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
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.
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.
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 spent about an hour listening to it and just couldn't get past the OVER dramatization of the narration. I'm sure this is a good book based on other reviews, but the dramatization just ruined it for me.
The narration by William Durfis is very good as he makes the character's come to life with their own personalities. This alone makes the audio edition worth the listen.
New Gingrich has several historical/ fiction books available. The book's content is rooted in historical facts and of course the dialouge is fictional, but realistic.
William Dufris did a fantastic job in voice acting this book. Callista's voice was a welcomed edition, however it was inconsitent as she occasionally spoke for Martha Washington, while Durfis also spoke for the former First Lady.
This is a 19 hour listen and I completed it over several days while traveling.
I thought I knew some history of the American Revolution. After listening to this great book I was interested from the first word to the last. The characters are very believable. Thank you for the great book. I am looking forward for more from this team of writers.
There were so many moments where this book almost brought me to tears. It is such a compelling story of the sacrifices that so many Americans made so that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. It talks about the contributions made by so many different Americans that it warms the heart.
In these trying times it helps put into perspective that the challenges we face today are not nearly what our fore fathers faced.
Not only was I given a stirring accounting of the history of my nation, it gave me personal stories that were woven in. I found myself sitting in my garage after driving home from work so I could listen longer.
The bravery, suffering and endurance made me teary. I'll be recommending this book to my friends and family
My dad used to say to us when my 3 brothers and I were growing up, 'What do they teach you in school? I can't believe you don't know your US history'! Well, he was right! I learned so much from this book and loved it! The story was so engaging, the narration spot on and I literally cried at the end. So very good! You will do yourself and your noggin a favor by listening, enjoying and enriching yourself!
Loved the book! Learned more about the Revolutionary War and Valley Forge than I did in school those many long years ago. It's "History" with flesh and the authors are very good storytellers. It kept me interested from start to finish. Highly recommended to anyone. Only negative is the reading of the women's parts by Callista Gingrich. I had the feeling she was just reading lines and put no real emotion into the reading. But overall - just loved it!
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