The Washington Crossing Historic Park Book Club will begin a new book, Surviving the Winters: Housing Washington’s Army During the American Revolution by Steven Elliott, at its December meeting.
The meeting will be held December 20, at 5:30 PM, on Zoom. Registration is required. To register, please visit DCNR’s website. Zoom meeting details will be provided upon registration. Participants should be prepared to discuss the Introduction through Chapter 2.
Surviving the Winters: Housing Washington’s Army During the American Revolution
Surviving the Winters is the first book to show how camp construction and administration played a crucial role in Patriot strategy during the war. As Elliott reminds readers, Washington’s troops spent only a few days a year in combat. The rest of the time, particularly during the winter months, they were engaged in another kind of battle – against the elements, disease, and hunger.
“This book certainly relates to the experience that we’re trying to interpret here at the park, particularly at the Thompson-Neely House & Farmstead, where Washington’s army encamped in December 1776,” museum curator Kimberly McCarty says.
While the battles tend to attract the most attention, McCarty says she’s drawn to stories, like this one, that describe the minutiae of everyday life during the war.
“With the book club’s selections, I really try to focus on common experiences that connect our readers with their counterparts in the 18th century, the kinds of things we can all relate to,” she says.
McCarty believes that beginning the discussion of Surviving the Winters on the eve of winter will help those intersections feel even more visceral for readers. In exploring the inner workings of the Continental Army through the prism of its encampments, Elliott believes he’s also captured a telling new perspective on Washington’s generalship during the Revolutionary War.
A lecturer in the Department of History at Rutgers University-Newark, Elliott will be a guest lecturer at the park in May.
Upcoming Book Club Meetings
Book club meetings are free and open to all. Members should provide their own books.