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Baker, Kenneth, GEORGE WASHINGTON'S WAR: In Caricature and Prink. NEW copy, hardcover. (Grub Street Publishing, 2010). 9.25 x 11.75, b/w and color throughout, . 224 pages.

~~ This was the five-year war that made America a nation. Indeed President Barack Obama referred to it in his Inaugural Address; and every American child is steeped in its history. But all too often the fog of myth shrouds the reality from all sides of the conflict. In these pages, the path to war is starkly documented by British caricatures of politicians and generals, for the most part favorable to the Colonists.
~~ For George III, Lord North and Britain the war itself was a disaster, but one which need not have happened. The problems of coping with a country 5,000 miles away with a tradition of representative government, a free press and a spirit of independence were just too much. But they, together with Generals Howe, Burgoyne, Cornwallis and others, were mercilessly lampooned. Washington, the hero, is spared, although there are surprising and dark elements to the American victory illustrated here.
~~ Kenneth Baker has used contemporary material, not the romantic patriotic pictures of the 19th Century. He has drawn upon his own experiences of high politics, and his personal collection of caricatures, as well as the libraries and historical societies of the East Coast. These provide vivid and memorable images made at the very time that the Americans and French were fighting the British and Germans on their road to victory.


[Washington] Thomas Fleming, WASHINGTON's SECRET WAR: The Hidden History of Valley Forge. . NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket. (NY: Collins, 2005). Plates, notes, index, 384 pages. ~~~ From Kirkus Reviews: "A revisitation of that American creche, the wintry encampment at Valley Forge, where stalwart Continentals created a nation. Prolific historian and novelist Fleming (A Passionate Girl, 2004, etc.) isn't a revisionist as such; he has no interest in diminishing the heroism of the revolutionary soldiers who served with Washington and company in a time when victory seemed unlikely, certainly no interest in questioning the validity of their cause. Yet he does a solid job of showing that their weaknesses were institutional. In its wisdom, Congress had enacted legislation that made it impossible to profit from supplying the army, a disincentive even to a patriot, and it 'insisted on trying to manage all aspects of running the war, without the knowledge or skill to do the job,' which included second-guessing Washington's chain of command. Part of Washington's task during his unwanted but necessary layover was to do a little old-fashioned politicking to lose the micromanagement. He had other challenges, of course: securing provisions, getting a sick and hungry army back on its feet, learning how to fight effectively against a much better-trained, better-paid and better-led enemy. In the last matter, Washington had inestimable help from the legendary Baron von Steuben, whose name is still honored among American soldiers today; no matter, as Fleming nicely reveals, that the good baron more or less made up his resume, for Ben Franklin had 'concocted his imaginary career and the idea of offering his services as a volunteer' just when such a person was most needed. Another surprise, courtesy of Fleming, is his account of the ethnic composition of the Continental forces, filled with German and Irish newcomers, with Indians and blacks -- all of whom were tested the following spring and acquitted themselves well at places like Monmouth, where the tide of war turned. Though without the flair of a McCullough or Ambrose or Brands, another solid work from Fleming.


Lengel, Edward G. GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON: A Military Life. . NEW copy, trade paperback. (Random House, 2007). 9x6. Maps, biographies, chronology, bibliography, index, 512 pages.

~~~ Based largely on George Washington’s personal papers, this engrossing book paints a vivid, factual portrait of Washington the soldier. An expert in military history, Edward Lengel demonstrates that the “secret” to Washington’s excellence lay in his completeness, in how he united the military, political, and personal skills necessary to lead a nation in war and peace. Despite being an “imperfect commander”–and at times even a tactically suspect one–Washington nevertheless possessed the requisite combination of vision, integrity, talents, and good fortune to lead America to victory in its war for independence. At once informative and engaging, and filled with some eye-opening revelations about Washington, the American Revolution, and the very nature of military command, General George Washington is a book that reintroduces readers to a figure many think they already know.


Schellhammer, Michael. GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THE FINAL BRITISH CAMPAIGN FOR THE HUDSON RIVER, 1779. . NEW copy, trade paperback. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012). 6x9. 18 photos, 5 maps, notes, bibliography, index, 220 pages.

~~~ In the summer of 1779, British general Sir Henry Clinton launched one last attempt to gain control of the Hudson River, the most strategically important waterway during the American Revolution. The campaign involved all of George Washington’s main Continental Army and most of the forces around New York City under Clinton’s command, but ended without a major battle. Still, the summer saw plenty of action. American cavalry sparred with their British counterparts in eastern New York; thousands of militiamen resisted brutal British raids along the Connecticut coast; and Washington stunned the British with daring night bayonet attacks on the fortified posts of Stony Point and Paulus Hook. This study details the strategy, tactics, officers, soldiers, and spies that shaped this critical campaign, which helped set the stage for America’s final victory in the Revolution.


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