Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia. Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, George Washington--and many other Americans--refused to let the Revolution die. On Christmas night, as a howling nor'easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men. A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis's best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night, Washington's men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined. Fischer's richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events. We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning.
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by James M. McPherson
by David Lamb
by David McCullough
by David Zucchino
by Bruce Catton
by James L. Stokesbury
by James Wilson
by Michael W. Kauffman
by Stephen W. Sears
"On Christmas Day 1776, the fortunes of the American Revolution were at their lowest. Some ninety percent of the Army had been lost since the summer, and many had lost hope. Then, that very evening, Washington crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessian garrison at Trenton. In the following week he defeated the British at Trenton. This campaign in New Jersey boosted the fortunes of the Army and kept the War of Independence going. Fischer ably describes the unique characteristics of the participants--American, British, and Hessian. He also gives a fine portrayal of Washington, though he could have provided more description of his religious beliefs. Nelson Runger's performance is much in accord with Washington himself: controlled, authoritative, and clear. M.T.F. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine"
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