To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom
Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
Dunne, Oct 20 2009, $26.99
The war is five months old, and all the rebels have so far is a series of defeats. The morale of the troops is at its lowest and shrinking. The leadership is in disarray as to what to do as their side is rag tagged amateurs while their opponent is the best professional army in the world enhanced by paid mercenaries. Every morning leaves the revolutionaries with less soldiers as desertion has become epidemic.
They are out of time as retreating from Long Island to Manhattan to New Jersey and now in Pennsylvania have left the revolt on the brink of failure. While Thomas Paine works on his latest pamphlet in Philadelphia, General Washington knows he must do something daring, but fears any act of desperation that fails will end the rebellion. At the same time private Jonathan van Dorn does not want to desert Washington's army, but fears for his brother who joined the British; his feelings echo many of those who have stayed the course. Finally, a doubting Washington knows further flight means certain defeat and decides on a daring raid across the icy Delaware where he leads an attack on Hessians stationed in Trenton.
This is an intriguing look at a pivotal moment in the American Revolutionary War through the eyes of three men. The story line captures the doubts and fears of Washington, the encouragement of Paine, and the further doubts and fears of fictional van Dorn. Fans will enjoy this terrific historical thriller especially the lead up to the raid of the Hessian forces so different from the famous painting; mindful of the HBO show Assume the Position, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen provide a deep look at what truly went on beyond the legend.