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“Valley Forge” brings together an illustrious cast of characters highlighted by Washington’s closest aides Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, and John Laurens – astonishingly, each barely out of their teens. Also playing key roles in the narrative are Martha Washington and the American Generals “Mad Anthony” Wayne, Nathanael Greene, and Benedict Arnold; the Falstaffian Baron Friedrich von Steuben and the imperious Count Casimir Pulaski; the Founding Fathers Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Hancock – the latter two deeply suspicious of what they viewed as Gen. Washington’s autocratic motives; and last but not least a common soldiery from whose desperate ranks emerged the future President James Monroe, the future Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, the storied water carrier Molly Pitcher, and the dashing cavalry officer “Light Horse” Harry Lee, destined to father the son who nearly a century later would surrender his sword to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.
With its laser focus on the military machinations and political intrigue hanging over the humble military cantonment in the Valley of the Forges as well as the significant events and battles that immediately preceded and succeeded it – not least the climactic and war-altering Battle of Monmouth Court House – “Valley Forge” provides a perspective on Washington and the Revolutionary War too often if not completely overlooked. (Hardcover, 432 pages)
Bob Drury & Tom Clavin