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Summary

In To Try Men's Souls, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen cast a new light on the year 1776 and the man who would become the father of our nation, George Washington. Valley Forge picks up the narrative a year after Washington’s triumphant surprise attack on Trenton, and much has changed since then. It’s the winter of 1777, and Washington’s battered, demoralized army retreats from Philadelphia. Arriving at Valley Forge, they discover that their repeated requests for a stockpile of food, winter clothing, and building tools have been ignored by Congress.

With no other options available, the men settle down for a season of agony. For weeks the dwindling army lives under tents in the bitter cold. Food runs out. The men are on the point of collapse, while in Philadelphia the British, joined by Allen van Dorn, the Loyalist brother of the dead patriot, Jonathan van Dorn, live in luxury.

In spite of the suffering and deceit, Washington endures all, joined at last by a volunteer from Germany, Baron von Steuben. Von Steuben begins the hard task of recasting the army as a professional fighting force capable of facing the British head-on - something it has never accomplished before - and in the process he will change the course of history.

Valley Forge is a tour-de-force about endurance, survival, transformation, and rebirth. Washington and his Continental Army, against all odds, will be forged into a fighting force that will win a revolution.

©2010 Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (P)2010 Macmillan Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 23-03-11

The Forging of America

Gingrich and Forstchen have produced a magnificent account of the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. It is not only the story of 12,000 men who entered Valley Forge demoralized, untrained, unsupplied but under the leadership of Washington and the shear force of will and skill of Generals Wayne, Lafaayette and Von Steuben that they marched out of Valley Forge aa a true army finally equipped with enough training, supplies and pride to take on the British.

Although generally familiar with the Valley Forge story, I was left with a sense of pride, awe and inspiration of what Washington and his men were able to accomplish. Gingrich and Forstchen have a way of making you feel like you are actually there - feeling the cold, snow and hunger. You can imagine the suffering even the healthy men endured let alone those who were injured or stricken with diseases.

Besides Washington, the other key characters are Lafayette, Baron Von Steuben and a ficitonal character Allen Van Dorn. Washington provided the leadership, Lafayette the heart and Von Steuben the knowledge for colonists to march out of Valley Forge as real army with a real chance to stand toe to toe with the British for the first time. Van Dorn is a colonist who joined the British army. Through his eyes, you can experience the decisions that the colonists had to make on who to support.

If you like history and historical novels you will love this book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • LanceBaldwin
  • 23-02-11

Good history book, horrible readers

I have enjoyed all of Gingrich's and Forstchen's history novels very much but Gingrich's daughter is a horrible reader and can only barely be tolerated. Durfris is not very good but becomes more acceptable as you progress through the novels. Callista is horrible and never changes regardless of which character she reads.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JARID
  • 23-12-10

A+++

A terrific book! The narration brings the pages to life. Goose bumps and nervous anticipation leave you on the edge of your seat wanting to hear more, faster. It’s a wonderful distraction from everyday whatever. Download it to your smartphone, put on your slippers, and close the study door. Like “To Try Men’s Souls”, this book teaches you the history you may have missed growing up. At the end of the audible you’ll be filled with pride and very proud to be an American! What a great nation we live in, what a rich history we have.

2 people found this helpful

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  • dario
  • 11-01-17

Very good historical novel with perceivable right slant

Story was great. However I did not like the way the book referred to His slave Will Lee. The book referred to him as Washington's confidant. If Washington was such a good friend of Will. Why did he not free him and pay him as a valet? Will was freed only after Washington's death. I felt that there should have been condemnation of Washington for having slaves. The books coverage of Will Lee was very whimsical. It offended me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Justin / Bulwark Defense
  • 16-09-15

Outstanding book overall.

Great writing, excellent story telling, excellent narration (with the exception of Martha Washington) her reading is bland, it of sync, it just does not seem to fit, almost monotone. She sounds like she's "reading it".
Thankfully, there isn't much of that.
I really enjoyed all the of these in the series.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 12-05-11

Our Liberty came with Great Sacrifice

I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I cried, laughed and was impressed by the depiction of the sacrifice & endurance needed to give us the Republic we now take for granted.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Roger
  • 14-03-11

Steven Segal at Valley Forge

I had to stop listening. It was just oo depressing right at the beginning. The British officer that confronts the American farmers is too much like a super-bad-guy from a Steven Segal movie. The kind of guy who makes you sick, but Segal is going to kick **** in about 60 minutes. But with an audio book it takes 60 minutes to describe the horrible parts.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 17-12-10

Wonderful book about the dark days Valley Forge

I thought I knew some history of the American Revolution. After listening to this great book I was interested from the first word to the last. The characters are very believable. Thank you for the great book. I am looking forward for more from this team of writers.

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  • Jared Gullion
  • 26-08-22

phenomenal literary work

My only complaint with this book is that it came to an end. I just wanted it to keep going through the whole Revolution.

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  • Steve K.
  • 06-08-22

Moving Historical Account of Americas Beginning Struggles

The American experience would not be complete without giving recognition to the devotion and suffering endured by volunteers in the Colonial Army .
This book captures that pain and suffering and puts the reader in a place where they can’t believe that something this terrible occurred within the borders of eastern Pennsylvania.
Only providence in the form of key players saved these patriots from defeat. Washington, Lafayette and Baron Von Stuben are just among a few.