George Washington's Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America

( 4 )

Overview


Like many historical events, the American Revolution is sometimes overlooked, ignored, or minimized by historians due to being shrouded in romantic myth and stubborn stereotypes. Here historian Phillip Thomas Tucker provides an in-depth look at the events of the Battle of Trenton, weeding out fiction and legend and presenting new insights and analysis. Stories from many forgotten individuals of the war, including officers and soldiers from both sides, bring to life the Continental army’s desperate circumstances ...
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George Washington's Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America

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Overview


Like many historical events, the American Revolution is sometimes overlooked, ignored, or minimized by historians due to being shrouded in romantic myth and stubborn stereotypes. Here historian Phillip Thomas Tucker provides an in-depth look at the events of the Battle of Trenton, weeding out fiction and legend and presenting new insights and analysis. Stories from many forgotten individuals of the war, including officers and soldiers from both sides, bring to life the Continental army’s desperate circumstances and shocking victory. Myths that Tucker debunks include the Hessians’ slovenly drunkenness, Washington acting alone in creating the attack strategy, and Rall’s incompetence as a leader contributing widely to his troops’ defeat.

By exploring the forgotten aspects of one of America’s most famous battles, Trenton’s story proves to be even more revealing and fascinating. In the end, America’s founding was nothing short of miraculous, and no chapter of America’s story was more miraculous than Washington’s improbable success at the battle of Trenton, where America’s fate was decided to almost everyone’s amazement on a dark, snowy morning.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
The image of George Washington standing on his boat’s prow, directing his troops across an icy Delaware River, burns in the American historical consciousness, as on that snowy night in December he led his troops into a decisive battle with the Hessians encamped near Trenton, N.J. But in this repetitious book, historian Tucker (Exodus from the Alamo) pulls back the shroud of legend surrounding the battle of Trenton, revealing the details of this turning point of the American Revolution. Drawing on tactical military history, Tucker points out that Washington led his legion of rustic farmers and rag-tag revolutionaries to victory by using double envelopment—a strategy that Hannibal used in 216 BCE—as well as one of the most important lessons of Indian warfare: the surprise, lighting strike attack. Contrary to longstanding theories that Washington won because of the incompetence of Hessian leader Col. Johann Gottlieb Rall, Tucker validates Rall’s tenacity and deep military leadership. He also gives credit to unsung heroes in Washington’s army—like Cpt. Daniel Neil and Pvt. William McCarty—who helped secure victory. Unfortunately, Tucker overshadows his argument by tiresomely proclaiming the “miracle” of this “improbable victory,” and hedging his descriptions of its consequences. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Tucker combines a detailed analysis of Trenton as a brilliantly conceived and executed military operation with a convincing argument for the battle as the defining event of the American Revolution.”
--Dennis E Showalter, PhD, Colorado College

“In George Washington’s Surprise Attack, Phillip Thomas Tucker has once again demonstrated total mastery of his chosen subject matter. Extensively researched and superbly-argued in Tucker’s compelling narrative, this in-depth examination of George Washington’s ‘military miracle’ at the Battle of Trenton unquestionably confirms the vital importance of that stunning victory.”
--Jerry D. Morelock, PhD, Editor in Chief, Armchair General Magazine

“Tucker’s account brims with colorful information . . . that vivifies this pivotal episode in American history. . . . Of most interest to military historians and Revolutionary War buffs.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Tucker’s book is less about myth-busting and more about re-creating . . . the events of that day.”— The Star-Ledger

"Tucker pulls back the shroud of legend surrounding the battle of Trenton, revealing the details of the turning point of the American Revolution. . . . Contrary to longstanding theories that Washington won because of the incompetence of Hessian leader Col. Johann Gottieb Rall, Tucker validates Rall's tenacity and deep military leadership. He also gives credit to unsung heroes in Washington's army."—Publishers Weekly

"A highly detailed and fairly balanced assessment not only of the Battle of Trenton, but also of the Hessian commander Col. Rall. Phillip Thomas Tucker, PhD, dispels many myths and legends that have been incorrectly told since the end of the American Revolution. An enjoyable and scholarly read."—Scott G. Rall, Descendant of Col. Johann G. Rall

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-16
A historian offers a blow-by-blow re-creation of George Washington's 1776 Christmas crossing of the Delaware and the capture of Trenton. Washington's shocking victory over the Hessian garrison occupying Trenton gave teeth to the Declaration of Independence, greatly enhanced his own and his discouraged army's reputations, sobered public opinion in Britain and fueled hope that France might intervene to aid the struggling young nation. As he charts the icy river crossing, the arduous march to Trenton and the vicissitudes of the urban battle that followed, Tucker (Barksdale's Charge: The True High Tide of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, 2013, etc.) appears to have missed no detail: the varying intensity of the snow, sleet and wind; every feature of the topography; the positioning of each cannon; the nuances of the attack and the counterattack. He's out to explode some myths, especially the supposed incompetence of Hessian commander Col. Johann Rall and the holiday drunkenness of his troops. Tucker also highlights overlooked aspects of the fight, such as Washington's distinctively American battle plan (employing guerrilla tactics of frontier warfare and anticipating artillery tactics perfected by Napoleon), the unusually varied composition of the Continental Army and the crucial roles played by some of Washington's top lieutenants, particularly artillery commander Henry Knox and mariner John Glover, who supervised the crossing. As the story unfolds, Tucker supplies numerous minibios of battle participants—some names that would loom larger in our history (Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe) and others (the rakish Tench Tilghman, French and Indian war hero John Stark) now mostly forgotten. Although marred by far too many repetitions, hackneyed locutions and a tedious insistence upon his various theses, Tucker's account brims with colorful information—about the delicacy of Washington's military maneuver, the double envelopment, about a female sniper firing on the enemy, about "the solid Hessian wall…of walking muskets"—that vivifies this pivotal episode in American history. Of most interest to military historians and Revolutionary War buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781628736526
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 212,357
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Thomas Tucker

Phillip Thomas Tucker, PhD, is a writer and historian who has edited and authored more than two dozen books and written over sixty scholarly articles. After earning his PhD in 1990, he took a position as civilian historian with the Department of Defense and specialized in air force history. He lives near Washington, DC.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2014

    If he said something once ...he said it a hundred times. Shame o

    If he said something once ...he said it a hundred times. Shame on the editor and anyone else who read this before publication. However there is an interesting story and new facts are revealed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    This story could have been told in half the number of pages. I'

    This story could have been told in half the number of pages. I've never read a book with so much digression and repetition.




    Sentences quite often ran on for an entire page. If he had an editor, he needs to fire him. The length was unfortunate, because the detailed account of the battle is rarely told.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    learned a great deal about the battle, I thought I knew more tha

    learned a great deal about the battle, I thought I knew more than I really did. On the down side, book was poorly done and should have been 200-300 pages shorter, shame on the editor who allowed repetition on such a large scale that it takes away from the value of the information of such great importance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Eye Opening and Important New Look at the Battle that Saved Amer

    Eye Opening and Important New Look at the Battle that Saved America.
    I was blown away by this book.  I legitimately think it is groundbreaking on a number of levels, not the least of which is the level of
    detail and emphasis on often overlooked parts of the Battle of Trenton, such as the origins and sheer audacity of the battle plan
    George Washington developed.  This book is very clearly researched extensively, and really sells the narrative of the Battle of Trenton
     as a major turning point in the history of America and the Revolutionary War.  All in all, I was enraptured by Tucker's descriptive, florid prose,
     masterfully capturing the major moments of the war in all their drama and glory.  The proximity you feel to the battle and the figures involved is
     wonderful, and I really felt as though I learned a lot about the people and places involved.  Of particular focus is Washington himself, as well as
     his generals and commanders; I also appreciated the closer look we got into the lives of the common soldiers that filled the ranks
    and actually carried out Washington's orders.  I can safely say this is the best account available today of the Battle of Trenton and its importance
    in the harrowing history of the American Revolution. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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