Synopses & 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 of defeating the world's most formidable military power.
While the British Army relaxed in Philadelphia only 20 miles away, George Washington trained his army under brutal conditions. Fleming reveals that during this difficult winter Washington was simultaneously fighting another war – one for his political life as members of the Continental Congress hatched a plot to unseat him and others plotted to betray him. For the first time, WASHINGTON'S SECRET WAR reveals how Washington's genius at negotiating the gray world of spies, double agents, and palace intrigue vaulted him from losing general to the charismatic father of his country.
Fleming enhances his position as a leading general-audience historian of the American Revolution with this convincing argument. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Solid account of the political intrigue that threatened the American cause during the winter of 1777-78. Boston Globe
"Congress does not trust me. I cannot continue thus," George Washington confided to Congressman Francis Dana of Massachusetts on his first visit to Valley Forge. Indeed, the profound disparity between the needs of Washington's weakened army and the wants of the politically powerful could have forced even the strongest leaders to the breaking point. As renowned historian Thomas Fleming shows in this startling book, Washington waged two wars that winter: one for the lives of his troops, the other for the integrity of his character.
Using diaries and letters, Fleming creates an unforgettable portrait of an embattled general. Far from the long-suffering stoic of historical myth, Washington responds to attacks from his enemies in Congress and the American army with the dexterity of a master politician. Written with Fleming's customary flair and eye for human drama, this gripping narrative develops with the authority of a major historian and the skills of a master storyteller.
Evaluates Valley Forge as a point of departure to discuss the larger context of the Revolutionary War, linking the winter stay of the Continental Army during 1777 and 1778 to such key events as the negotiations with the French, the British occupation of Philadelphia, and the maneuvering of the Continental Congress. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
About the Author
Thomas Fleming is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction. His most recent book on the Revolutionary era, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America, won unstinting praise from fellow historians and reviewers. Thomas Slaughter of Notre Dame wrote: "Fleming gets the story right in ways that generations of historians have missed." The Associated Press reviewer concluded: "It is impossible not to love this book." Mr. Fleming is a frequent guest on C-Span, PBS, A&E, and the History Channel. He lives in New York City.