cover image Victory at Yorktown

Victory at Yorktown

Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-60707-4

Politico Gingrich and historian Forstchen combine their talents to produce their entertaining third historical about George Washington during the American Revolution (following To Try Men’s Souls and Valley Forge). This time the authors cover the war’s dark days from 1780 to the climactic Battle of Yorktown in 1781, vividly bringing to life the hardships, despair, and troubling leadership decisions confronting Washington after six years of brutal warfare. Stuck in New York, the weakened Americans face the powerful British army and navy, with Washington wondering if the French fleet will ever join the fight. When tactical victories in the South confound the British and force General Cornwallis into fortifications in Yorktown, Va., Washington sees the opportunity to strike a decisive blow that will bring victory to him, his army, and his French allies. The novel colorfully and accurately portrays Washington and other historical figures as they struggle with tactics, strategy, logistics, intelligence, meddling politicians, and petty rivalries. Less powerful is a sappy fictional subplot about an American officer and a British officer, two friends in love with the same woman. Still, this is exciting historical fiction, offering insight into just how close George Washington and the Americans came to losing the war. (Nov.)