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Publisher's Summary

Like many historical events, the American Revolution is sometimes overlooked, ignored, or minimized by historians due to being shrouded in romantic myth and stubborn stereotypes. Here historian Phillip Thomas Tucker provides an in-depth look at the events of the Battle of Trenton, weeding out fiction and legend and presenting new insights and analysis. Stories from many forgotten individuals of the war, including officers and soldiers from both sides, bring to life the Continental army’s desperate circumstances and shocking victory. Myths that Tucker debunks include the Hessians’ slovenly drunkenness, Washington acting alone in creating the attack strategy, and Rall’s incompetence as a leader contributing widely to his troops’ defeat.

By exploring the forgotten aspects of one of America’s most famous battles, Trenton’s story proves to be even more revealing and fascinating. In the end, America’s founding was nothing short of miraculous, and no chapter of America’s story was more miraculous than Washington’s improbable success at the battle of Trenton, where America’s fate was decided to almost everyone’s amazement on a dark, snowy morning.

©2014 Phillip Thomas Tucker (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about George Washington's Surprise Attack

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    2 out of 5 stars

Unbearably Tedious

What disappointed you about George Washington's Surprise Attack?

Washington's Crossing is one of the most exciting stories in American history. This book contains nuggets of insight that get buried under mind-numbing repetition.

Not only does the author restate his key points again and again, there are entire sentences that are restated again and again! I have to wonder if there was an editor working on the final copy.

Here is an example. Early on, the author states that the Battle Of Trenton is the first example of urban warfare in the Revolution. Interesting point! The phrase "urban warfare" is then repeated more than 50 times! Imagine a book on D-Day constantly reminding you that the battle took place on a beach. We got it. move on.

A second example: In one chapter, he mentions 16 times that John Stark - a great hero - was "Scots-Irish." The problem is that Stark was born in America. While his background is Scotch/Irish, after mentioning it once, what is its importance? Would a book on the preparations for D-Day mention that Patton was Scotch/Irish 16 times?

Additionally, in creating a picture of the battle, the author provides a confusing narrative. Again and again he reiterates how many bodies were left on the streets, how much blood flowed in Trenton. He describes "killing fields" and deadly close in attacks that left the town littered with bodies. And then at the end, he mentions the total number of Hessians killed in combat was 22.

There are several other books written about the Battle Of Trenton. Choose one of them!

Has George Washington's Surprise Attack turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has turned me off to other books by this author.

What aspect of Dennis Holland’s performance would you have changed?

It is more the fault of a droning and repetitive narrative. I suppose Holland did the best he could with the material before him.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Honestly, for all the fresh insights on this book, ones not covered by other authors, it could have been a long magazine article.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Details,Details.

Would you try another book from Phillip Thomas Tucker and/or Dennis Holland?

Maybe.

What was one of the most memorable moments of George Washington's Surprise Attack?

An appreciation of how massive artillery followed up by a spirited attack won the day.

Which character – as performed by Dennis Holland – was your favorite?

Washington

Did George Washington's Surprise Attack inspire you to do anything?

Learn more about Washington's 2nd crossing back to New Jersey.

Any additional comments?

Washington's Crossing by Hackett is one of my favorite audible books.I highly reccomend you listen to it first before you purchase Surprise Attack.I have listened to it several times. One thing I didn't know was that after Washington successfully attacked Trenton and recrossed the Delaware river back to Valley Forge,based on reports and requests from partisans and elements of his army who remained on the New Jersey side,Washington RECROSSED a 2nd time,REOCCUPIED and fortified Trenton against the British rushing up from Princeton.He harassed the British on their forced march from Princeton to Trenton only to deal them a humiliating bloody nose at the end.WOW!! It was my desire for more details about this and the initial attack why I purchased Washington's Surprise Attack.Details I got.For that reason it was a good listen in that I learned and appreciated more.However there is little emphasis on the 2nd crossing which is every bit as exciting as the 1st one.For that reason I think you should listen to Washington's Crossing first.You won't be disappointed and if you then want to get more of the minutiae
[I did] then listen to Washington's Surprise Attack

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DM
  • 04-09-21

A most excellent work

Probably the most detailed narration of Washington's crossing the Deleware and following battle of Trenton you may ever find. thorough and clear it gives a detailed description of all the major players in the battle and how they acted and why.
Mostly it clears up a lot of misconceptions about what happened in Trenton.
Sadly, before reading this book I could not have told you why the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware was so important. Like most, I could easily recognize and name the painting, but had no idea why it was significant. The start to the battle that ended in Trenton change America and Washington's legacy forever!
Read this book!

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Paid by the word

Slow as... 🐌. I am fairly tolerant of slow history but this was just ridiculous. It seemed as if he were paid by the word.

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Exhaustive and exhausting

First, the good points. There was substantial exhaustive research put into this book. It was recommended (by Audible) and free.
Now for the negative. Even if this book were half as long it would be too long. I stick with with though, more in the hopes to offer a warning to others to tread carefully. If one is looking to fill some 27 hours of boredom then it’ll be worth it.
The writing style would also be a great resource for high school or college students to learn how to fill a minimal page or word count. Facts were repeated over and over again, along with massive amounts of speculation. With the use of “maybe, likely, possibly,” and other speculation, the book leans towards a blend of fiction with a sprinkling of facts.
While the Trenton Campaign was a brilliant and successful venture, and of great importance, the author hoists Washington too far up the pedestal. This was 1776, undoubtably a banner of a year for the Declaration and this battle, but the war is just getting started. Yes, a win was needed, desperately. Yet, the author overstates that such brilliance in tactics and planning was paramount, as if Trenton was the turning point of the conflict. The Continental Army needed a win, and they got one; however, they would be subjected to several more years of a drubbing that had no tactical equivalent of success for a very long time.
Trenton was a brilliant event, and desperately needed. It was a mix of good tactics, desperation, timing, and utter surprise. It would not be repeated for years.
A reader or listener will learn many obscure facts, there’s no doubt. The book would be even better if it were abridged by 2/3rds.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent story of Washington’s Battle at Trenton on 26 December 1776

I listened to this book on Audible which was 27 hours and 12 minutes long. I had some years ago listened to Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer on CD. I found Tucker’s book far more interesting. Following the battle from personal descriptions of both sides makes it interesting. The only drawback with Audible is the lack of maps to follow the maneuvers of the battle, which is not possible while driving but if you have the Kindle it is possible to follow the text as it is read with the maps.
Tucker describes the Revolutionary War as a Civil War in some parts, which is a also a proper description. The British Army and the German troops called Washington’s Army the Rebels and traitors but Washington’s troops considered themselves as Patriots and the Continental Army. There was not complete support for the American Revolution as many of the people were still loyal to England. This was made clear by the fact some of the New Jersey counties that Washington’s army went through were loyalists and no one wanted to be left behind as a straggler from exhaustion. My ancestors in South Carolina had to also fight against their Loyalists neighbors, so this was not just a New Jersey occurrence.
Still this was an outstanding victory described in this book. Americans owe Washington and his soldiers the greatest praise for what they accomplished at Trenton. The book doesn’t just contain the scenes from the battle but biographies of both sides in the battle and events following the war. Hopefully, Tucker will follow up with the Battle of Princeton, NJ in January 1777.

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Great Historical Prespective

Great insight on both sides of the battle and dispelled several myths and well written.

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worth the time

Lots of nondailey information on an event that is all to often a speed bump in history.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Verbosity on steroids!

A truly detailed and fascinating account of the battle, HOWEVER, the author seems to ascribe to the belief that no thought that can be conveyed in just a few words isn’t better said in 50 or 60 - and then repeated incessantly throughout the book. As if trying to impress, the author uses a few 50-cent words over and over, sometimes two or three times in the same sentence. Although the high volume of research expended is acknowledged and appreciated, there are different numbers of casualties reported in different places towards the end of the book.

It’s a great story but would have been better told without the continuous repetition. Oh, for a brave editor with a sharp pen.

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Worst Audio Book I have ever bought

What disappointed you about George Washington's Surprise Attack?

Writer OVER Explains and repeatedly explains things with repetitive use of adjectives. If you tell me once that the Marblehead Regiments are comprised of Fisherman with great seamanship skills I got it. You do not have explain who they are EVERY sentence you mention them-especially in the same paragraph!!!! Narrator reads this like its a Greeting Card. In this way the book is just a collection of sentences that feel unrelated to the next. It destroys the narrative of the book. How do these AWFUL narrators even get gigs? I do think the author of a work is probably a better choice to read if possible since he knows the cadence and meter of his own work

If you do buy this book, SKIP the 33 minute introduction which simply repeats the same idea over and over (The egalitarian ideals of America rest on Washington and his rough hewn band of farmer-soldiers and their improbable victory at Trenton x 100 times). Im not kidding here. One thought repeated for 33 minutes. Not expanded - not detailed just repeated like a 6th grader trying to meet a word count requirement in an essay. I almost wondered if the author thought his audience so dim witted that we him to repeat an idea Ad Nauseam so we can grasp it? I finally had to stop the book and delete it.

Has George Washington's Surprise Attack turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, this is my favorite topic.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dennis Holland?

ANYONE! He is absolutely terrible. Combine his "sound bite" diction of single sentences with the authors excessive and repeated use of adjectives and this audio book drove me to stop and delete the file and take the monetary loss.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Shock that this book was published and that the narrator makes a living at this!

Any additional comments?

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!