Washington's Crossing

Washington's Crossing

Book - 2004
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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.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2004
ISBN: 9780195170344
0195170342
Characteristics: x, 564 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm

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p
patcarstensen
Feb 20, 2017

It's nice to know that Washington was probably really standing in the boat -- the alternative would have been sitting in icy water in the bottom of the boat

d
debiddo
Aug 24, 2012

A wonderful book that I enjoyed even though I normally stay away from military history. I especially enjoyed the early descriptions of how the three armies were commanded, organized, and recruited, explaining what kind of men, especially the British and Hessians, would sign-up to fight in the Americas. Another favorite section was the description of the New Jersey occupation before the famous crossing.

c
Cabby
Dec 06, 2007

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer prize for history.

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