Washington's Crossing

Washington's Crossing

by David Hackett Fischer
4.3 24
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Select a Purchase Option (Reprint)
  • purchase options
    $12.31 $19.95 Save 38% Current price is $12.31, Original price is $19.95. You Save 38%.
  • purchase options
    $10.76 $19.95 Save 46% Current price is $10.76, Original price is $19.95. You Save 46%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.
  • purchase options


Washington's Crossing

Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia.

Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, George Washington—and many other Americans—refused to let the Revolution die. On Christmas night, as a howling nor'easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men. A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis's best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night, Washington's men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined.

Fischer's richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events. We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195181593
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2006
Series: Pivotal Moments in American History Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 135,449
Product dimensions: 3.00(w) x 3.00(h) x 1.80(d)

Table of Contents

Editor's Noteix
The Rebels7
The Regulars31
The Hessians51
The Plan of the Campaign66
The Fall of New York81
The Retreat115
The Crisis138
The Occupation160
The Opportunity182
The River206
The March221
The Surprise234
Hard Choices263
Good Ground277
The Bridge290
Two Councils308
The Battle at Princeton324
Sources for Maps545

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Dr_Jane_Lecklider More than 1 year ago
The title Washington's Crossing, with a cover illustration of the famous painting, caught my eye: I bought it, feeling vaguely guilty about not knowing much about an event considered significant enough to be mentioned in President Obama's inaugural address. Thinking that this would be simply another history book, I had an exciting surprise: page after page of action and suspense! The author begins with a brief overview of how the painting on the cover had been reworked over the years to suit the views of the times. Adept at demolishing the arguments of 'debunkers', Fischer shows, for example, how it would have been unwise for Washington to have sat in the boat rather than stand, as some critics (who know little about leaking eighteenth-century boats) have complained! Above all, Washington's Crossing is a drama of fascinating individuals; like the doctor who decided to join the small patriot army just before the scheduled crossing, as it marched past his front yard. This was the doctor who would save the life of a future president (James Monroe) when his artery was severed in the battle that followed. Also, the memorable young husband who loved his expensive house so much that he changed sides to Britain hoping to protect it, only to find it ransacked and used to quarter soldiers. Those who fought (a motley assembly, sneeringly termed 'peasants' by the British) were drawn from all over the colonies, and had to be organized into some semblance of an army, willing to drag cannons, wagons, horses, and themselves through the snow, sleet, and blackness of winter. The man who led them (considered 'awesome' by all who knew him) is portrayed as having both the virtues and the failings of humankind. Washington's doubts, his mistakes, and his rare but fearsome flares of anger, are all documented-gleaned from the letters of the men who served with him, and from those written by Washington himself. At a time in the ongoing struggles against the British when many had given up hope, Washington's decision to cross the Delaware on Christmas night in order to surprise the enemy marked the beginning of America as a free nation. The accounts of men hoisting tons of armament down muddy ravines on their way to the ice-clogged river, the bleeding feet of soldiers wearing rags for boots, the lashing north winds, and Washington's horse suddenly slipping in the darkness-these and many other poignant details are evocative of just what the 'reality' of the American Revolution consisted. A brilliant book: anyone who still deems it 'politically incorrect' to have feelings of patriotism will be hard-pressed to maintain that attitude after reading Washington's Crossing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read history primarily. I love all the details that make the story feel like I am there. Fischer does a good job of bring those details to life without making it too long and too drawn out.
Iain010100 More than 1 year ago
If Washington's Crossing was assigned reading in high school I would have had an instant love for American history instead of treating the subject as one of many dull tasks to get through the week. The book makes it clear that Washington's brazen courage in the face of impossible odds is what made it possible for this this country to be independent. The successes of his campaigns are clearly not just rational intelligence, but also incredible luck and fortunate timing. Any cautious general could not have won this war, and without this war's success there would not be Americans. I found this book so fascinating that I read it straight though in a handful of days, finding time wherever possible. The book begins by setting the stage of world events that led to the conflict and the need for American independence, then it outlined the political and military forces on either side. It described the poor conditions of the Colonial troops compared to the enemy's, then went through the successive battles that led to the crossing of Delaware. Until I read this book, I never really knew what it was all about. Thankfully I ran across this extraordinarily well written account of a pivotal time in American history. I recommend this to anyone, not just people interested in the history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the standard by which all other books about this campaign are measured!
syatsko1765 More than 1 year ago
Forget everything you thought you knew about the story of the General's audacious crossing of the Delaware on a cold and snowy Christmas night. This book puts you right in the middle of a savage storm in which the troops marched and fought for 60 hours with barely any clothing and many without shoes. This is a miraculous triumph of courage and sheer will. A story EVERY American should read in order to more fully appreciate the sacrifices made for our freedom. This country was founded by extremely courageous men willing to die for their beliefs. Are you?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book - not only did i get the Ebook, but also a Hard back. This one is a keeper. Very thorough, lots of details. NOT BORING! Also check out his book on Paul Revere! another excellent book by David Hackett Fischer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yashar More than 1 year ago
Liked the film. Historically it is not very accurate. If nothing else, the weather depicted in the film was nothing like the storm that was going on. There was even some sunshine. Gen. Washington had a slave/companion in real life. Man named Lee. Not in the film at all. Well acted.