Cover image for Washington's crossing
Washington's crossing
Fischer, David Hackett, 1935-
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
15 audio discs (18 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact disc.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E263.P4 F575 2004C Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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Reviews 5

Booklist Review

Victorious since landing at New York in the summer of 1776, the British, by winter, were succeeding in their strategy to squelch the American rebellion. Many sunshine patriots, including a signer of the Declaration of Independence, accepted amnesty, while the small American army, ravaged by defeats in New York and the retreat across Newersey, huddled along the Pennsylvania bank of the Delaware River. From this nadir in the rebels' affairs, Fischer launches his subject--how the Americans reversed their fortunes in a short, sharp campaign that impressed military professionals at the time and since. An eminent, readable historian, Fischer ( Paul Revere's Ride, 1994) here delivers an outstanding analytical narrative. He opens with commentary about Emmanuel Leutze's iconic painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, whose unapologetic heroism induces mockery from deconstructing sophisticates. The painting captures much historical truth, counters Fischer, which he uncovers in functional yet transfixing prose. Fischer's exhaustive research, right down to the Americans' collection of supplies, captures the utter precariousness of the Americans' situation. A must-read for military-history fans, Fischer's work will also draw those who want to know more about the historical reality behind a celebrated image. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

At the core of an impeccably researched, brilliantly executed military history is an analysis of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River in December 1776 and the resulting destruction of the Hessian garrison of Trenton and defeat of a British brigade at Princeton. Fischer's perceptive discussion of the strategic, operational and tactical factors involved is by itself worth the book's purchase. He demonstrates Washington's insight into the revolution's desperate political circumstances, shows how that influenced the idea of a riposte against an enemy grown overconfident with success and presents Washington's skillful use of what his army could do well. Even more useful is Fischer's analysis of the internal dynamics of the combatants. He demonstrates mastery of the character of the American, British and Hessian armies, highlighting that British troops, too, fought for ideals, sacred to them, of loyalty and service. Above all, Brandeis historian Fischer (Albion's Seed) uses the Trenton campaign to reveal the existence, even in the revolution's early stage, of a distinctively American way of war, much of it based on a single fact: civil and military leaders were accountable to a citizenry through their representatives. From Washington down, Fischer shows, military leaders acknowledged civil supremacy and worked with civil officials. Washington used firepower and intelligence as force multipliers to speed the war for a practical people who wanted to win quickly in order to return to their ordinary lives. Tempo, initiative and speed marked the Trenton campaign from first to last. And Washington fought humanely, extending quarter in battle and insisting on decent treatment of prisoners. The crossing of the Delaware, Fischer teaches, should be seen as emblematic of more than a turning of the war's tide. 91 halftone, 15 maps. 3-city author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Most Americans still know the famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware but fewer recall the significance of the event it depicts. Fischer (history, Brandeis; Albion's Seed) puts this pivotal event back into context 5the course of world history. The 1776 campaign was a disaster for the Continental Army. The Howe brothers' organized and successful strategy had roundly defeated the Americans in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Compounding this was disarray among American commanders, a lack of discipline among the troops, and most enlistments expiring. Many on both sides felt that the rebellion was broken. Washington's bold offensive across the Delaware arguably saved the American cause. The Hessian defeat at Trenton and later at Princeton rejuvenated American hopes and saved Washington's command. In this well-written and -documented history, the author relies on an impressive mix of primary and secondary sources. The firsthand accounts and personal stories of major players from both sides add color to the narrative. The book features copious illustrations; maps; numerous appendixes including troop strength, casualties, weather, and Battle Order; and an excellent historiography of the event. Scholarly but very readable, it is recommended for libraries with an interest in early American history.-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Another stirring effort by the author of Paul Revere's Ride (Oxford, 1994). Readers will again cheer American perseverance, inventiveness, and improvisation as Washington, his officers, and their men turn the early military defeats of Long Island and New York City into victory at Trenton and Princeton. The opening chapter is devoted to the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. Then the author discusses the British, Hessian, and American military units that were involved in these campaigns and gives background on their officers. This is Fischer's strong suit: he tells stories and gives details that bring history alive. He makes the point that decisions made for varying reasons by converging sets of people determine history. In the hands of such a thorough researcher and talented writer, this is powerful stuff. The bulk of the book deals with the battles and their aftermath. The text is enriched by small reproductions of portraits, many by Charles Willson Peale, of the major players. The last chapter summarizes Fischer's points and would make a good teaching tool by itself.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The many threads in the operations of the American, British, and German mercenary armies of the American Revolutionary War are pulled together to make for an absorbing narrative that covers the New York campaign (July-November, 1776) through the two New Jersey campaigns (December 1776 to spring 1777). Fischer (Brandeis Univ., Albion's Seed, CH, Mar'90) gives fascinating descriptions of the cast of characters who shaped decisions. The author touches all bases, but one wishes for more depth regarding certain leaders, such as George Weedon (at Harlem Heights and Trenton, and hopefully getting his name correct, p. 104). Military analyses could be sharper. The "Crossing" of the Delaware leading to the battle of Trenton does not appear until page 214 (out of 379 text pages); the 170 pages of back material are quite a miscellany, from weather reports to a rambling essay on historiography. Nevertheless, this work is a masterpiece in depicting the multifaceted aspects of the second year of the Revolutionary War. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All history collections at all levels. H. M. Ward emeritus, University of Richmond