Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge” as Want to Read:
Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,195 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews

The defining moments of the Revolutionary War did not occur on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table, claims Thomas Fleming, but at Valley Forge, where the Continental Army wintered in 1777 & 78. WASHINGTON'S SECRET WAR tells the dramatic story of how those several critical months transformed a beaten, bedraggled group of recruits into a professional army capable

Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Washington's Secret War, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Washington's Secret War

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lately I've been on a Revolutionary War kick. My brother got me this book for my birthday, so I read it.


Despite the subtitle, nothing I read about Valley Forge in this book was hidden to me. I already knew that the weather wasn't that cold, or that the soldiers were starving because of poor administration, not a lack of food (Valley Forge is actually rich farmland with high yields). Moreover, I already knew about the Conway Cabal and Washington's efforts to fend off usurpers like Horatio
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: presidents
Well I wasn't going to rate this more than 3 but the final 75 pages turned things around for me. Washington's secret political war was in fact quite remarkable. Reminded me a bit of Eisenhower's similar political war with some of his allied compatriots. Only leaders of this caliber could stand a chance of success. Some fascinating things I learned . . .
* Did you know that during the Revolutionary War that Philadelphia was the largest city in America and 3rd largest city in the British Empire.
A very well-executed history of this pivotal time & place in the American Revolution. Fleming succeeds in his avowed aim of showing George Washington the adept political operative, a man at least as skilled in the art of politics as he was in the art of war.

Fleming doesn't bother to hide his contempt for his villains, the "true Whigs" (such as Benjamin Rush, Sam Adams, James Lovell, and their fellows; political theorists today might call their tendency "civic republicanism") and the scheming
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
WASHINGTON’S SECRET WAR: The Hidden History of Valley Forge. (2005). Thomas Fleming. ****.
This is an alternative history of the period during the Revolution when Washington and his Continental Army was holed up at Valley Forge for the winter of 1777. 1777 was a mixed year for the Continental effort. It started out on January 3 with Washington’s victory at Princeton after his surprise attack and victory at Trenton on December 26 of 1776. These two victories turned the tide for the rebels and sec
I read almost all of this book in one day and I enjoyed reading about the events of Valley Forge that I was not terribly familiar with. The parts on Baron Von Steuben were my favorite. I knew that he was not what he presented himself to be when he arrived here, but I did not realize how impressed everyone, even those outside of Valley Forge, was with the work that Von Steuben did with the Continental Army.

A majority of the book focuses on the political intrigues between Generals (Washington, Ga
Stanley Cramer
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this because of the amount of interesting information I never knew of nearby Valley Forge. I suppose that,s why it's the hidden history - duh. Washington sure didn't have an easy go of it and it had only a little to do with the weather. A must for Revolutionary War history buffs.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written and interesting account of George Washington while he led his new army to Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. While this is not a difficult read, if one is not familiar with some of the key individuals (e.g., Mifflin, Gates, Wayne, etc.) that influenced the Revolutionary War, the beginning of the book can be somewhat confusing until the reader becomes acquainted with all of the military officers, politicians, and people in power during this time in American history. Written ...more
Renn Daniels
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Valley Forge is a very special place for those that have been there. As you walk among the ruins or remnants of an army that lived, breathed and died here, picture a brutal winter, no food--men eating their leather goods, bark huts or dugouts, disease and death. You wonder how a General of any kind kept his soldiers together. Washington said loses were as high as 3000, however, it's now estimated that he lost more than half his army oh, BTW, their enlistments were up so they could just go home. ...more
This book was all over the place. I did learn some new things despite having previously read a bit about Valley Forge. I appreciated the in-depth examination of the events going on behind-the-scenes during the winter of 1777-78. But how accurate this book is remains to be seen; there are no references in this edition to support anything the author claims. The writing is so biased I can’t make a determination about what is real and what is exaggerated.
Craig Pearson
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was hard to put down. Many history authors are very knowledgeable on their subject but have difficulty putting readable thoughts into a good story. I won't repeat what other reviewers have said about the book, they are all accurate. What Fleming has done is to provide a narrative of a narrow part of the Revolution and intertwine it into the wider context of the era. Any book that can entertainingly add to a better understanding of Washington the man and soldier is worth reading.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army
  • Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign That Won the Revolution
  • Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence
  • Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War
  • 1775: A Good Year for Revolution
  • Paul Revere's Ride
  • For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions
  • George Washington's War: The Forging of a Revolutionary Leader and the American Presidency
  • Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution
  • Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution
  • General George Washington: A Military Life
  • John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy
  • Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America
  • The Sage of Monticello
  • Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency
  • A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence
  • Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different
  • The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
Thomas J. Fleming is an historian and historical novelist, with a special interest in the American Revolution. He was born in 1927 in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of a World War I hero who was a leader in Jersey City politics for three decades. Before her marriage, his mother, Katherine Dolan Fleming, was a teacher in the Jersey City Public School System.

After graduating from St. Peter's Prepa
More about Thomas J. Fleming...