Valley Forge

Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen, St. Martin's/Dunne, $27.99 (438p) ISBN 9780312591076
This second title in the George Washington series (after To Try Men's Souls) offers an energetic dramatization of the Continental Army's grim winter bivouac at Valley Forge, Pa., in 1777. The bulk of the narrative is filtered through the sensitive eyes of young Pvt. Peter Wellsley, a member of Washington's elite headquarters guard detail, while Washington's chief lieutenants, including French aristocrat Lafayette, Prussian drillmaster Baron von Steuben, and tempestuous commissary commander "Mad Anthony" Wayne are vividly sketched. Meanwhile, the political intrigues of Gen. Horatio Gates (the dubious hero of Saratoga) to unseat Washington as he struggles to survive at Valley Forge play out in Congress. Finally, in June 1778, Washington attacks the British pulling back from Philadelphia to New York City and scores a redemptive victory with an able assist from American soldiers' wives, like Molly Pitcher, who carry water and ammo to sustain the battle line. Gingrich and Forstchen recreate the sights and smells of the Continental Army's hand-to-mouth camp life and the battlefield action around Valley Forge with a brisk panache that should bode well for future entries. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
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