Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"To Try Men's Souls"

"To Try Men's Souls" by Newt Gingrich (and coauthor): Thumbs up

I really enjoyed this rich and vivid novel that chronicles the amazing Christmas crossing of the Delaware by George Washington and his (at that point) very ragged and exhausted army. It is a moment of history that, of course, we are all familiar with but that is played out in this novel in a very thorough and moving way. The story follows General Washington, Thomas Paine, and a young militia man whose family's loyalties are divided as a result of the war and who is wholly committed to the cause of the Revolution. Gingrich's writing is very engaging and I found the book emotionally draining at times as I felt the absolute improbability of victory under the circumstances and therefore the unbelievable triumph of it in the end. In the context of the battle, Gingrich interspersed the struggles of Tom Paine in producing words to inspire such a demoralized and ragged army. His "The American Crisis" takes on even greater meaning when seen in the context of when it was written.

As it fits into the time period we are studying in history, I knew I would take interest in this book. But as I have been disappointed in other popular historical fiction writer's works, I found I was very happy with both the topic and the great writing of this amazing book.

1 comment:

  1. Jenna, what a great review! Makes me want to request it right away. Unfortunately, I've having to cut myself off. It's just like an addiction, this reading thing. I haven't been able to request via MnLink for ever so long because I'm at my ten request limit. I've just been using Joe's. But it's frustrating because I never have time to finish them all.

    But this is one I will definitely be requesting. (A totally worthless added bonus, I love learning more about Trenton. It's the Stephanie Plum thing.)