Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) [Kindle Edition]

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At the core of an impeccably researched, brilliantly executed military history is an analysis of George Washington's crossing in the Delaware River in December 1776 and also the resulting destruction of the Hessian garrison of Trenton and defeat of an British brigade at Princeton. Fischer's perceptive discussion in the strategic, operational and tactical factors involved is by itself really worth the book's purchase. He demonstrates Washington's insight in the revolution's desperate political circumstances, shows how that influenced thinking about a riposte against an enemy grown overconfident with success and presents Washington's skillful use of the items his army could do well. Even more useful is Fischer's analysis of the internal dynamics from the combatants. He demonstrates mastery with the character of the American, British and Hessian armies, highlighting that British troops, too, fought for ideals, sacred to them, of loyalty and service. Above all, Brandeis historian Fischer (Albion's Seed) uses the Trenton campaign to reveal the existence, even within the revolution's early stage, of the distinctively American method of war, much from it based on the single fact: civil and military leaders were accountable to a citizenry through their representatives. From Washington down, Fischer shows, military leaders acknowledged civil supremacy and worked with civil officials. Washington used firepower and intelligence as force multipliers to speed the war for the practical people who desired to win quickly so as to go back to their ordinary lives. Tempo, initiative and speed marked the Trenton campaign from first to last. And Washington fought humanely, extending quarter in battle and insisting on decent treatment of prisoners. The crossing with the Delaware, Fischer teaches, should be seen as emblematic of over a turning with the war's tide. 91 halftone, 15 maps. 3-city author tour.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Adult/High School-Another stirring effort by the author of Paul Revere's Ride (Oxford, 1994). Readers will again cheer American perseverance, inventiveness, and improvisation as Washington, his officers, along with their men turn the early military defeats of Long Island and The big apple City into victory at Trenton and Princeton. The opening chapter is devoted to the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. Then the writer discusses the British, Hessian, and American military units that were involved with these campaigns and offers background on their own officers. This is Fischer's strong suit: he tells stories and offers details that bring history alive. He helps make the point that decisions created for varying reasons by converging teams of people determine history. In the hands of this type of thorough researcher and talented writer, this can be powerful stuff. The bulk with the book deals with the battles as well as their aftermath. The text is enriched by small reproductions of portraits, many by Charles Willson Peale, with the major players. The last chapter summarizes Fischer's points and will make an excellent teaching tool by itself.
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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