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On Our Shelves

Book Review of “Igniting the American Revolution”

April 25th, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter Derek Beck has produced a highly readable and meticulously researched account of the incipient stages of the Revolution, beginning with the Boston Tea Party in December 1773 and culminating with the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775. The extent of his scholarly investigation into this subject is reflected by the almost 200 pages in this volume devoted to appendices, notes, and bibliographic references. His prose is taut, his sources many, and his portrayal of the relevant events vivid and comprehensive. Beck’s narrative is replete with all the details that Read More

Book Review of “Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence”

April 24th, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter It is hard to imagine a better single-volume military history of the Revolution than John Ferling’s account. This is a “page turner” — comprehensive in scope, thorough and detailed in its coverage, fair and balanced in its judgments — a work that unquestionably belongs in the library of any self-respecting Rev War buff. This reader particularly appreciated the cogent analysis in the concluding chapter of the reasons for the outcome of the struggle, with its attention to both the American and British sides of the equation and a carefully considered Read More

Book Review of “An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America”

April 23rd, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter Tragedy. This was the inevitable outcome of Great Britain’s North American policy in the early 1770s, as Nick Bunker laments in his superbly written and penetrating analysis of the road to revolution that focuses on the three-year period immediately preceding Lexington and Concord. It was a tragedy that took the form of an eight-year-long military conflict in which, as the author observes, “on the British side at least twenty thousand soldiers and sailors lost their lives in America, the West Indies, or at sea, in battle or dying in their Read More

Book Review of “George Washington: A Life”

April 22nd, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter Although Ron Chernow’s weighty tome is not for every reader, anyone wanting to discover the flesh-and-blood man behind the Washington legend need look no further than this Pulitzer Prize-winning account. Chernow’s elegant prose brilliantly captures America’s elusive “First Hero.” His Washington is an individual of driving ambition but modest public persona. Someone who experienced powerful emotions but publicly maintained an aloof and dignified demeanor; a shrewd businessman who struggled in his quest for financial security; a demanding slaveholder who became the only “founding father” to free those he held in Read More

Book Review of “Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It”

April 21st, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter This acclaimed historian’s newest account of the Revolution is a crisp, clear narrative that comprehensively covers the political, military, economic, and social aspects of the period from 1763 to 1783. The author of a slew of works on the Founding Fathers and early America, John Ferling displays a deft touch in covering the essential components of what is obviously a multifaceted story and weaving them into a broader context. By doing so, he helps the reader to better understand the upheaval that launched America on its quest for independence and Read More

Book Review of “Washington’s Revolution: The Making of America’s First Leader”

April 21st, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter Robert Middlekauff’s latest work focuses on Washington’s rise from self-interested, sometimes brash youth to selfless leader exhibiting prudent judgment and a steady hand in the cause of his country’s independence—and a provincial Virginian’s evolution into an ardent nationalist. This riveting new study by an acclaimed historian takes the reader up to Washington’s resignation as Continental Army commander in 1783. We are given fresh insight into the leadership that brought an army back from the brink of total defeat, held it together under the most adverse conditions, demonstrated a steadfast commitment Read More

Book Review of “American Revolution: A Continental History, 1750-1804”

April 17th, 2020

Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter Alan Taylor’s latest work is an extraordinarily comprehensive history of the political and social turmoil that engulfed America in the late 18th century and how it impacted every segment of the population. His unvarnished account takes the bark off the story of America’s struggle for independence, informed by a focus on the often brutal reality that accompanied the war – particularly for Loyalists, Native Americans, and African Americans. Taylor debunks the traditional notions of our revolutionary enterprise as an idealistic and heroic venture, but his emphasis on its bloody and Read More

In the Bookstore: The Road to Assunpink Creek

June 23rd, 2019

Reviewed by Tom Maddock, Historical Interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park David Price has put together a wonderful account of the Second Battle of Trenton in his new book, The Road to Assunpink Creek. It presents the details of a battle that doesn’t get as much press as the others. David lays out the details in an engaging and understandable way. He has organized those details in an easy-flowing style and makes the story come alive with his wonderful writing. He makes it easy to understand and appreciate the heroics of the Battle of Assunpink Creek. David has drawn details from Read More