To Try Men's Souls : A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom
After two bestselling series examining the Civil War and WWII, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen have turned their sharp eye for detail on the Revolutionary War. Their story follows three men with three very different roles to play in history: General George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Jonathan Van Dorn, a private in Washington's army.
The action focuses on one of the most iconic events in American history: Washington cross - ing the Delaware. Unlike the bold, courageous General in Emanuel Leutze's painting, Washington is full of doubt on the night of December 25, 1776. After five months of defeat, morale is dangerously low. Each morning muster shows that hundreds have deserted in the night.
While Washington prepares his weary troops for the attack on Trenton, Thomas Paine is in Philadelphia, overseeing the printing of his newest pamphlet, The Crisis.
And Jonathan Van Dorn is about to bring the war to his own doorstep. In the heat of battle, he must decide between staying loyal to the cause and sparing his brother who has joined up with the British. Through the thoughts and private fears of these three men, Gingrich and Forstchen illu minate the darkest days of the Revolution. With detailed research and an incredible depth of military insight, this novel provides a rare and personal perspective of the men who fought for, and founded the United States of America.
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.)
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Thomas Dunne Books
October 19, 2009
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