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

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  142 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 dimmed his army’s
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 20th 2009)
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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
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
Ray
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
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
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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Charlene
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
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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Nan
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.
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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K J
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!
James
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.
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
Lindsey Debord
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.
George Miller
This historical fiction cover's Washington's campaign against Howe's Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey on December 25 and 26, 1776. The sick, freezing and starving American Army's victory over the well fed and well supplied Hessians allowed the American Revolution to survive into 1777. The book is narrated through the eyes of George Washington, Thomas Paine, and a fictional Jersey Militia private named Jonathon Van Dorne. Unlike Gingrich's and Forstchen's earlier novels, this book is no ...more
Seena
I learned so much about the trials of those soldiers and their sacrifices at the crossing of the Delaware. No idea. Thanks to Newt.
Sam Gaston


Amazing book… makes you proud to be American, but also makes you understand how good we have it today.
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
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
Paul Lunger
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
Andrew Toy
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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Dr. David Steele
"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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Chip Watts
I'm glad Gingrich is out of the Presidential race. Now he can continue to concentrate on being an excellent historian. I've read several of his historical novelizations - Civil War, WWII, and now this Revolutionary War series.
It took me a long time to read To Try Men's Souls as I'm not much into novels at present. But I enjoyed the time I did spend in this book. It was an excellent tribute to one of the handful of historical characters I consider my heroes - George Washington. I came away from t
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Devan Norris
While a fairly light take on the battle itself, the book does a fine job of recreating emotion and putting the war for Independence into a context that modern readers can take to heart. The treatment was an easy read, and good for those interested in, but not obsessed with, history. As I am a native of that geographical area, I found the local descriptions to be accurate and well-researched.
Lee
This latest historic novel from Gingrich and Forstchen takes on the Revolutionary War. Depicting the Crossing of the Delaware, march and Battle of Trenton it follow Washington troops during the time that “tried men’s souls”. It follows Thomas Paine, Washington and a young scout from Trenton New Jersey who embodies the spirit of all the unknown soldiers who fought for freedom during the revolution. They also use the solider to show the divided loyalties during the war as when they arrive at Trent ...more
Randy Elster
Interesting fleshing out of the famous crossing of the Delaware, which becomes Washington's shining moment. Makes you really think about what our non-"sunshine patriot" soldiers really went through. I would give it 5 stars but there were many typos and grammatical issues. I did not love the authors' writing style. But the overall effect was quite interesting.
Christine
Told through three voices - George Washington, Thomas Paine, and a soldier named Jonathon - we embark upon the famous crossing of the Delaware. Men sloshed for miles in a blinding snowstorm barefoot and with threadbare clothes that didn't even cover their bodies anymore. They were hungry, sick, and heartbroken from the recent defeats they suffered. Families were divided and entire towns hid wondering if they should support the Torries or the Patriots.

The story was riveting. At times I had to rem
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Ken
It is a very gripping account of the 24 hours with the battle of Trenton at the center. Gingrich and his co-authors write very good history, usually with a twist of some sort. This time they wrote the battle as best they could as it happened, as reality can be stranger than fiction as in this case of a monumental battle that happened at a critical time.
Marguerite
Having read the Pearl Harbor books, which take history and 'what if' something different had happened, I was pleased to find this was a historical account of what actually happened. It takes you through the build up to the battle, how lucky they were to win, how it changed the tide of the Revolution. It supposed the thoughts of some of the main characters, like George Washington and Thomas Paine, but I found that added to the overall richness of the book.
My one minor complaint was that it took t
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Kristine
I learned just how the Revolutionary War affected the life of Jonathan, a soldier in Washington's army. It literally split his family down the middle. His family doesn't understand his passion for the cause Jonathan is willing to risk his life for. They think he's jumping on a bandwagon that is surely going to fail in the end.
I learned more about Thomas Paine and the risk of printing "Common Sense", his famous call for finishing the fight for freedom.
I learned about George Washington and what
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review 1 13 Jan 25, 2010 07:18PM  
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5103
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich (born Newton Leroy McPherson) is an American politician who served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Time magazine selected him as the Person of the Year for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the House, ending 40 years of the Democratic Party being in the majority. During his tenure as Speaker, he re ...more
More about Newt Gingrich...
Gettysburg (Gettysburg, #1) Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th (Pearl Harbor, #1) Grant Comes East (Gettysburg, #2) Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (Gettysburg, #3) Valley Forge (Revolutionary War, #2)

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