Washington's Secret War

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9780060872939: Washington's Secret War

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.

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About the Author:

Thomas Fleming is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently, The Perils of Peace. He has been the president of the Society of American Historians and of PEN American Center. Mr. Fleming is a frequent guest on C-SPAN, PBS, A&E, and the History Channel. He lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Fleming enhances his position as a leading general-audience historian of the American Revolution in this convincing argument for the importance of internal diplomacy in the conflict's development. Like David McCullough's 1776, Fleming's volume depicts Valley Forge as the revolution's turning point, with the fulcrum being George Washington's ability to develop "a new kind of leadership" that combined military and political elements. Recognizing the limited applicability of European precedents in the new republic, Washington simultaneously had to revitalize an army on the point of collapse and energize a Continental Congress ignorant of how to conduct a war. He performed both feats while maintaining both his authority as commander-in-chief and the principle of military subordination to political authority. And, all the while, he managed to keep the British believing that conciliation was preferable to battle. Fleming credits Washington's achievement to a force of character that increasingly impressed soldiers and politicians alike, but even more to Washington's ability to persuade waverers and opponents to his point of view by using a "series of positive proposals, well researched and closely argued." Fleming's use of short chapters (one- to three-pages each) and lively prose helps keep the complicated political maneuvers easy to follow. (Oct. 25)
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