In To Try Men's Souls, 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 lives under tents in the bitter cold. Food runs out. 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 von Steuben. 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 will change the course of history.
Valley Forge is a tour-de-force about endurance, survival, transformation, and rebirth. Washington and his Continental Army, against all odds, will be forged into a fighting force that will win a revolution.
©2010 Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
Great writing, excellent story telling, excellent narration (with the exception of Martha Washington) her reading is bland, it of sync, it just does not seem to fit, almost monotone. She sounds like she's "reading it".
Thankfully, there isn't much of that.
I really enjoyed all the of these in the series.
Gingrich and Forstchen have produced a magnificent account of the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. It is not only the story of 12,000 men who entered Valley Forge demoralized, untrained, unsupplied but under the leadership of Washington and the shear force of will and skill of Generals Wayne, Lafaayette and Von Steuben that they marched out of Valley Forge aa a true army finally equipped with enough training, supplies and pride to take on the British.
Although generally familiar with the Valley Forge story, I was left with a sense of pride, awe and inspiration of what Washington and his men were able to accomplish. Gingrich and Forstchen have a way of making you feel like you are actually there - feeling the cold, snow and hunger. You can imagine the suffering even the healthy men endured let alone those who were injured or stricken with diseases.
Besides Washington, the other key characters are Lafayette, Baron Von Steuben and a ficitonal character Allen Van Dorn. Washington provided the leadership, Lafayette the heart and Von Steuben the knowledge for colonists to march out of Valley Forge as real army with a real chance to stand toe to toe with the British for the first time. Van Dorn is a colonist who joined the British army. Through his eyes, you can experience the decisions that the colonists had to make on who to support.
If you like history and historical novels you will love this book.
I have enjoyed all of Gingrich's and Forstchen's history novels very much but Gingrich's daughter is a horrible reader and can only barely be tolerated. Durfris is not very good but becomes more acceptable as you progress through the novels. Callista is horrible and never changes regardless of which character she reads.
A terrific book! The narration brings the pages to life. Goose bumps and nervous anticipation leave you on the edge of your seat wanting to hear more, faster. It’s a wonderful distraction from everyday whatever. Download it to your smartphone, put on your slippers, and close the study door. Like “To Try Men’s Souls”, this book teaches you the history you may have missed growing up. At the end of the audible you’ll be filled with pride and very proud to be an American! What a great nation we live in, what a rich history we have.
I'm sorry for William Dufris who did a great job narrating. Callista Gingrich is amateurish at best. She is painful to listen to and puts me in mind of a kindergarten teacher reading to me.
Story was great. However I did not like the way the book referred to His slave Will Lee. The book referred to him as Washington's confidant. If Washington was such a good friend of Will. Why did he not free him and pay him as a valet? Will was freed only after Washington's death. I felt that there should have been condemnation of Washington for having slaves. The books coverage of Will Lee was very whimsical. It offended me.
The story is compelling. It shows how depth of character meant so much when our Country was forming. It means just as much now, and the past twenty four years has demonstrated what the lack of character does to a nation. I'm not only talking about government, but our classrooms, and the choices our citizens make on a daily basis.
Learn what it took for America to become it's own country. Washington was not the only hero.
Very educational and full of seldom heard of facts, American History and the sacrifices Washington and his men endured that aren't taught in modern history and seemed to have slipped through the cracks OF OUR HISTORY!!! Very well written.
I had not know the details of Valley Forge all that well. This book not only illuminated the facts it was a personal story of the major and everyday characters of the day. Higley recommend
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