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The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution


With his engaging and timeless narrative prose, two-time Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy tells the awe-inspiring story of George Washington's glorious fight for an independent America.

It is 1776, and George Washington and his army of rebellious American colonists are emboldened by its stunning victories over the British at Lexington and Concord. But now, the Americans face the threat of a brutal British retaliation.

George Washington, ...

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With his engaging and timeless narrative prose, two-time Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy tells the awe-inspiring story of George Washington's glorious fight for an independent America.

It is 1776, and George Washington and his army of rebellious American colonists are emboldened by its stunning victories over the British at Lexington and Concord. But now, the Americans face the threat of a brutal British retaliation.

George Washington, who has little experience with a threat of this magnitude, is unanimously chosen as commander in chief in hopes he can unite the colonies. Britain's army is massive and well trained. America's is small and unruly. As the British begin their invasion of New York City and its environs, George Washington isn't the only one (continued)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Murphy (Truce) again digs into the well of history, this time emerging with a well-researched, absorbing account of the early battles of the Revolutionary War with Gen. George Washington at their center. Enhanced by numerous sepia maps of troop movements, prints, paintings, and portraits of prominent figures, the blow-by-blow narrative begins with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775 and continues until the tide-turning battles at Trenton and Princeton in early 1777. Plentiful description ("the sky darkened ominously, and an icy drizzle began to fall") paints a clear picture of the hardships a beleaguered, dwindling Continental Army and its commander faced. Washington, who "had to shape untrained farmers and shopkeepers into skilled soldiers and then defeat the greatest military power in the world," persevered despite self-doubt, defeats, and even calls for his ouster. Murphy succeeds in conveying the key role Washington played in the formation of a United States, when its existence rested on his ragtag army of militias and citizen soldiers. Included are a time line, source list, index, and a list of Revolutionary War sites readers can visit. Ages 9–12. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This detailed account traces the movement of the Continental Army under General George Washington from Lexington and Concord in April 1775 to January 1777 and the defeat of the British at Princeton, NJ. In a rather romantic style, the seven chapters describe the main characters involved, the troop movements during the army's forays into Long Island, NY and northern NJ, and the thoughts and feelings of Washington, in particular, along the way. The difficulties that Washington encountered, especially among his troops, reveal another side of Washington and the war for independence that middle school students rarely have the opportunity to read about. Period maps and illustrations in sepia help to clarify the intricate troop movements and focus on the personalities involved both on the British and American sides. The story culminates with the famous crossing of the Delaware River and the battle of Trenton, NJ based on modern and more accurate research. The descriptions of battles and the hardships of the soldiers bring an authenticity and reality of the horrors of wars to the account. It's a pretty detailed account for middle schoolers which may need some adult explanation to promote understanding. The famous painting of the crossing of the Delaware by Lentze is discussed and critiqued for accuracy. A helpful timeline, a listing of Revolutionary War sites to visit and an index are included. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Murphy lays out the stakes in this well-known story immediately: the fate of the revolution and the country itself rested with the man chosen to lead the Continental Army. He centers the story on Washington, arguing that the early battles in and around New York and New Jersey transformed him from an inexperienced if well-respected military leader into a formidable commander and strategist. Whereas purely chronological histories drag readers' attention from one theater of war to another, Murphy concentrates on the troops directly under Washington's command in the events leading up to the battles of Trenton and Princeton, so that each step or misstep is as riveting as if readers were following at the heels of "the old fox." When the tide turns in the Patriots' favor, it is with a sense of relief rather than as a fait accompli. Illustrations include reproductions of portraits and several good, clear maps showing battlefields and troop movements. An especially effective spread of Washington Crossing the Delaware is followed by an analysis of the artist's theme of America's diverse people fighting for freedom against all odds. The time line and index are thorough, and the list of websites is comprehensive. Notes and sources, instead of listed chapter by chapter, are listed "in order of importance." A first purchase, even if your American Revolution shelves are packed.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM
Kirkus Reviews

Murphy brings the winter of 1776 to life with powerful prose and captivating illustrations. After devastating defeats in and around New York City, the Continental Army was disintegrating and the British were perilously close to snuffing out the American Revolution. Washington saved the Army, the Revolution and his command with his daring surprise attack on Trenton, quickly followed by victory at the Battle of Princeton. The author takes pains to discuss Emanuel Leutze'sWashington Crossing the Delaware, noting that the point of the iconic painting is its symbolism rather than historical accuracy. Given this care, it is regrettable that the author does not specifically debunk the widely told story that the Hessians were easily defeated because they were hungover, though his account by no means supports it, instead portraying the Hessians as well-organized and professional. Too, it's a shame there's no mention of the pre-attack, morale-boosting reading of Thomas Paine's "These are the times...." Despite these small shortcomings, this is a superbly written, well-researched and attractively illustrated account that may well launch researchers on further exploration. (chronology, Revolutionary War sites directory, source notes, index)(Nonfiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439691864
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Series: Crossing Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 282,499
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NC1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Murphy is the celebrated author of more than thirty-five books for young readers, most notably TRUCE: THE DAY THE SOLDIERS STOPPED FIGHTING and THE GREAT FIRE, a Newbery Honor Winner. His carefully researched, engaging, and elegantly written nonfiction has garnered the most prestigious awards in the field. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife and their two sons.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    The Crossing: George Washington

    family historywell writtenentertaining

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