The Road to Valley Forge: How Washington Built the Army that Won the Revolution

The Road to Valley Forge: How Washington Built the Army that Won the Revolution

by John Buchanan
     
 

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"The fact is that their army is broken all to pieces, and the spirits of their leaders and their abettors is also broken . . . one may venture to pronounce that it is well nigh over with them."
–Lord Rawdon

In the late fall of 1776, few people on either side would have disagreed with this young British officer’s assessment of the Continental

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Overview

"The fact is that their army is broken all to pieces, and the spirits of their leaders and their abettors is also broken . . . one may venture to pronounce that it is well nigh over with them."
–Lord Rawdon

In the late fall of 1776, few people on either side would have disagreed with this young British officer’s assessment of the Continental Army–least of all, the commander of that army, George Washington.

After four months of disastrous defeats, narrow escapes, and punishing marches, Washington knew only too well that his rag-tag assemblage of inexperienced officers, poorly trained regulars, and hastily gathered militiamen was no match for a professional army of more than thirty thousand seasoned, well-equipped British and Hessian troops. Yet General William Howe had missed three golden opportunities to crush Washington’s army and thus end the rebellion. With each reprieve, Washington became a wiser, craftier, more prudent commander, one capable of turning an undisciplined rabble into a capable fighting force.

The Road to Valley Forge traces the painful education of Washington and his army through the most critical period of the American Revolution, from August 1776 through the winter of 1777—1778. Citing communications from Washington and dozens of other civilian and military leaders, as well as many rank-and-file soldiers, it debunks myths about how the early stages of the war were fought, challenges the assertions of previous authors, and provides a stunning you-are-there view of some of the war’s most dramatic events.

From a sobering defeat in the Battle of Long Island and the tragic and unnecessary loss of the entire garrison of Fort Washington in upper Manhattan to his brilliant victory at Trenton after crossing the Delaware, Washington is revealed as an inexperienced commander who nonetheless showed from the outset that he had the makings of a great leader. Author John Buchanan examines his command style and reveals a man capable of both immersing himself in the endless logistical details of running an army and delegating considerable authority to trusted subordinates. Most important, he was a man who learned from his mistakes, listened to his advisors, and took full responsibility for his decisions, whatever their outcome.

Complete with insightful portraits of the sluggish General Howe, the aggressive Cornwallis, and such important American figures as Nathanael Greene and the brilliant, fatally flawed General Charles Lee, The Road to Valley Forge offers more than a few surprises. This gripping, entertaining history offers a unique view of America’s most revered hero as he struggled to keep the newborn nation alive.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470318249
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/21/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,008,756
File size:
5 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The Road to Valley Forge again proves Jack Buchanan is a master of the historical narrative -- with the bonus of a host of new insights into George Washington as a leader of men."
—Thomas Fleming, Author of Liberty! The American Revolution

"The Road to Valley Forge is an effective operational history, clearly written, judicious in its judgments and based on a careful look at the war from both sides."
—Jeremy Black, author of War For America: The Fight for Independence, 1775-1783

"John Buchanan skillfully guides us through 1776 and 1777, the two most critical years of the Revolutionary War for George Washington as commander in chief. With a gift for finding the apt quotation and the telling anecdote, the author traces the growth of Washington as a commanding general and the professional development of the Continental Army."
—Don Higginbotham, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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