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To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George…

To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for…

by Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen

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I was very aware of the gravity of the subject of this book as I dove into it, but that did not damper my amazement and astonishment of just what these brave men did on that Christmas night back in 1776 to literally save this burgeoning and embryonic nation from being a permanent English colony. I have no doubts to the legitimacy of the events in this book, but what made this tale hit so deep is the wonderful characterizations that Gingrich/Forstchen gave historic people like Washington, Knox, Paine, Adams and various soldiers within the context of this event. If anything, I had trouble with the first half of the book or so because it was sooooo depressing, manifesting itself through the moods and actions of George Washington himself. I think that is the real brilliance of this book as the reader is transported from that to the successful actions of the patriot army as they stormed Trenton and literally caught the Hessians asleep in their homes and bunkers, Washington's pride beaming through all the way. The authors also very smartly portray the conflict Washington felt along the way. Paine's contributions to the morale through his publication of The American Crisis is neatly inserted here as well, Gingrich/Forstchen presenting him as a very, very tortured soul.

In short, entertaining, inspiring, and just amazing to think of what the founders of this nation had to do just so today we can call ourselves Americans and not bow to a king (well, for a while longer, anyway). I wish more middle/high school kids would read books like this to get an understanding of what it took to create the greatest political experiment in human history and just what is currently at stake. ( )
  utbw42 | Apr 8, 2016 |
What an intense book. If I did not know already how it played out, I would have probabaly had to put it down. It gives being an American a new appreciation. I think this book can give us all a great sense of how amazing it is to be American. ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
What an intense book. If I did not know already how it played out, I would have probabaly had to put it down. It gives being an American a new appreciation. I think this book can give us all a great sense of how amazing it is to be American. ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
Not my favorite book but definitely worth a read, especially if you are a history buff. ( )
  fmweiler | Nov 13, 2011 |
I have previously read Gingrich's book, Pearl Harbor and was very disappointed. Pearl Harbor was poorly conceived with stereotype storyline and flat uninteresting characters. Fortunately, To Try Men's Souls is a better book. Perhaps Newt and his partner were running stale with WW II theme and recharged with the revolutionary war. The book focuses on the attack by Washington's troops on the Hessian encampment in Trenton, NJ. Obviously, much of the book deals with the infamous crossing of the Delaware river.
It is clear again with this book that character development is not a Gingrich strong point. However, at least the storyline is pretty well developed and reasonably interesting. You will get tired reading about how many times the troops and horses slipped on the icy ground and how biting the nor'easter wind and sleet was. Not withstanding, the book is not high literature but an ok read. ( )
  libri_amor | Aug 8, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Newt Gingrichprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forstchen, William R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312591063, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:21 -0400)

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A novel of the darkest days of the American Revolution follows George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Jonathan Van Dorn, a private in Washington's army, during the days surrounding Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on December 25, 1776.

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