In To Try Men's Souls, New York Times bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen cast a new light on the year 1776 and the man who would become the father of our nation, George Washington. Valley Forge picks up the narrative a year after Washington's triumphant surprise attack on Trenton, and much has changed since then.
It's the winter of 1777, and Washington's battered, demoralized army retreats from Philadelphia. Arriving at Valley Forge, they discover that their repeated requests for a stockpile of food, winter clothing, and building tools have been ignored by Congress. With no other options available, the men settle down for a season of agony. For weeks the dwindling army freezes under tents in the bitter cold. Food runs out. Disease festers. The men are on the point of collapse, while in Philadelphia the British, joined by Allen van Dorn, the Loyalist brother of the dead patriot, Jonathan van Dorn, live in luxury.
In spite of the suffering and deceit, Washington endures all, joined at last by a volunteer from Germany, Baron Friederich von Steuben. With precious few supplies and even less time, von Steuben begins the hard task of recasting the army as a professional fighting force capable of facing the British head-on—something it has never accomplished before—and in the process he changing the course of history.
Valley Forge is a compelling, meticulously researched tour-de-force novel about endurance, survival, transformation, and rebirth. It chronicles the unique crucible of time and place where Washington and his Continental Army, against all odds, were forged into a fighting force that would win a revolution and found the United States of America.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good read. Very much enjoyed the history lesson.
Good book for what it is
It is a good book that is worth the read. The ending leaves a lot to be desired. There is pain staking time taken to develop characters and the book never really hits a climax.