cover image The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution

The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution

Jim Murphy, Scholastic Press, $21.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-439-69186-4

Murphy (Truce) again digs into the well of history, this time emerging with a well-researched, absorbing account of the early battles of the Revolutionary War with Gen. George Washington at their center. Enhanced by numerous sepia maps of troop movements, prints, paintings, and portraits of prominent figures, the blow-by-blow narrative begins with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775 and continues until the tide-turning battles at Trenton and Princeton in early 1777. Plentiful description ("the sky darkened ominously, and an icy drizzle began to fall") paints a clear picture of the hardships a beleaguered, dwindling Continental Army and its commander faced. Washington, who "had to shape untrained farmers and shopkeepers into skilled soldiers and then defeat the greatest military power in the world," persevered despite self-doubt, defeats, and even calls for his ouster. Murphy succeeds in conveying the key role Washington played in the formation of a United States, when its existence rested on his ragtag army of militias and citizen soldiers. Included are a time line, source list, index, and a list of Revolutionary War sites readers can visit. Ages 9–12. (Dec.)