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To Try Men's Souls (Revolutionary War #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  1,238 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews

Bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen turn their sharp eye for detail on three men in the middle of the Revolutionary War and the birth of America.

 It is the night before the crossing of the Delaware, one of the most iconic events in American history, and General Washington is full of doubt. The harsh winter and repeated defeats have di

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Paperback, 345 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 20th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Stephen
Holy "Wholly Unexpectedness, Batman!"...Newt has written an historical fiction novel...and it's Fan....tas....tic.

Having not previously read any of the historical fiction novels by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen (who I assume does much of the “in the trenches”work on this), I was very pleasantly stunned by how terrific this novel was. The story is engaging and very well written and it’s clear that it was also painstakingly researched. Yet, despite the significant amount of historical detai
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Brad Stevens
Oct 13, 2012 Brad Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I discovered a copy of this book tossed into a sale bin, I considered it no great risk to invest in it. After a cursory review of the jacket, I fully expected a well-researched setting for an interesting story. I got that and more.

What I did not expect was that this reader, who is hyper-critical of construction and grammar and judgmental of a writer's craft, would find himself reading through tears, not once, not occasionally, but again and again as the story unfolded, revealing the deep d
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Corey Holst
I've always been fascinated by Revolutionary American History and with a story about Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Night before retaking the town of Trenton, New Jersey it sounded perfect. I wanted to LOVE it...... but didn't. I was half-way through it and still hadn't hit upon any story. Most of it is personal thoughts, fears and LOADS of self-doubt, which is ok up to a certain point. There were MANY flashbacks that held more suspense than the "present" timeline. But after ...more
Carol Storm
A Patriotic epic of Revolutionary Combat -- what's not to like?

Well, there's no combat to speak of, till the last fifty pages. About three quarters of the book is Washington crossing the Delaware -- but it's all men tripping, falling, cursing, muddy trails, snow down the back of the neck, endless paragraphs about innocent farm boys shivering uncontrollably and dying slowly. I mean, I get it -- heroes make sacrifices. But I've seen William Forstchen write novels where the combat action is red-ho
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Ray
Mar 29, 2010 Ray rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book describes Washington's crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, along with the writings of Thomas Paine and the common Revolutionary War soldier. The basic facts involving Washington's crossing of the Delaware are fairly well known, and this book attempts to fill in some of the blanks of the story by giving the reader an idea of what may have transpired on a personal level of some of the leaders and soldiers. The dialogue crafted was a little melodrammatic, so I thought the ...more
John
Jun 27, 2012 John rated it really liked it
I've read several books about Washington crossing the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, but this is the best. The style is similar to the writings of Michael Shaara. The story told from the viewpoint of the participants, American and Hessian. It really does a great job of portraiting the hardships endured by those soldiers. The freezing sleet and snow, most of the men without shoes and winter clothing, the bloody footsteps in the snow. The Americans had suffered defeat after defeat and the arm ...more
WC Beaver
George Washington was truly a God inspired man. "To Try Men's Souls" details the trials and tribulations of the leader of the Continental Army during its escape from New York to Pennsylvania and across the Delaware to encamp at McConkey's Ferry. Washington's resolve and spirit to attack the Hessians soldiers at Trenton on Christmas Day are beyond comprehension.

This excellent historical fiction account of the year 1776 features iconoclastic personality Thomas Paine, the rapscallion author of The
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Charlene
Nov 06, 2011 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about George Washington and his men; and what transpired during those weeks before they crossed the Delaware. This novel is written in the voice of Gen George Washington, Thomas Paine and that of a lowly Jersey Militia man Jonathan. We read of the incredible suffering these men indured, how they did not let anything including the many defeats leading up to the struggle to get across the Delaware where they were finially victorious. They were a rag tag army of men who would not give ...more
Tim Kubiak
Feb 10, 2012 Tim Kubiak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Going in I was concerned that today's politics might slip into the story line. Other than a few jabs at the continental congress being self serving and treacherous noting else smacked of modern politics. The story which is "historical fiction" was well told and had a recurring series of characters who were both well known names (Washington, Hamilton) and endearing everyman who believed in and suffered for the American cause.

Highly entertain but in my case at least will force me to do some more s
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K J
May 10, 2013 K J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if you're not a history buff, take the time to explore history with these two wonderful historians and storytellers. Gingrich & Forstchen weave a spellbinding and vivid account of Washington's crossing the Delaware. Thomas Paine and Jonathan Van Dorn add dimension and perspective to this inspiring story. You'll find yourself right in the midst of a bleak, cold, valiant and desperate fight for your new country!
Nan
May 30, 2010 Nan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am relearning and adding to my knowledge of American history. You can't protect the freedoms that you have unless you know how we started as a country, A Republic, what we represent, and where we have been as a people. All of that should direct us on the proper path ahead. I would classify this book as an historical novel. It is excellent. Relive crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Eve, in the midst of an ice and snowstorm, with George Washington. I'm almost half way through it.
Daniel Threlfall
Mar 02, 2015 Daniel Threlfall rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I wish I could have liked this book more. There was a lot going for it, but it just didn't have the strength and inspiration that I was expecting from Forstchen.

The plot struggled to stay afloat, and the character development seemed forced. I appreciated the details and insight regarding the revolutionary conflict, but I couldn't get engaged due to some of the novelistic contrivances.
James
Feb 20, 2010 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! A great book for Revolutionary War students. Authors have outdone themselves. I could feel the soldiers' pain. "To Try Men's Souls" brings this most important conflict to life. I am going back and finishing, if not beginning again, "John Adams" by David McCullough.
Lindsey Debord
Feb 18, 2013 Lindsey Debord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought this was a very noble attempt at making non-fiction more "story" like. Started to drag a bit about 3/4 the way through but for obvious reasons, the ending is quite dramatic. I'd definitely recommend.
Sam Gaston


Amazing book… makes you proud to be American, but also makes you understand how good we have it today.
Seena
Jan 28, 2013 Seena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much about the trials of those soldiers and their sacrifices at the crossing of the Delaware. No idea. Thanks to Newt.
Louis
Jan 25, 2015 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of the Battle of Trenton has long been one that is deeply meaningful to me, as it illustrates the incredible bravery and sacrifice of the great men who were ready to, and often did, give their lives in defense of the cause of liberty and the creation of a nation which, for the first time in history, was established on the principle that man is sovereign by virtue of being a child of the Creator, and government our servant, acting through the delegated power granted by the consent of th ...more
Cheryl
Nov 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love the writing of this book. It was repetitive, and periodically slow. I was excited to read this because it was based on the Revolutionary war. This booked focused on the night Washington crossed the Delaware and overtook Trenton. Its amazing what these soldiers did. I just felt that at times it was boring, and easy to put down. The battle at Trenton was at the end of the book, and it felt like it took forever to finally read about the battle.
Richard Cronin
Nov 19, 2016 Richard Cronin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent books was a gift from my daughter. Being of a lover of American history, this Novel is one I especially enjoyed. We as a people cannot truly cherish what this great country of ours without knowing what those who came before us sacrificed in order to make America happen. I believe every parent should place this book on their children's required reading list. It's that good!
Robert Enzenauer
Shared by a friend. Very good American historical fiction. I have really enjoyed most all of Speaker Gingrich's fiction.
Brian
Feb 16, 2016 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a history buff, saw this book on the bargain shelf at the bookstore and bought it. I have stayed away from the novel before now because its authors are Historians and not writers and badly written books annoy me greatly. "To Try Men's Souls" is nicely written at times and just full of awful prose at others.
Some strengths of the text include the very clever manner Tom Paine gets the ideas and inspiration for his famous "The American Crisis" pamphlet. It is historical that Paine traveled with
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Andrew Toy
Feb 11, 2013 Andrew Toy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a Revolutionary War fanatic, I was extremely excited to read To Try Men’s Souls by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and author William Forstchen.

Sadly, this post is a first on AdoptingJames. It is my first negative review.

I asked Sarabeth if I should even write a negative review since I’ve taken it upon myself to shed light on the great books/movies I discover. But my last book review shed light on dark patches on an otherwise raving review. Perhaps I’m heading in a new direction.

So
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Lindsay Doering
This book was marginal as an historical account of a large chuck of the Revolutionary War - for example the introduction includes the statement "He [Washington] also represented Virginia which was the most important colony". The sentence is, of itself, meaningless: most important in what sense? Agricultural production? It would have made an interesting first sentence to another, different book; but the sentence is unsupported and just stands there. And it makes you wonder about the credibility o ...more
Dale
Sep 04, 2015 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published in in 2009 by MacMillan Audio
Read by William Dufris, Callista Gingrich and Eric Conger
Duration: 12 hours, 23 minutes
Unabridged

To Try Men's Souls
is a powerful piece of historical fiction that focuses on three men in the American army at its lowest point in the Revolutionary War - right before the famed surprise attack on the Hessians at Trenton. The story follows three men - one is a New Jersey private with family on both sides of the war, the other two are Geo
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Andy
Apr 08, 2016 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very aware of the gravity of the subject of this book as I dove into it, but that did not damper my amazement and astonishment of just what these brave men did on that Christmas night back in 1776 to literally save this burgeoning and embryonic nation from being a permanent English colony. I have no doubts to the legitimacy of the events in this book, but what made this tale hit so deep is the wonderful characterizations that Gingrich/Forstchen gave historic people like Washington, Knox, P ...more
Kristen
This book could have been cut in half and it still would have conveyed the same message. There was so much redundancy that it just about bored you to death. It seemed that every few pages reminded you of what you'd read in the previous chapter; I guess the average reader has a short attention span? It was laborious reading up until about the 55% mark (I was reading on my Kindle), when you finally got to see the battle scene. I found the first half of the book to be tedious and confusing, and I n ...more
Cat Reads
What I liked was understanding how horrifying the battle was. It wasn't just the fighting moments that are important, but also how they were able to get there and seeing how worn out the men were. I got that and I really appreciated it and enjoyed it to a point. But having over 85% of the book being about them crossing the Delaware, etc. makes the story feel dragged out too far. I would have liked if they did splices of the Battle of Trenton, with the traveling and crossing over, with getting to ...more
TonyB
Feb 17, 2016 TonyB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this work of historical fiction, the reader gets pulled deeply into the sufferings and risks associated with the patriots and their desire for freedom. The movie The Patriot gives the average American a sense for the cost of freedom. This book, however, takes it to a level that makes it even more real. I like the portrayal of the struggle that Thomas Paine had with his personal demons as well as the uncertainty of victory. His words inspired an army and he was looked to again and again as the ...more
Paul Lunger
Oct 15, 2013 Paul Lunger rated it it was amazing
December 1776 & the fledgling United States of America is searching for a major win in the American Revolution & something to keep the fight up against the British. With George Washington's daring midnight Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River to take Trenton, NJ & turn the tide this new nation had just that victory. Newt Gingrich & William Fortschen's "To Try Men's Souls" is the story of the Battle of Trenton told from the perspectives of Washington, Thomas Paine & Pr ...more
David Steele
Feb 28, 2013 David Steele rated it really liked it
"Victory or Death ..." General George Washington made the words famous in the famous campaign to overtake Trenton on December 26, 1776. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen combine forces in their historical thriller, To Try Men's Souls.

Washington combines a mixture of stealth, wisdom, and careful military strategy as they overran British forces at Trenton. Gingrich and Forstchen make the story come alive with vivid detail and rich storytelling. To Try Men's Souls is
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review 1 13 Jan 25, 2010 07:18PM  
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Newt Gingrich is well-known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. After he was elected Speaker, he disrupted the status quo by moving power out of Washington and back to the American people. Under his leadership, Congress passed welfare reform ...more
More about Newt Gingrich...

Other Books in the Series

Revolutionary War (3 books)
  • Valley Forge (Revolutionary War, #2)
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“Widely known as the best horseman in the colonies, Washington was so strong he could break a walnut between his thumb and first finger. Washington” 0 likes
“A good officer learned to take care of the feet of his men first, and from there their stomachs and hearts. By that means, he could motivate their souls.” 0 likes
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