by hunger, exposure, and substandard food and water. Men, who willingly chose to serve their young country a month longer than they were required. Add one ice choked river (crossed twice in 24 hours), a nighttime march to a daytime battle, two flooded ravines, heavy artillery, and nine miles of icy hills and fields (one way)...and waiting for you at the end, the finest fighting force of their time - the Hessians. The Battle of Trenton was so much more than just one battle in a war long ago; it was the proving point for our young nation - it was the point where our patriotic forefathers threw everything they had left at an enemy that represented the oppressive evil of bondage - be it outright slavery or fealty to a king.

What drove these brave men on this cold, miserable night in December 1776? One word - FREEDOM. The barely glowing ember of freedom was on the verge of going out as Congress had all but abandoned Philadelphia. But on that night, and with their backs against the wall, with a watchword of "Victory or Death", freedom burned fiercely in the hearts of those brave men marching on Trenton.
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Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen leave the Civil War and World War II to write their first book about the Revolutionary War. The book traces the disastrous defeats and retreats from Long Island, Manhattan, New Brunswick, all the way to the Delaware River near Trenton.

The biggest debacle was the Continental Army's retreat at Fort Lee in the N.J.Palisades where they fled without firing a shot and left valuable supplies behind. The missing supplies would become very important, since they included blankets and boots so desperately needed in winter warfare. Maybe the Continental Army thought the war would be over during the summer, since enlistments were for only six months! Can you imagine the troops of today just walking away and going home after such a short enlistment? That was happening, along with countless desertions, when facing the professional British troops and the Hessian mercenaries.

Gen. George Washington, Col. Henry Knox (Chief of Artillery) and Thomas Paine proved to be the real heroes in this conflict. Without their military knowledge and Thomas Paine's pamphlet "The American Crisis" to spur on the troops morale, all would have been lost. The actual recrossing of the Delaware River from McKonkey's Ferry in Pennsylvania to Trenton is a matter of history. Some little known facts are that it happened during a nor'easter, the troops were mostly barefooted and had to march nine miles through rain, mud, sleet and snow. After the Continental Army defeated the Hessians, they had to march those same nine miles back to Pennsylvania, before British reinforcements arrived. This battle on Christmas of 1776 was the first victory of consequence for the Americans and set the tone for the rest of the war.
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