The History Book Club discussion

Washington: A Life
This topic is about Washington
47 views
PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > WEEK FOUR - SPOTLIGHT - Presidential Series - WASHINGTON, A LIFE - October 17th - October 23rd - Chapters EIGHTEEN through Chapters TWENTY-THREE - 206 - 284 - No Spoilers, Please

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Hello Everyone,

For the week of October 17th - October 23rd, we are reading the Chapters Eighteen through Twenty-Three of Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow.

The fourth week's reading assignment is:

Week Four - October 17th - October 23rd
Chapter Eighteen - Twenty-Three - (pages 206 - 284)

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book is being kicked off on September 26th.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, local bookstore or on your Kindle. This weekly thread will be opened up October 17th.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Bentley will be moderating this discussion and Assisting Moderators Teri, Jill, and Samanta will be backups.

Welcome,

~Bentley

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Washington A Life by Ron Chernow by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.

Notes:

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations:

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Also the citation thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Introduction Thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Table of Contents and Syllabus

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author used in his research or in his notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations. No self promotion, please. We will be adding to this thread as we read along.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts - SPOILER THREAD

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Washington A Life by Ron Chernow by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow


message 2: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Everyone, for the week of October 17th - October 23rd, we are reading the Chapter(s) 18 - 23 of Washington: A Life

The fourth week's reading assignment is:

Week Four - October 17th - October 23rd
Chapter(s) Eighteen - Twenty-Three - pages 206 - 284

Chapter Overview and Summary:

Chapter 18: Land of Freedom
Washington created a council of war as mandated by Congress. Washington's plan to invade Boston in September 1775, was turned down by the generals.

Chapter 19: The Heights
In March, Washington began to send down a volley of cannon fire while moving forces to Dorchester Heights. He was able to create a strong hold against the British. The British evacuated Boston. Washington predicted that the British would go to New York. Washington's men uncovered a spy ring.

Chapter 20: All London Afloat
As Washington and his men faced desertions and low morale, a copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived. This caused morale to rise until mid-July when British ships appeared and began firing on patriot strongholds.

Chapter 21: Disaster
The British gear up for battle, adding to their own force of men. On August 26, the British began to move up Gowanus Road in Long Island overwhelming Washington's men. They retreated and the Howes thought they might cut them off along the East River, but weather prevented movement. On August 29, Washington ordered the evacuation of his entire army across the East River. Washington and his men occupied Manhattan, but within in five days retreated as British forces moved up the Harlem River. On the night of September 14 British ships dropped anchor in Kip's Bay, demolishing American defenses. Washington moved his men to Harlem.

Chapter 22: An Indecisive Mind
With the arrival British ships in the East River, Washington's men marched north toward White Plains with British and Hessian soldiers in quick pursuit. Another defeat takes place on Chatterton's Hill. Washington turns his attention to patriot forts, Fort Washington and Fort Lee. On November 15, General Howe sends a message to Greene demanding he relinquish Fort Washington or have it taken by force. The following day, Washington began a trip to the fort just as it came under siege. He takes up a defensive position on the shore and watched the British decimate his fort, forcing his troops to surrender. On November 20, Washington learns that the British were marching toward Fort Lee. Washington orders the evacuation of the fort.

Chapter 23: The Crossing
Washington marches his troops into Pennsylvania with General Howe closely behind. Aware of a Hessian garrison in Trenton, Washington and his generals plan a nighttime crossing of the Delaware for a surprise attack. Washington's troops cross the river, catching the Hessians unawares and defeating them in less than an hour. Another battle between the Continental Army and the Hessians takes place in Trenton on January 12, 1777 where Washington would rally his men against an overconfident Cornwallis. Cornwallis backed off for the night, while Washington moves his men to Princeton. The Battle of Princeton would be fought the following day, leading to another overwhelming American victory.


message 3: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Hello Everyone. We are open for week four. Post your thoughts and comments here on the weeks reading. We are talking about chapters 18-23. You can discuss anything in the book up to chapter 23 this week.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
My goodness - you beat me to it this week Teri.


message 5: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Bentley wrote: "My goodness - you beat me to it this week Teri."

Wasn't sure if you were back. ;-)


message 6: by Carol (last edited Oct 25, 2016 06:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol Dobson | 94 comments P.215. Chernow writes, "unlike her husband Martha wasn't naturally courageous, but she was a determined woman who could rise to the occasion."
How does Chernow know this, I wondered? Her courage would not have been so obvious as that of a sword-wielding man who was unafraid to expose himself to danger in battle, but my impression of Martha is that she was a courageous woman. A few lines later, Chernow writes that " despite fears that Lord Dunmore might abduct her from Mt vernon, Martha had refused to move to the town house they owned in Alexandria."
Martha did not have to share the winter at Valley Forge with her husband (although in a house not a hut), as well as the myriad times she accompanied him in often very difficult situations.
Martha was a considerable support to George throughout his long career, military and political, and it is difficult to think that this did not involve considerable courage.


Savannah Jordan | 94 comments Carol wrote: "P.215. Chernow writes, "unlike her husband Martha wasn't naturally courageous, but she was a determined woman who could rise to the occasion."
How does Chernow know this, I wondered? Her courage wo..."


Well said. She certainly had courage, but it wasn't the type of courage that people easily notice. It doesn't entail going into battle with bullets flying by you. Many times it is easier to display the latter type of courage because there is a great deal of glory associated with it. Whereas Martha's courage was the kind that is little noticed, but requires an equal amount of bravery.


Harmke I knew that the Revolution took some time, but I did not know that it was this close to failure so many times. Unbelievable how inadequate the Continental Army was equiped and still found a way to survive. George Washington really showed his qualities as a politician here.
Unbelievable how many times the Royal Army let the Continental Army slip away from a total crush. I'm still trying to figure out whether Howe thought a political solution best or did he understand the grievances of the Americans?


Pamela (winkpc) | 621 comments One of G Washington's biggest contributions during the War was simply his ability to hold it together and stay in the fight. He was astute enough to realize that his army was in no position to face the English head on, so he concentrated his efforts on getting them ready and just hanging on until they were.


Glynn | 214 comments I was impressed how Washington cocealed the lack of gunpowder from the troops by making firing weapons in camp seem like "insubordination, not a waste of ammunition. " (pg 200)


Karen (karinlib) I found Washington's response to the way the British initially addressed him: George Washington, esq, humorous (chapter 20).


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Savannah wrote: "Carol wrote: "P.215. Chernow writes, "unlike her husband Martha wasn't naturally courageous, but she was a determined woman who could rise to the occasion."
How does Chernow know this, I wondered? ..."


I would say that Martha had "industrious" courage - she just kept working at what she felt she had to do - to support her husband and her country (maybe for her - her husband's country) - the man who took her children care as a primary responsibility - etc. etc.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Sorry to be so late folks - I was involved in a campaign (as a loser- sad)

some small notes of items I found of interest -

Chapter 18 - GW had to begin deceiving the troops and the Brits of his situation with gunpowder and other supplies


chapt 19 - pg 222/223 - GW's personal guard was to be not over 5'10" - no taller than GW - protecting to a degree GW's ability to impress
the Brits were offering bounties to Americans to desert.

pg 227 - GW forces Brits to evacuate Boston leaving p 228 supplies behind.

pg 230 - for those who know NYC para 2 - GW's house is "north of the city" but that location then was just south of where Houston Street is now - so below what is now just the beginning of the numbered streets. - so that is my vision of a safe distance from NYC at his time

pg 231 MW gets vaccinated against smallpox and GW begins defensive against germ warfare - quite progressive.

pg 232/233 GW is tried with loyalists (now called traitors) = plus real traitors - we must remember that is 1774 loyalty if one had it was to the King and the colony

chapter 20

GW see Brit naval power and they try to negotiate with him to surrender - I assume he likely could have surrendered and walked away a free man--------?????????

---------------------------------

Chapter 21
What a great gripping laying out of the battle of Brooklyn - for those who can geographically there is - I think until Jan - an exhibit on the Battle of Brooklyn at the New York Historical Society in NYC - great - not be be missed if you can get there.

Chapter 22

just two notes on this one

pg 259 para 3 - interesting to me that Congress is back seat drinking making tactical demands on the field officer

pg 262 - para 2 - Brits bayoneting captured American soldiers, (makes it hard to understand how the Brits could have thought Americans would then more easily surrender or give up)

Chapter 23 - another exciting battle details and a summary of GW's growth into power he already had


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Folks we will continue this and get caught up - there is no rush and this is a great book - I was just out handling personal situations.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Washington: A Life (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Ron Chernow (other topics)