I am finding that the older I get the more I have started to enjoy reading non-fiction, specifically biographies and histories. And if you had ever suggested to my younger self that I would ever enjoy history, I would have laughed in your face. Ah, how we change.
Admittedly, part of my interest in this particular book comes from having lived for almost a decade in the New Windsor, New York area (home to Washington’s cantonment – his last encampment) where Revolutionary War history is all around. Also, my visit to Valley Forge with my young family is still something we talk about. And also, strange as it may sound, there’s an art museum in my community that has (owns) the Washington Crossing the Delaware painting that once hung in the White House. How can you not be inspired to know more about Washington, the Revolutionary War, and perhaps one of the most famous encampments, when you gaze at such representations of history?
Not too long ago I read another book by co-author Tom Clavin (Tombstone) and just as I found with that book, here too I thought that the research that was done is just remarkable. The authors mention in their epilogue that George Washington and his aides produced 17,000 official documents, and having that much material direct from the subject, even though it is more than 200 years old, is certainly a tremendous resource.
There is a lot of detail here and it can be overwhelming (which is probably the number one reason I grew up disliking history) but for those who really enjoy reading and learning about all this history (my son would be one of those), then this is an absolute treasure.
I definitely came away with a better understanding of what it was like to be at Valley Forge with George Washington and his army, but I also came away with a new picture of the man George Washington and what he had to endure (from both sides of the war) and how impressive it is that he came out as he did.
And perhaps for those who already know history pretty well (I am not one of them) this maybe is old, common information, but I have a better understanding of what foreign governments, specifically France, contributed to the successful outcome (for the Americans) to the war. I attribute my learning of these things to the solid presentation of the material by authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin.
Looking for a good book? Making history accessible and memorable is an art and the artists, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, have done a wonderful job with their book, Valley Forge.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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authors: Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
publisher: Simon & Schuster
hardcover, 464 pages